If you’re planning a move overseas soon, then you’ve probably made the major decisions already after lots of research on your new country, including a visit there. But there are smaller details that you might have overlooked.
Below is a list of not just “to-dos,” but “must-dos” to ensure that settling in to your new home will be as stress-free as possible:
1. Organize Your Mail
The mail isn’t going to stop coming just because you’ve left the country. Of course, many companies now give you the option of receiving emails as opposed to physical mail, which means you won’t miss a thing.
But certain companies don’t offer that option and some items—like a new credit card—have to be sent through the mail. To help with this issue you can use a mail scanning service that will scan the envelope and let you decide whether you want them to open it or not. They will then email you the scan and shred the original, or even forward it if you need a paper copy. If you’re sent a check, they’ll even forward it to your bank for deposit.
2. Find an Easy Way to Call Home
It is important to be able to call your loved ones back home regularly. Skype is a great way to do this–it’s free to use and all you need to do is sign up for an account.
MagicJack is another useful service that assigns you a local U.S. number. This means that when calling home and vice versa, the call is logged as a local call. You can even choose to use your existing U.S. number, so people won’t even know you have moved if you don’t want them to.
3. Get an Unlocked Phone
In most countries, when you arrive at the airport, you can buy a cheap local SIM card for data and phone calls, but you will need to have an unlocked phone to use it—meaning that it can work with any SIM card.
Without a local SIM, your phone bills will shoot through the roof, as you will be charged international roaming fees. And if you are like me and get lost going around the block, you’ll need internet and GPS everywhere you go.
4. Find the Right ATMs and Credit Cards
Banks have a way of sneaking in transaction fees if you’re not careful. It’s always a good idea to do some research and find ATMs and credit cards that won’t add on a fee every time you take out your money or charge something. Barclay, Chase, and Capital One all have cards without foreign fees and also have plans that offer points or miles.
5. “Meet” People Before You Get There
Don’t wait until you move to start meeting expats. Search Facebook for expat groups in your new hometown and join them all. You’ll be able to chat with those who already live there and get any useful tips before you move. Questions like “Should we bring our pots and pans or can we buy good ones when we get there?” can only be answered by people who have made the move before you. They will be an invaluable resource before and after you move.
Internations is another great online resource for meeting expats around the world. Sign up for your town, and you’ll see what kind of activities are going on there.