Moving Abroad: What Do I Do?
By Rebecca Junck

So you’ve made a pretty big life decision—you’ve decided to take a bold leap and move abroad. In the weeks and days leading up to your move, your head will undoubtedly be spinning so fast you won’t be able to think straight. Here is a simple checklist to help make the transition overseas a little bit easier and more organized:

First thing on the list: Make a list

Yes, this is list-ception, a list within a list. One of the best ways to remain organized in what is sure to become a hectic and exciting time is to simply make a physical checklist that you can look at and check items off of. Keep it on your person in the months and weeks before taking the plunge abroad, because you never know when an idea will strike. At night keep it on your bedside table, for those moments you are sure to suddenly wake up and think, “I need to pack underwear.” This list will be completely specific to you, because only you know exactly everything you will need to do in order to prepare.

Be legal

There is a lot of paperwork involved with moving and working abroad. You will need to ensure that you have gotten the proper Visa, permits, and a passport as well. Make sure that your ID is up to date as well. Keep in mind that these items take a while to get, so it would be wise to apply and obtain them as soon as possible, and once they are in your possession, keep all important documents in one secure place. There are government websites with pages dedicated to “Going Overseas” that have preparatory links and advice to make sure that you are within good standing with both your home country as well as the country you are moving to.

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Take care of things on the home front

Alert your mail carrier, electric company, utility company, landlord, bank, and of course friends and family as soon as you can. Shut off your cable and close any other accounts you might have. This, too, can take a bit of time, so it is wise to think ahead, and also be aware that there might be fees you have to pay for leaving your contract early. It would also be wise to enlist the help of a professional moving company to transport anything you wish to take with you.

Deal with your stuff

Pre-arrange for your things to be taken care of while you are abroad. Have a pet? Make sure to provide for them, as well as any furniture or even your house if you are a homeowner. If you do not have friends and family who are able to take care of your things, you can hire a professional moving company to transport everything to a storage unit while you are away, or even to move it to your new country of residence.

Money and Credit Cards

Make sure you have a credit card that will work in the country you are moving to. Speak with your bank or credit union about different options you will have while abroad, and be aware of various taxes and fees you might have to pay once there.

Take a trip to the doctor

Once again, the nature of your doctor’s visit will depend heavily on where you are moving. Some countries might require certain vaccinations. Also, figure out what your health care options will be once you move abroad. It is smart to be knowledgeable about where to go in case of emergency.

Saying goodbye

Have any going away parties at least a week in advance, because your last week at home will fly by quicker than you realize, and soon you’ll be en route to your new life. You will need that final week to really get everything in order, go through your checklists, and mentally prepare as well. Rest up so that you won’t be as effected by jet lag. Being properly rested can make your first few days in your new country be less frightening and stressful.

Making the move to another country can bring about a lot of different emotions ranging from excitement to fear, so being prepared will only help to make the transition smoother. The key to prepping for an overseas move is to be prepared as far in advance as you can, enlist the help of friends, family, professional moving companies, or anyone else who will make the transition easier, and be ready to face the world head-on.

Becca has spent many years traveling and living abroad. She’s now helping other people move locally and internationally with Top Move Inc in Vancouver, Canada. (Image source: SmartPhotoStock)
Related Articles:
Retiring Abroad – Considerations Before You Go
Why Do Patients Travel Abroad For Medical Care?
Is Being an Expat in Your Future?

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