Are you looking to move to a completely new country to start a new life or experience the way other cultures live? It may not be as simple as packing a bag and hopping onto a plane. 

There are multiple things to consider when moving abroad–from the legal aspects to moving your personal items. We are going to take a look at how to plan for a move of this nature and what steps you should take. Keep reading for more information! 

Find Visa Requirements

Depending on whether you are moving for work or opting for a change of lifestyle will determine your visa requirements. Certain countries are stricter than others when it comes to issuing visas and may take a number of months to obtain.

Do your research early to prevent any surprises or delays when it comes to your move. You may need proof of current citizenship, proof of income or a job, and countries may also require a certain dollar amount in your bank account. 

Locate Places to Live

Don’t sign off on a lease before you’ve physically seen the apartment or house you’d like to rent. Instead, contact a realtor in the area and opt to stay at a hotel or hostel for the first few days to a week while searching for a more permanent residence. Begin your search at home to get an idea of what’s available.

Sometimes rentals will have similar requirements as the ones for your visa–including proof of income, bank statements, a job, and identifying documents. A realtor will be able to help guide you through this process and may ease some of the confusion that can come with communicating to a landlord in a foreign language. 

Just like in the United States, rentals can vary in price and leasing terms. However, local laws will vary and can make it harder to break the lease should the rental not work out. This, combined with the fact you probably don’t want to move all of your belongings several times, means that you should carefully consider all details about the property. 

As Americans, we are used to spacious apartments, full-sized refrigerators, and air conditioning in most homes. This is not a guarantee when you move abroad and opting to move into a place without these amenities will require adjusting. Additionally, you may find that these ‘extras’ are available at an extra cost; again, this will entail research on your end. 

Hire Movers

Before you move, you will have to decide which of your items to bring with you. Some people only take basic necessities like clothes and plan to furnish their home while abroad.

Choosing to replace all of your furniture once you’ve made it to your final destination can get expensive quickly. It also means that you may make hurried decisions, leaving you with items you don’t actually want or have little to no furniture until you make your purchases.

Also remember, if you move often or if you have high dollar or high-sentiment items, replacing everything isn’t a great choice and paying for storage is a waste of money–especially if there are no plans for you to return. 

This means that you will need a team of movers to help you. Once you have a moving date in mind, you will need to hire a reliable moving company. 

When choosing a company that will be responsible for relocating your belongings, be sure to check reviews online and ask friends for referrals. Call the companies to find the best rates, keeping in mind that the cheapest isn’t always the best. 

Double check that your movers are insured because unfortunately, mistakes happen and valuables can get lost in transit or break. 

If you happen to live around the Philly area, the choice will be easy. Simply call your Philadelphia movers to ensure you have the help you need, when you need it, provided by honest people who care about you. 

The Hard Part: Packing

Once you’ve booked your moving date, you will have to start packing. This part is rough if there are multiple family members moving, lots of clutter, or you happen to have A LOT of ‘stuff.

If your moving date seems like it is far away, start decluttering your home. Get rid of old clothes that haven’t been worn or are worn out. Throw away items that have no sentimental value but you keep anyway. 

Look through your basement and attic for items that you will not need while abroad–and probably don’t need now.

As your moving day approaches, pack away the objects you don’t use daily or weekly and use soft ‘packing materials’ that you already have. These packing materials may include sets of bath or dish towels, some of the clothing you don’t wear daily, or blankets. This will help save you money and reduce the number of boxes. 

Don’t label your boxes as just ‘living room,’ ‘bedroom,’ or ‘bathroom.’ Get specific. 

As you are unpacking in your new home, the ability to access what you need quickly will make you thankful you did this. If you’re still unsure what we mean, consider this: 

  • Master Bedroom, dresser drawer contents–if you know that certain items belong in certain drawers, label which one (top, bottom, middle)
  • Living Room, family photos & knick knacks
  • Kitchen, cooking utensils & small pots; kitchen, cleaning supplies

Labeling will also help you declutter. When you begin to write what is going in the box, you may second guess your need for the item. If this happens, consider WHY you are packing it and then either pack it or trash it accordingly. 

Learning Your New Community

A move abroad is a huge step and change in lifestyle. Sometimes you have more of a choice in the matter than others, but regardless, you need to learn about your new city.

Aside from attempting to learn phrases in the local language, you should also learn about any expat communities within the city. These communities will be helpful while you adjust to your new home–they speak your language, may have children who are your kids’ age, and likely celebrate the same holidays. 

Getting Adjusted

Once you have made your way to your new city and found a permanent place of residence, you will have to wait on your movers to arrive. Take this time to explore the area around you, meet your neighbors, and learn about public transit in the area.

After your items arrive, plan to unpack them–make your new house a home. Once unpacked, take a step back to relax. You have moved abroad!