I’ve been doing some journaling and deep thinking lately about what kind of adventures I want to have in my life. And something that keeps popping into my head is moving the family abroad for a year! But the thought of moving abroad feels totally scary and a little crazy too! What is there to expect and prepare for? Maybe you are in a similar position and are contemplating moving abroad one day, to a country you’ve already visited or to somewhere new. So here are a few tips I’ve found to help us all out!
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The key to success is to be prepared!
Here is a basic list of things that anyone considering moving abroad should think about before making a final decision.
- Unlock Your Cell Phone – If you are travelling long term or moving abroad, you can get cheaper local SIM cards and buy credit for your phone from your new home rather than paying the hefty fees for roaming abroad.
- Check Visa Requirements – If you’re moving abroad for work, either your company is likely sorting out your residency or you will more than likely need to purchase a working holiday visa. It still helps to know exact regulations so always be sure to check with the country’s requirements. You can also speak to the embassy. Before applying for a visa, you should check to see if your passport expires within your application date. If it does, you need to get it renewed. If you are already abroad, you can get it renewed at your country’s embassy.
- Inform Your Bank And Credit Companies – Be sure to tell all your credit card companies that you are moving abroad. It really helps to call the bank directly and speak with someone because there’s nothing worse than getting locked out of your account just after moving to a foreign country. You can also shop around for a new credit card that does not charge for foreign transactions.
- Leave a photocopy of your passport, credit cards and identification with someone at home – This is an extra safety precaution measure. If your wallet or passport is lost or stolen, having one piece of paper with all of that crucial information can be very helpful. Pack one with you and leave one with someone at home.
- Obtain a yellow fever card in case you want to travel somewhere that requires this vaccination – Getting inoculated before leaving most western countries is easier than sorting out vaccinations while living abroad. Depending on the country you’re moving to, it might be worth check with your doctor and load up on certain shots, even if the exact country you are living in does not require that vaccination. This would be a perfect time to obtain any travel insurances and life insurance.
Consider how much money it costs to move just across your home country. Now think of how much it will take to get you to the other side of the world. This doesn’t have to be overly complicated though. Generally the costs include but are not limited to: the visa application, plane tickets, international shipments, housing, and emergencies; insurances etc.
It is always recommended having up to six months worth of usual monthly income expenditure as savings, this is a good place to start. It’s also wise to research the exchange rate and the cost of living in your new home so you can come up with a monthly expenditure budget plan. Be prepared to pay anomaly costs your first few months.
When you are in those final weeks before the move, it can be a bit of a packing frenzy. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself worrying about how you’re going to bring everything with you. Maybe you should think about decluttering to literally lessen the load! Getting rid of personal belongings is tough though so make a decluttering action plan. Set up some large boxes and label them:
- Scan and Shred
- Store Away
- Throw Away
- Take With
Finalize Your New Living Arrangements
The biggest cost to living abroad is actually funding the property you are going to live in; whether you rent, fully purchase it, or find a way to finance a loan or mortgage. Whatever your ideal holiday home, a detached house for sale in a small culturally rich town, a rural cottage or apartment condominium, there are plenty of comparison websites that show you the market prices available so you can get an idea of what the best prices are. As with any housing purchase, make sure you budget for all the costs. Consider the climate you’re moving to and if you will need heat or air conditioning as well as electricity and internet costs.
In the early stages of your relocation, excitement and positive feelings around your new adventure are going to run high for a while. You will likely feel that things are “fun” and feel positive as you explore and investigate your new surroundings. But it’s a good idea to do some cultural research before you leave so you know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s important to understand some of the social norms before you arrive so that you don’t stand out too much or unintentionally offend someone straight away.
Research the history of your new home and how the government currently operates, read up on local news and rules of public etiquette. Try to learn a few words and phrases if you are moving to a country where you don’t know the native language. Researching and understanding the culture will help offset any culture offence.
To Sum Up:
Expect Culture Shock
Eat Local Dishes
Attend Local Events
Research and Keep A Look Out For Tourist Traps
Learn The Language
Embrace The Adventure!
Do you have any experience with living abroad? Share your best tips in the comments!