7 Ways to Ensure You’re Ready to Move Abroad
Are you ready to relocate to a new country? No, are you really ready?
In the excitement and chaos of moving abroad it can be really easy to forget to do a few important things. Things that could help make the move a more pleasant and (relatively) stress-free experience for the whole family.
We know your to-do list is already never-ending, but hear us out. The following 7 tips will help ensure a smooth move and make settling into your new home a breeze. You don’t want to leave these off your list!
1. Make Connections and Arrange Meet-Ups
The internet has made the world a much smaller and more accessible place. It’s now entirely possible for you to make friends in your new country before you’ve even arrived!
Use social media, expat forums and sites like Meetup.com to build relationships with expats and arrange to meet up. They can give you a tour of the area, answer your questions and introduce you to more like-minded individuals.
Having a support network of friends will help you settle quickly and will greatly reduce the impact of culture shock.
2. Pay a Visit to Your GP and Dentist
Healthcare in the UK is free – it may not be in your new country – so take advantage of it while you can.
Book an appointment for a full health check for everyone relocating abroad (including pets). You can also book in for any necessary immunisations at the same time. A health check may even be required by your insurers or new employees so don’t leave it until the last minute!
If you take medication, your GP may be able to provide an extra supply to cover you whilst you settle in and find a new doctor. It’s also a sensible idea to learn the generic name or international name for any meds you take.
3. Cancel Regular Payments/Direct Debits
We’re sure you’ll remember to cancel utility bill payments before you move but what about those small, inconsequential payments you barely even think about?
Things like Sky TV, gym memberships, magazine subscriptions and Amazon Prime will need to be cancelled or updated to reflect your new address.
Go through the past two months of bank statements to check for any regular payments you may have otherwise forgotten about. Make a note of them and cancel any you won’t need or use after you move.
4. Subscribe to Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Alerts
It’s important to be prepared for any eventuality in your new country. A national crisis might include natural disaster, war or terrorism.
The British government does all it can to help British nationals living abroad so familiarise yourself with their advice. They provide up-to-date foreign travel advice and real-time updates are available by email and on social media. Subscribe for updates and follow FCOTravel on Facebook and Twitter.
5. Organise Insurance
Many expats arrange insurance when they’ve arrived in their new country, but paperwork takes time. Ensure you’re covered from the moment you hit the ground and organise extensive travel insurance before you leave.
You’ll need insurance that covers belongings, health and your car at a minimum. The extent of insurance you need will depend on the location, your job and other variables.
Your current insurance policies are unlikely to cover you abroad, so cancel these and look for specialist expat cover instead.
6. Embrace Minimalism
It’s probably quite tempting to pack all your belongings. You’re not just going on holiday, you’re moving abroad and it’s nice to have the comforts of home. But here are a few things to consider…
- The cost of moving everything (including that sideboard you’ve always hated, hundreds of books and all the kids’ toys, even the ones they never play with)
- The climate of your new country. If it’s warm 360 days of the year, it’s unlikely you’ll need 5 cable-knit jumpers and 2 pairs of winter boots.
- The dress code of your new workplace
- The cost of buying clothes, furniture and other household items in your new country.
It may work out to be a lot cheaper to simply buy what you need in your new country. It could also save a lot of stress with packing and shipping.
If you really can’t bear to permanently part with certain belongings, put them in storage. Otherwise, sell everything and enjoy the extra spending money.
7. Know What You Can Live Without
There’s a very real chance you won’t be able to find your favourite brand of toothpaste or the only snack the kids will eat in the local supermarket.
In some regions, you may even struggle to find clothes in your size or certain baby products (like formula and good quality nappies).
You can do some research before you leave but chances are you’ll find out the hard way what you can and can’t find when you arrive.
That’s why it’s important to know what you can live without (you can learn to love American ‘chocolate’, right?) and the things you absolutely must have. Pack extra of those must-haves and arrange for a family member to send regular supplies if necessary.
Moving abroad is a challenge but we hope this list will help relieve some of the stress and make relocating an enjoyable experience for the whole family.