So, you are moving abroad. It must be an exciting time for you!
But, if you are like most people, you are also stressed out, as preparing for life across the borders requires much more planning than moving houses inside your country.
Knowing how difficult it must be for you to keep all things in check, we have created a comprehensive list of everything you need to do to ensure a smooth and trouble-free move and set the basis for great expat life.
Let’s dive in.
The Most Important of All: Documents
You can forget your favorite piece of clothing, you can get a package lost on its way, but one thing you have to be sure of is that you have with you all the needed documents and permissions to start a new life at the country of your choosing.
Collect all the important documents like your medical records and proof of vaccinations, your birth certificate, your diplomas, and any other professional certificates you might have obtained in your life.
Also, check the expiry date of your passport. If it is about to expire any time soon, get a new one, to save yourself the trouble of flying home just to get one, once it expires.
Most importantly of all, obtain a long-term visa. Depending on your reason for the move, you will need to apply for a different type of visa – work, business, tourist visa and so on.
Make sure that each person that you move with has done the same document check as you did.
Change Your Mailing Address
Another thing you need to do is to ensure that all future information reach you.
The easiest way to do this is to re-route your mail to some family member who stays in your country or a trusted friend.
Although you might want to re-route it to yourself, to your new address abroad, many companies and government services require you to have an address inside the country of your citizenship (even if it is not the address you stay at) and will not send you mail abroad.
Find a Place to Stay
If you are not moving abroad because of work in a company that gives you a place to stay as you sign the contract with them, you will have to take care of your accommodation yourself.
There are basically two ways to go about this: you can either rent an apartment online, before you actually arrive in the new country, or you can book an Airbnb or a ho(s)tel, and explore the local real-estate market in person.
As a rule of thumb, it is better to see the place you rent before you sign the lease, as there are many cases where the pictures of the place you see online do not match the actual condition of the apartment.
Bear in mind that you will spend a lot of time in the new apartment, so it is better to spend a little more at the beginning, by staying in a hostel or an Airbnb for a couple of days, but be sure that the place you rent really suits your needs.
You probably do not want to pay for things you don’t use, so before jumping on the plane, cancel all memberships in your country, such as phone plans or cable tv.
Let your contacts know that they will no longer be able to reach you at the old phone number, and email them an update once you get a new number.
Take Care of the Bank Factor
Your international expenditures, especially if they are unusually big (and since you are just moving somewhere you will need more money than usual at least the first month or two), can cause banks to raise an alarm and block your cards.
So, pick up the phone and call your bank, to ensure that your credit and debit cards are fully functional when you move. The last thing you need is to be locked out of your account, when you need money the most.
Money, Money, Money, Must Be Funny
Oh, and while we are at the topic of money, you also need to take care of two things:
First, check whether your current cards have a foreign transaction fee. If they do, get one that has no fees of this type.
And second, carry some emergency cash with you. There are countries that have particular services that do not accept payments made with a card. Make sure that the cash you carry is in some broadly accepted currency such as dollars, euros or pounds.
Avoid Being Locked Out of Social Media
Logging in from another country or device can cause social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to lock you out as well.
To avoid this, set a two-factor authentication, so you can confirm your identity even when you are logging in from an unusual place.
Get Last-Minute Check-Ups
Once you quit your current job, you will no longer have a dental, vision and general health insurance. So, before you get taken off the list, make appointments to check everything.
Also, some countries ask for various vaccinations (Asian and African countries in particular), so check if you have received all necessary vaccines.
Don’t Forget About Your Taxes
It’s easy to forget about your taxes once you move to a different place, so set a reminder to stop you from forgetting to do the taxes the following year.
Time to Pack!
Time to pack your belongings! But where do you start?
Moving abroad does not allow you to take everything you own with you. The bigger the distance, the harder it is to take a lot with you. Check how many checked-in bags your airline allows. Go to the post office, and find out about the prices of mailing a package. Many times, mailing part of your belongings, instead of buying another suitcase with the airline will be cheaper or at least more convenient.
In any case, here are some of the things you have to pack:
- Clothes and Accessories. Check the weather forecast and general weather trends at the destination country, and pack according to what you find out. Essential clothes include: undergarments, socks, towels, a few pairs of shoes, a couple of shirts, sweaters, and pants, some of your favorite accessories, a light jacket, a coat, at least one formal outfit, and a bathing suit. That should be enough to get you started – and everything else, you can buy as you go.
- Toiletries. Generally speaking, you should not fill up your bags with toiletries, as you can buy them as soon as you arrive at your destination country. However, if you are used to using specific brands that you are certain you will not be able to find at the destination country, go ahead and pack them in your bags.
- Other. Pack your documents, your camera, an adapter, a portable charger, your favorite book (or your Kindle!), your laptop.
And voila! Just like that, you’re ready to move!
Author Bio: Jessica is the head of content for Hire A Mover – her fathers moving company. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling around the world to different surf spots and tasting the local cuisine. If you want to know more about her and her father’s company, click here.