Planning a new life abroad is exciting, and you can get swept up in dreaming about what a new home in a new country has to offer. However, the reality of getting there can be stressful; you are packing up your whole life, and shipping your belongings to your new home, which takes planning and preparation.
Thankfully plenty of people have embarked on this adventure, so there is no need to reinvent the planning wheel. Instead, you can follow these tips for planning a stress-free international move. If you are looking to relocate to overseas destinations, you can visit our international removals page for further information.
Now, read below for our top 13 tips to help you have a seamless moving experience.
1. Early Planning
If possible, you should start preparing for your move at least six months before you plan to go. You will need the time to make arrangements and organise yourself. Lists are your best friend! You can list everything you need to do and then work through things methodically, crossing them off once they are done.
Some people love paper lists, whereas others like to do everything online. There are some great apps available that are specifically designed for planning things like moving, and they will even offer you hints and tips to make sure you are staying on track.
2. Consider Storage Solutions
Although you are packing up to leave, your current residence is still home, and you do have to live there. A storage solution could be the best way to get yourself organised. As you pack things up, remember to label them well. You can pop them into a storage unit, leaving your home clutter-free for the final few months.
We always encourage our customers to talk to us in advance as we can help.
3. Research Your Destination
Some people move countries because they are returning home, but if you are changing to somewhere you have never lived before, it’s important to research your destination. This should include practical things like how the healthcare system works, visa requirements and immunisations needed and the cost of living.
It also helps to research the culture, customs they may have, climate and language. If the climate is very different from your current home, you may need to consider upgrading your wardrobe before you travel.
When it comes to researching the cost of living, some useful websites provide comparisons and help you understand how much basic things will cost. Numbeo.com is a great place to start; you simply choose your current currency and where you are going, and you can compare rent, shopping, travel, and other essential costs side-by-side.
4. Downsizing and Decluttering
Do you need to take everything you own when you relocate to another country? This is the perfect opportunity to sort out and go through all of your belongings to ensure you are only taking with you things you want or need.
As you have started your preparation early, you have plenty of time to sell, donate, or dispose of the things you no longer need.
5. Budget and Finance the Move
Another helpful list is your budget and finance. You must consider how much you can afford to spend on moving and what needs to be covered. Your travel, temporary accommodation once you arrive, visa costs, and shipping of your belongings all need to be considered.
If you have discovered that a storage unit will benefit you, you should also factor this monthly cost into your move and remember to cancel it and close it down when you leave the country. It’s a good idea to start moving money into separate funds to cover these expenses, so you can easily see if there is a shortfall to avoid problems at the last minute.
6. Find Your Documentation
Moving to another country requires several documents, including your passport. Many people forget to check their passport's expiry date, which can cause problems on the day. You also need to make sure you have your work permit and visas sorted, and being very bureaucratic, this can take a while, so make sure you apply well in advance.
Some countries will require health records, so be sure you have approached your GP and got these ready. It’s a good idea to have a travel documentation file where you can place all these documents, so they stay together and easily at hand.
7. Speak the Language
You’re unlikely to be fluent in the language when you move to a new country, but taking steps to learn conversational basics will help you navigate the landscape in the first few weeks. Many apps are available to help you learn languages on the go. Download them to your phone and grab bite-size learning chunks to help you understand what is being said when you move to a new country.
Try and focus your lessons on things that might come up, like purchasing groceries, having a coffee, and settling into a new home. Some people hire a private language tutor from their destination country to ensure they are in the best shape possible when they finally arrive in the new country. It’s not just about learning the words; each language has nuances and accents that can make what you know in the classroom hard to interpret if you don’t practice.
8. Clean Old and New
If there is any scope to visit your new house, this is an excellent time to ensure it’s clean and ready to move into. Moving into a dirty home is sometimes the only alternative, but it can take forever to catch up.
This is also the perfect time to clean your old house. Whether you are handing it back to the rental agent or selling it to a new owner, leaving your home clean and tidy is always nice.
9. Hire Your Removal Company
Finding an international removal company for something as big as changing a country is really important. Everything you own will be shipped abroad, so it’s essential that international removals are something they specialise in, just like us.
It’s always worth getting more than one quote, and when you compare the services, make sure you are looking at like for like. Customer reviews are also beneficial when deciding whom to use, and by using a third-party, independent site like Trustpilot, you can be sure that you’re getting an honest opinion.
10. Notify Relevant Parties
It’s time to make another list and notify all relevant parties that you are moving. As you leave the country, things like utility providers will need to be notified that you are closing your account unless you are renting out the house you’re leaving behind. You should notify your bank, insurance, companies and all our other relevant parties about your change of address.
Again, apps and websites are dedicated to tracking all these changes for you, or you can make a list. If you start about six months before you move and add to it every time new correspondence arrives, like bank statements and bills, you should find most things on the list by the time you get close enough to needing to implement your change of address.
You may also want a second list for new utility companies, insurance and other day-to-day expenses that you will need to find once you arrive at your new home.
11. Use a packing service from an International Removal Company
When moving your life so far away, you want to ensure everything you treasure is in perfect condition. A packing service like the one we provide ensures that everything is safe.
Our specialist removals team is highly skilled in packing to ensure there is no damage and everything arrives just as it was. Using a packing service also saves you time and effort when trying to do so many other things to get your international move locked into place, especially if you are still working full-time.
12. Plan for your pets
Another task that must be high on your priority list is making the correct arrangements for your pets if you take them with you. Each country has different requirements regarding vaccinations, paperwork, and possibly a quarantine period. Travelling in Europe has international passport requirements, and your vets should be reasonably familiar with what vaccinations are required for each country. But it’s up to you to check that each animal is adequately covered to fit the rules.
It’s essential that you understand the requirements of your destination country and remember that sometimes vaccinations take more than one vet visit over a period of weeks. You may also require rabies jabs just before you leave, so booking it to fit the timings is crucial. You also need to decide how your pets will travel to your new home.
If you are going by road and sea, it’s possible that you can take them with you, but if you’re flying, that is not the case. They generally must go in the cargo hold in airline crates that meet travel standards and need booking well in advance. This can be a bit stressful for pets, so you may want to look at other ways to transport your beloved family members.
13. Manage Your Expectations
Finally, it’s essential to manage your expectations. Although you may be headed on a fantastic adventure, the reality is that moving to a new country comes with challenges and can be stressful. Language barriers and cultural differences can make a living in a new country very isolating, and many people initially suffer from homesickness.
It’s important that you acknowledge that is may be stressful and that the way you will cope with it is to try and stay positive and be open to all the new experiences coming your way. Make sure you check in with friends and family regularly, as there is nothing more soothing than a familiar friendly voice when you are feeling fraught.
Of course, it is not all going to be negative, and within a few months, you will start to feel at home in a new country and all of your stress and worry we’ll have been worth it.
Regarding moving internationally, the best advice is to start planning early and make lots of lists of everything you need to do. Research is your best friend, and not only do you need to research the country and cultures, but also your removal company and everyone who will help you relocate.
It’s important to stay organised and work methodically through every step of leaving one country and starting a new life in another. Budget is another consideration; ensuring you have the cash available to pay for everything is vital, and if you are not well prepared, you can easily overlook an expense.
If you are looking for an international removal company to ensure that you get to your new destination stress-free and safely, then why not consider the expert international removal services we offer here at Pinnacle Removals?