Planning a move abroad is often equal parts exciting and terrifying. After all, being able to call a new country home is an incredible adventure, but at the same time, it can be hard to leave everything you know behind, and it’s very stressful to go through.
While unexpected things may always happen, it’s still a good idea to spend some time planning your move so things can go as smoothly as possible. If you’re looking for tips on doing this, you’ve come to the right place.
Table of Contents
Make lists and Timelines
Organization is the key to planning a successful move abroad, so don’t just leave things to the last minute and hope you will remember to do them.
Instead, start making lists of everything you need to do and when they need to get done. This way, you can add things to the list as you go, and you will be sure that you remember all essential tasks and all deadlines. You should include bigger stuff like applying for your visa or work permit and smaller items like getting international medical insurance on your lists.
Figure out your living arrangements
One of the most important things you will need to do is figure out where you will be living. In the long term, you will need to look into a more permanent place to live, so you will need to look into places to rent or buy.
If you have any friends or family in the area, you can stay with them. Alternatively, consider booking a hotel for a while. However, you likely will have a place to live after you arrive in the new country, so you must look into short-term solutions.
Set up a budget
If you’re moving abroad, you will already know it’s costly. You will spend a lot of money on various aspects of moving abroad, but you should still focus on managing your finances.
The opposite is true – proper budgeting is more important than ever when you go through a significant change, as you need to ensure that you can cover all of your expenses and that your finances can survive the move.
Start by figuring out what your budgeting style is, and then set up a realistic budget for the costs of moving abroad.
Prepare yourself mentally
Getting so caught up in the logistics is easy that you don’t mentally prepare yourself for what’s to some. As mentioned, saying goodbye to your home and the people you love isn’t something you should take lightly. Even if you are excited about the move, it’s bound to affect your mental health.
You may also feel like you don’t fit in once you’ve moved, and you may experience feelings of homesickness. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take some time to focus on how you feel and doesn’t hesitate to seek help if you need it.
Start Packing In Advance
Whether you decide to take most of your belongings or only the essentials, you need to start packing well in advance of your trip.
If you leave everything to the last minute, you will feel relaxed, and the chances of remembering something are very high. When packing, you should also be realistic and only take things that you will use or that mean a lot to you. While it can be difficult to leave something behind, it’s not a good idea to try and move abroad with all your belongings.
Figure out your work situation
Most people have a job lined up before they move, but that’s only sometimes the case. If you are moving somewhere new without a job offer already in the works, you must take steps to figure out your work situation.
Try applying for jobs well in advance so you have a better chance of getting a career as a foreigner. It would help if you were doing everything possible to increase your odds of landing a job offer, so consider upgrading your CV.
Preparing Your Documents
Before considering the emotional repercussions, you have to be aware that there are many forms to fill out.
You will have to apply for visa status and make sure you have the finances to pay the fees. Migrating to another country can be a legal minefield if you need help knowing where to begin, but there are migration agent services that can give you the professional help you need.
It’s easy enough for everybody to think that “it’s just a few forms online,” but it can prove overwhelming. Professional help can mean the difference between a stressful preparation process and a positive one.
Helping Your Children
When you start to teach your child about the world, you are trying to pique their interest in what is out there. But there will be times when our children need home comforts. Uprooting your children and taking them to another country will be one of the most stressful things for them and you.
It’s a very long process because your children will regress or be very cold with you. It’s essential to help your children throughout this process. You have to focus on keeping routines as much as possible, but you also must think about what is going through their minds. In one respect, you can be taking them away from everything they know.
This is why you have to help demystify the process. Give them ownership of the planning and preparation aspects while showing them what their new life will be like in as much detail as possible. But highlighting why this is all the better for them can help to get them a bit more excited.
Preparing For Setbacks
Financially, logistically, and emotionally there can be many setbacks. It’s crucial that when we are getting ourselves ready for a big move, there will be times when we take two steps forward and one step back. When our children are stressed about the process, this can cause us a lot of anxiety.
It’s important to have a plan. The structure will keep you focused and give you positivity when these setbacks occur. There will be issues, but this is where you have to be able to cope with the stresses.
You are going through a lot, and you can feel the pressure on an individual level. And you may believe you need to take the stress so your children won’t feel it, but this isn’t healthy for you. Think about the best practices to calm you down.
Ultimately, going to another country is about a new start, and it can be an exciting journey, just as long as you have everything set.
Sign You Are Ready To Move Abroad
You’ve started learning the language
Learning the language is usually good if you want to communicate more efficiently. Essential phrases and numbers are a great start, but understanding the grammar and potentially even how to read the language can show that you’re serious about moving to a different country.
Language is a huge barrier to overcome if you ever want to move abroad, so if you’ve shown that you’re willing to pick up a new language and continue studying it, it proves that you’re very motivated.
You love hanging around with the locals
Have you ever spent a lot of time around locals when you travel? The people of a country can be surprisingly different from those you’ve spent time around in your life, especially if the culture and traditions are completely different.
Perhaps you find them a lot more friendly and open, or maybe you enjoy the locals at the places you’ve visited. If you feel like you get along with people, then it’s a reasonably good sign that you’d be comfortable moving abroad.
You go there every year
If you can’t get enough of another country and visit there at least once every year, it’s a good sign that you’re ready to move abroad to your favorite country. Perhaps you find yourself more relaxed there.
Maybe you much prefer the atmosphere there. Whatever the reason, you shouldn’t hold yourself back from where you want to be, especially if you’re willing to invest the time, effort, and money into moving over there permanently.
You’ve taken a look at property choices
One of the biggest things we’re concerned about when moving home is whether we can afford it. If you’ve performed even the smallest property search in the past, there’s a good chance you’re ready to take the plunge and make a move.
You feel like you have so much to explore
Do you ever want to avoid your own country? Have you ever felt like you’ve no longer got anything fun or exciting to explore? If that’s the case, it may be a good time to pack up your bags and explore something else. Some people possess an almost insatiable wanderlust that takes them to every corner of the world.
But if there are specific places that genuinely excite you to go out and travel, you may have found your perfect match. Don’t hesitate to research further and consider moving for good if you are strongly drawn to a specific country.
You’re not afraid of getting lost
Getting lost in a foreign country usually isn’t an enjoyable time. However, it’s one of the best ways to experience unique travel adventures. If you’re not afraid of getting lost, it usually means you’re comfortable enough to travel around the country, speak with locals, and have a good idea.
It also shows that you have some familiarity with the country itself and perhaps even the language.
Moving abroad is challenging, and no matter how well you prepare, there will always be some bumps in the road. There’s no denying that taking the time to plan various aspects of your move will make things a lot easier for you, especially as you get closer to the moving date.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.