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The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Move Abroad

Moving is one of the most stressful things a person can go through. Make that an international move and you’ve got what feels like a mountain ahead of you!

While the process can be daunting, careful and proper planning can and will get you to the other side unscathed and all in one piece.

Here is a guide to all the things you need to think about, plan, and implement leading up to the big day.

Research and Preparation

Doing careful research before you dive headfirst into the process is essential, and there’s a lot you’ll need to look into. A good place to start is researching a little bit about your destination country and getting to know what it’s like to live there, the cost of living, etc.

Learn about visa requirements, and all the details that will need to be put into place before you can actually move. You’ll also need to consider elements like global life insurance and health insurance if your existing policy won’t cover you internationally.

Financial Planning

One of the greatest challenges of moving abroad is the financial aspect, and there’s a lot to consider here. First of all, there’s the cost of the moving process itself. This will entail all your travel documents, flights and accommodation, professional movers, etc.

Next, you’ll also need to plan your finances for once you’ve actually arrived and settled down in your new country. What will your earnings be and what will your budget look like? Remember that the cost of living will differ from country to country!

Housing and Accommodation

Of course, you’ll need somewhere to live. However, there’s a strong chance that even if you find a space to rent, you won’t have access to it immediately upon arrival. This means you might need to organise temporary accommodation.

Depending on how long you’ll need a place to stay, you could look into booking a hotel room or an Airbnb, crash at a friend’s home (if you already know someone nearby), or even look into a short-term rental if you’re unsure of how long you’ll be without a permanent residence.

Moving Logistics

You’ll also want to make sure that you carefully plan out the logistics of the move well in advance. Think about whether you’ll be shipping all your belongings or selling everything before you move to start afresh in your new home.

Consider moving dates, when you’ll start work, how you’ll handle the packing and unpacking processes, etc. so that you won’t be overwhelmed with panic when the time for these things arrived and you’re left feeling clueless.

Cultural and Language Adjustment

Of course, there’s plenty to think about in terms of documents and legal issues, travel and accommodation… But what about the mental preparation you need to do? Moving to a new country can be a lot to deal with emotionally, and coping with culture shock is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face once you’ve arrived.

Make sure that you’re prepared for this, and do your best to avoid the shock by familiarizing yourself with the culture and social norms. You can also start learning the official language of your new country to help make sure you don’t feel completely lost and alone upon your arrival.

Practical Considerations

When you’ve finished planning the move, travel, and all of those related issues, you can spend some time thinking about the practicalities of your new life.

This will include things like your work and education, if that’s applicable to you. If you’re moving for your career, this will make things easier for you. However, if you’re moving without the safety net of a job, or perhaps moving with a spouse who was offered a job overseas, then you’ll need to figure out how you’ll be making your way. You may need to update your CV and ensure that you’re meeting the standards of your new country. Research what your industry is like there and consider taking some courses to freshen up your skills.

Health and Safety

Next, make sure you understand what the healthcare system in your new country looks like, and how you’ll fit into the system as a foreigner. Consider private health insurance options for the long-term and research what access you’ll have to any chronic medication or ongoing treatments you might need.

Check up on any required vaccinations as well, and find out if there are any particular health concerns in the area.

Building a Social Network

One final thing you’ll need to think about is how you’ll make new friends in a foreign country. This is another emotional aspect that many people fail to plan for.

However, feeling isolated after a big move like this can compound any stress you’re already feeling. Make the effort beforehand to join online social communities (particularly for expats if you can find any) and see if you can start making some friends online before you even arrive.

Jeff Campbell