Hey! I’ve recently collaborated with Wendy, the author of this guest post. She asked me to write up something for her post on advice for our younger selves before that first big trip abroad. In exchange, she’s shared this helpful information about moving abroad. Thinking of becoming an expat? There might be something for you to learn!
Disclaimer: There is a link in this post for Unibaggage.com. I do not earn a commission from this link nor am I an affiliate of the company. They’re just the service that Wendy recommends if you’re shipping stuff overseas.
The Ultimate Moving Abroad Checklist
Do you have plans to move abroad in the future? Good luck! It’s an experience that you’ll never forget and likely one you’ll cherish throughout your entire life—provided you make the proper preparations.
When preparing for a move abroad, you’ll experience stress and strife. It can be time-consuming and confusing, but if you’re using Unibaggage.com for shipping purposes, at least you’ll feel comfortable with your choice of shippers.
Especially if you’re looking at a move abroad which crosses oceans—why risk your belongings on an airline that might lose them? You want security. But you obviously have other major responsibilities during your move. Following are some considerations worth pondering before and after you move.
Moving Abroad: Oh, The Paperwork
First things first: you can’t leave the country until you have a valid passport. So check to see that you’re eligible for the move before you make any permanent plans. Once that’s taken care of, it’s time to get into the “nitty-gritty.”
You’ll need to find a place to live, book a flight, and secure your ride to and from the airport—you likely won’t have a car of your own upon immediate arrival to whichever country you choose, and you’ll likely want to sell your previous vehicle. Or give it to someone that you can either trust, or that needs it.
If you’re making a permanent move, sell the property you’ve acquired in your home country. If not, sublet it out so that you can come back at some point. This will depend on whether or not you can obtain a visa which may lead to permanent citizenship in a new country. It’s better to lease than sell if you haven’t secured proper citizenship yet.
Next you want to ensure that both digital and physical copies of important personal documents exist and are accessible. Inform both personal and professional contacts of your change of address.
Financially, it makes sense to set up a PayPal account or something of the kind.This way you can keep your home bank until you need to transfer to another country. There are many reasons it makes sense not to cut all ties entirely. You don’t want to find yourself up the creek without a paddle.
Cultural Shift Preparedness
Be prepared for a foreign country. Have some kind of healthcare solution in place, understand the local currency, and have enough of that currency to survive without a paycheck for a few months.
Next you’ll want to work on your language skills—if possible, try to lose your accent so that locals don’t realize you’re a foreigner. With total immersion learning, that can happen in as little as a month to a year, depending on your existing skill with languages beforehand. From there, you need to ensure you’ve got a handle on local customs, cultural differences, and proper etiquette.
Personal Considerations For Your Move Abroad
You should probably notify family, friends, and employers of your move. Or don’t—it depends on why you’re moving; maybe the plan is to disappear. That’s up to you. Still, it’s generally a good idea to say your goodbyes. Also, you want some kind of repatriation plan in place in case, again, things abroad don’t go as you intended.
When packing, consider the essentials. Ensure you can acquire necessary medication at your new location, and that you’ve got enough for the journey. Ensure you understand travel restrictions in the new country before making concrete plans as well.
As for kids and pets, make sure all their documentation is in order as well. The kids need to have a new school, preferably one that can help them acclimate to a new language. Help your kids beforehand by getting games, books, etc. in the language—or teaching the language—of their new country.
Ensure any pets you’re bringing are legal in the country where you’re moving. Additionally, make sure those pets are properly vaccinated and research transportation methods for them, as well.
New Faces, New Friends
Once you’ve made the move, now it’s time to get involved with the local community. Find cocktail lounges and restaurants that are affordable and near your new home. Get involved with little community events. Music nights, trivia games, comedy—or commedia dell’arte, if you’re in Italy; these things all bring communities together, and give you the chance to meet new people and bond. Another great place to meet new friends (and fellow expats who can help you through your transition time) is a language immersion class.
Your new job will likely provide such opportunities as well. Having friends and acquaintances is a kind of wealth in many ways more dependable than cold hard cash; so don’t neglect this aspect of your move.
Despite the stress of moving to a new country and all the changes that come with it, if you are strategic in your move—and ensure you’ve covered all your bases—the journey will be more streamlined and successful.
Wendy is a super-connector with Outreachmama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.