The Ultimate Checklist for Moving Abroad

When you decide to relocate to a foreign country, it’s a decision that you cannot take lightly and it will have a profound impact on your life. This decision is often exciting, and scary, and it leads to careful planning. While moving abroad will certainly lead to exciting new opportunities and enriching experiences, it is important to grasp and better understand certain cultural and logistical aspects before making your final move.

I created this checklist to provide a structured guide for people and families that are getting ready to move internationally. This information will ensure that every important aspect – from lifestyle adjustments to legalities – is covered with forethought, precision, and experienced insight.

As your transformative journey begins to take shape, please allow my information-packed resource to be your guide and roadmap. If you use this information wisely, you’ll have no trouble making a seamless transition from living in the US to your preferred location abroad.

Research Locations and Make This Important Decision

  • Discover your why if you haven’t already. Are you moving abroad to relocate for your job? Is it something that you’d love to do? Are you looking for an adventure? Knowing the reason why you plan to move abroad is critical to help guide you toward the perfect decision.
  • Take time to research potential countries that you’re interested in living in. Consider financial opportunities, culture, and climate. Reminder: you are moving to a new country and not just traveling there temporarily, so keep this in mind.
  • Figure out the right vibe you’re looking for. Do you want to move to the tranquil countryside? Or are you looking to mix it up on the bustling city streets? Search your heart to find the answer.

moving abroad

Get Your Papers in Order

  • Is your visa valid? Is it going to be valid long enough for your entire stay?
  • Read about the visa requirements of the destination you’ve chosen. Certain countries will welcome you with open arms. Others require you to jump through hoops.
  • Have your academic records, birth certificate, and other vital documents with you at all times. Have them assembled and in a safe place prior to moving overseas.

Create a Financial Plan

  • Open a bank account in your new location.
  • Become familiar with the local currency. Look at its colors, the images on the currency, the different denominations. And most important of all, please get to know its value.
  • Keep tax implications in mind. This may not be fun but it’s important and you do not want to upset the tax collectors.

banking abroad

Healthcare

  • Discover the scoop about the healthcare system of your new home and destination. Do they have private healthcare? Is it public? Is it a mixture of the two? Is there a hospital near your new home?
  • Get health insurance before making your move.
  • Find out if you are up to date on your vaccinations.

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Secure Housing Ahead of Time

  • Should you rent a new home while moving abroad? Or would it make more sense to buy one? If you’re uncertain, it’s best to rent first and get to know the new area much better.
  • Spend time researching locations that you might find ideal. Are you looking for a quiet retreat or an action-packed neighborhood?
  • Take your most important things with you and put the rest in storage.

offshore housing

Inquire about Employment

  • You may be moving here for work, which means your employment is early taken care of. If you’re hunting for a new job, get familiar with potential opportunities and the local market.
  • Depending on the destination, there may be language barrier issues within your workplace. Think about getting a translation app or investing in an online learning course to learn a new language.
  • Meet up with fellow expats and locals in your field. They’ll help you with job leads, insight, and friendly advice.

Education (if it’s a requirement)

  • Are you bringing young children along? Spend time researching schools. Get to know local institutions, and international schools, or consider homeschooling if applicable.
  • Kids do their best when they have a regular routine to fall back on. Consider getting them involved in the arts, sports, or activities. They can make friends and settle into their new life better this way.
  • Provide your kids with movies, books, and other information to introduce them to the local culture.

Shipping & Relocation

  • Are you planning to ship your belongings to your new location? Or will you buy new things and get a fresh start? Some prefer traveling light and starting over when moving abroad.
  • Are you bringing a furry friend or other pet along with you? Learn about quarantine and vaccination requirements.
  • Get together with family and friends to say goodbye and make plans to talk online or share postcards with one another.

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Learn about Your New Culture

  • Discover the cultural quirks and things to do and things to avoid in your new culture.
  • Learn the basics of the local language including please, thank you, hello, goodbye, etc.
  • Discover local cuisines and celebrations and become a part of the local culture.

Communication & Connectivity

  • Discover the best mobile service and Internet providers in your new country. It’s important to stay connected for pleasure, and work, and to make your weekly phone or video call back home.
  • Learn about local transportation, food delivery, and event apps.
  • Gain knowledge about the local postal system. You’ll need to receive packages and send letters, so it’s important to learn the ins and outs of the system.

using your phone abroad

Travel & Transportation

  • Become familiar with the public transportation system in your new community. Find out about trains, buses, and other unique modes of transportation.
  • Will you drive in your new country abroad? Find out about local driving requirements. Must you obtain an international driver’s license? Are you moving to an area where they drive on the other side of the road?
  • Plan to take local trips. You’ll learn about your new home much better as you explore its nooks and crannies. Check out the serene nature and bustling markets as soon as possible.

Security & Safety

  • Learn the location of your home country’s consulate or embassy and get to know local emergency numbers.
  • Discover the local laws and customs. You don’t want to accidentally make a mistake after moving abroad.
  • Is your new neighborhood safe? Talk to locals and fellow expats to gain insight and information about this topic.

Keep Your Emotional Expectations in Check

  • You’re likely experiencing a whirlwind of emotions now that you’re moving abroad. Learn how to cope with culture shock and remember that it’s okay to be overwhelmed at first.
  • Get involved with local expat groups and local communities. You’ll likely make some unexpected and exciting friendships along the way.
  • Remain connected with your loved ones. They’ll act as your anchor, your touchstone, and a reminder of how far you’ve come.

Lifestyle and Leisure

  • Find out more about local hobbies and pastimes. Take a dance class, or a pottery workshop, or get involved with a local book club. No matter what it is, find an activity that resonates with you and go for it.
  • Immerse yourself in the local food scene. Visit fine dining establishments, street food stalls, and everything in between. This will tantalize your taste buds.
  • Visit yoga studios, parks, and local gyms. Stick to a fitness routine to maintain a sense of normalcy in your new surroundings.

fine cuisine

Reflect on Your Journey

  • Document your feelings and experiences while keeping a journal. It’s a great way to keep track of your precious memories.
  • Share your experience with the world through social media, vlogs, and blogs. It’s inspiring for other people and it will help you connect more with others.
  • Minimize the feelings of being overwhelmed through quiet reflection, meditation, and mindfulness. It will help keep you grounded during turbulent times.

Legal Considerations

  • Become familiar with your new country’s legal landscape. Learn employment laws and other regulations that impact your life.
  • Think about renting or buying property by learning and understanding local tenancy and property laws.
  • Are you bringing a vehicle? Or thinking about buying one? Find out about car registration and other important matters to drive legally and safely in your new community.

Sustainability and Environment

  • Get to know local recycling protocols and waste management procedures.
  • Research your new country’s sustainable practices and support eco-friendly businesses, use public transportation, and shop locally.
  • Become familiar with the region’s environmental concerns and issues and contribute to your new community in a positive way.

Resources to Assist With Your Move:

Summary

To wrap things up, it’s important to know that international relocation is about more than simply changing your address. This transition happens on a number of levels and it will have an impact on your professional and personal life.

The checklist that I shared today was meticulously curated to act as the ultimate checklist for effortless relocation abroad. It covers every aspect imaginable to help make this a smooth transition for you and your family. Please travel safely and enjoy the incredible journey ahead of you with your new life living abroad.

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About 

Peter is a digital nomad who largely writes from Asia, Europe, and South America. Always following the "vibe," he sets up shop in hostels and AirBNB's and continues to entertain us with wild stories from life abroad.

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