Moving overseas is an exciting adventure like no other. It can lead to a better, more affordable life in a beautiful and exciting country.
But planning for that move isn’t always as thrilling. Getting your new life in order before you go can be a daunting experience, and what seems like a straightforward process might actually throw unforeseen obstacles in your path.
The trick is to figure out the important stuff—the things that you have to do before you go. After that, everything else is secondary.
To help you figure out what you should prioritize before you go, here are five essential tasks for your move-overseas checklist:
Moving anywhere, whether it’s 1,000 miles away or just to the house next door, always leads to the arduous task of notifying the bank, insurance company, power company, etc. that you have changed your address. Missing just one letter from these people could put you in debt without you even knowing.
When you move abroad, this task gets even trickier, as mail networks in foreign countries can work in different ways, and not being able to maneuver them properly could lead to your mail getting lost forever.
So what can you do? Well, through the wonder of the internet, a lot of what you are used to getting through the mail can now be sent by email. This means that those important bank statements and bills will just pop up in your inbox, and you’ll never miss a thing.
For items that can’t be sent electronically, such as credit cards, there is also an alternative. You can use a mail scanning service that can scan your mail, ask you if you want it, and then forward it on to your new address.
Changing banks can be a pain, especially if you’ve been with them for a long time. But when you are planning to move overseas, it’s important that you find a bank that suits your needs in your new life.
Many banks will add on extra charges for transactions made overseas, whether made through an ATM or credit card. This means you are wasting money for just your day-to-day expenses.
To combat this you can look into setting up an account with a bank in your new home country, however this may not be an option depending on the restrictions of your visa. Another option is to shop around for a bank that offers benefits for banking outside of the country. Barclay, Chase, and Capital One all have cards without foreign fees and also have plans that offer points or miles.
For many wannabe expats, a major apprehension they have about moving overseas is not knowing anyone when they get there. Even when they are moving to an area with an active and open expat community, making first contact can be a daunting experience.
To make the transition easier you should try and get in touch with as many people as you can before you move. With websites like Internations, and expat groups all over Facebook, it has never been easier to get in touch with the people already living in your new home. They can give you advice about where to look for real estate, where the best restaurants and bars are, and most importantly, will act as a group of friendly faces when you first set foot in a strange, new world.
Your pet is part of the family, but getting your pooch overseas isn’t quite as easy as just buying them a plane ticket. Every country has specific regulations when it comes to bringing in animals. A lot of the time they will have to go through some medical checks, get microchipped, and you will need to get a special pet passport for them. It is best to ask the embassy or consulate of the country you are moving to for information on procedure.
The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association provides a directory of pet shippers who will take care of the transport. They also provide guidance on the dos and don’ts of bringing your pet overseas.
Certain airlines, like United, will also allow you bring small pets on the plane with you as under-the-seat baggage, or put them in the cargo hold. Make sure to check with your airline before flying to see if this is possible.
Whether you’re the kind of person who starts packing way in advance, or the kind of person who throws it all in the bag last minute, you need to make sure that once everything is zipped up and ready to go you haven’t left anything behind.
Probably the most important things to take with you are your passport, ticket, and visa documentation. It’s advisable to also bring copies of these too, whether they be physical or files on a laptop or memory stick.
If you are on any prescribed medication, then it’s important that you bring enough in your carry-on baggage to make it through the trip.
Of course, don’t feel like you have to pack everything either. Much of what you’ll need in your new life can be picked up when you get there.
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