Moving abroad can be a very stressful affair. More than just an extended holiday, there are a ton of things to keep track of and sometimes, important tasks slip through the cracks. Even in some of the best places to live abroad, starting a new life can be overwhelming.
Don’t let the move keep you up at night – stay organized and keep a checklist at bay to make things easier by systematically planning out your move. Here’s a helpful guide that might make becoming an expatriate a little easier.
1. Do your research
Moving someplace completely new can be intimidating, but less so if you’re well prepared. With the internet at your disposal, gathering information about your new country can be easy. Find out everything about the cost of living, the culture, visas, driver’s licenses, and any other relevant documents you’ll need. Organize this information carefully on your phone, for easy access.
Some of the best places to live abroad might have a completely different climate and language from what you’re used to. Luckily, there are plenty of resources online to help you find the information you need. Family and friends may know people who can help provide insider information, like the best areas to live and schools to attend, or even local customs.
A quick Internet search can lead to an overview of certain things, like the weather and language spoken in your new country. For more detailed accounts, try finding relevant expat groups. These can be on Facebook or forums and can help you get a better sense of what everyday life will be like. Youtube can also be an excellent resource for insider tips, as well as another way to find a community of expat individuals. Larger cities even have expat magazines and books, like Time Out, full of useful information for first-timers.
2. Establish a timeline
To help you visualize what needs to be done in the months leading up to your move, consider creating a timeline. Share this with the rest of your family or your partner, if you’re making the move with them, to keep everyone in the loop and accountable for what needs to be done.
If you’re moving for work and the company relocating you is handling logistics like accommodation, keep in touch with them to stay updated on all move-in dates and housing contacts. Otherwise, coordinate well with your movers to ensure that your belongings arrive in your new country whenever you need them to. This will help you save on the costs and efforts of locating a temporary storage site.
If you’re moving with kids, take into consideration the school year in your timeline, as well as the difference in education systems when you move to better adjust for any culture shocks your child might face. Remember to inform your child’s old school a few months before you move to allow sufficient time for the school to send report cards and any previous test scores to the new school. If you can, go on an organizational visit and have your child spend a day at the new school so they can get familiarized.
Another thing on your timeline should be learning the language of the country you move to. Communication is key so definitely make these plans early on – speaking like a local can help you get around better and make you feel more at home! Try to find a class or a tutor before you move and learn a few words to get you started. Youtube is another helpful resource to pick up a new language.
3. Assess your belongings
Chances are, you have a lot of clutter in your home. Take advantage of packing for the move to clear out what you haven’t used in years. Donate old clothes, toys and furniture, or make a few bucks selling off things that are too bulky to bring with you. Remember to check with the company relocating you if the accommodation provided will be fully furnished.
The length of your stay in your new country also determines what belongings you should bring with you. Also, bear in mind the international voltage differences when deciding what appliances to bring and leave behind. If you are not moving with your car, arrange for it to be left safely in storage or lend it to family or friends in return for safekeeping. This will also make sure your car is regularly maintained.
If you’re moving out of your current home for good, cancel your lease, service providers and other memberships and subscriptions that automatically deduct from your account and make sure to reroute your mail to your new foreign address or to a family or friend that you trust. If not, store your things well, making sure all appliances and taps are turned off. You should also have friends or family regularly check on the house to ensure nothing is wrong.
4. Sort your finances out
Money is typically a stressful topic, one no doubt amplified while moving. Handle your finance-related errands early to avoid last minute complications that could setback your timeline. Inform your bank of the move and research on how to create an account in your new country. It’s usually complicated and involves a lot of paperwork so make sure you’re well-prepared.
Figure out what taxes and other bills you’ll have to pay in your new country and how to go about doing so. Talk to fellow expats, trawl through forums or consult a trusted professional if you need to.
5. Take your medical records with you
Amidst the stress and chaos of moving, it is easy to neglect your health. Don’t leave important decisions, like vaccinations and insurance, to the last minute, particularly if you’re moving with family.
Moving can be very stressful, which can make you more susceptible to illness. Make sure that you have all of your medical records with you, especially in a foreign land with a new doctor. Apps like Halza can be extremely useful in simplifying these visits. Just upload your medical images, lab reports, scans and other records to the app. Share what you need with your new doctor in order to have a better and more thorough consultation. The app stores your information safely on the Microsoft Cloud and is accessible 24/7 in multiple languages, letting you manage your health with ease, no matter where you are.
Find it in the App Store and on Google Play now!
Moving abroad is an exciting, eye-opening opportunity! By being prepared to take on whatever comes your way with a thorough checklist, you can make the most of this new life direction.