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How to Move Overseas – The Ultimate Expat Guide Every American Needs

Julie Grace September 7, 2021
Posted September 7, 2021 In How-to,
Julie Grace

Originally from The Golden City, Julie has explored the ins and outs of moving and has written all the tips down.

When you decide it’s the right moment to move, there are many questions you need to answer. Knowing how to move overseas is a challenging task, and it requires a good organization. The important thing to know is that you’re not alone in this whole process because more than 9 million Americans live abroad. We all want some change in our lives, and living internationally may be the best choice to change the routine.

Moving across the world will bring you many life changes. Of course, if you want to avoid all the relocation stress the most reliable way is to thoroughly plan the whole process. Keep in mind that relocating abroad has many steps, and entails a lot more than just the relocation day preparation. From deciding which country will suit your needs the most to figuring out your finances, you can get lost in the way. That’s why we prepared a guide that will make your experience as an expat memorable, and the whole relocation process a breeze.

Give Yourself Time to Plan How to Relocate Overseas

Planning is probably one of the most important steps in an international relocation. Like every change in life, big or small, it is terrifying. However, if you decide to move, that means there are reasons why that’s a good idea. Some people are relocating to another country for love and others for better job opportunities. In any case, when the concept of relocation comes to your mind, start with planning and preparation of the whole process.

Whether you’re relocating to Portugal because you want to spend retirement years in one of the greatest countries to retire in Europe, or you have wished for years to relocate to Turkey – the research is a must. Taking this kind of leap takes time to prepare every little step properly.

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With a Checklist, Your Life Will Be Much Easier

There’s no better way to get started with the organization than making an abroad checklist. Not only will it come in handy to keep you updated, but it will give you a timeframe. That way, you’ll know exactly when each task has to be completed. In fact, you won’t be able to postpone some tasks, as we all tend to do. So, here are some things every checklist should have:

  • Double-check all documents needed,
  • Find the perfect place where you’ll live,
  • Ensure your finances are enough,
  • Hire an overseas shipping company,
  • Declutter,
  • Learn a language as part of your adjusting process,
  • Plan a goodbye party.

How to Move Overseas – Check All the Documents Needed for This Journey

We all wonder sometimes can you just move to another country? Travel yes, but if you want to stay long-term in any country all over the world, checking which documentation is needed can’t be omitted. So, let’s start with passports. For most countries, the passport has to be valid for at least six months. Then comes the visa. Every country has different rules and regulations for visa applicants. The best approach would be to visit the official website of the country you want to move to.

Make Copies of the Important Documents and Go Digital for the Rest of Them

All the documents you have to deal with can be overwhelming for most people. No wonder many are wondering what is the easiest country to move to? The answer to this question is a place that doesn’t require many documents, right?

Once you gather all the necessary documents and double-check them, go digital. There’s paperwork that indeed can be digitized and safely stored on your online cloud. For example, if relocating with dogs, ensure you have all vaccine and vet certifications done and put to the cloud.

Once you have all of them, why not simply digitize them and relieve yourself from the stress of losing or forgetting them. However, just in case, you should make copies of the most important ones (passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, and immunization records). If you’ve never done it before, here’s a video of how to digitize documents at home.

Determine Where You Want to Move and Pick the Perfect Spot Abroad

Choosing one of the best countries to live abroad in is a process that requires serious research and rational thinking. That decision will affect your life’s course and the quality of living there. The pandemic affected many people, and many started considering moving abroad to a new place. Since there’s a possibility to work remotely, a job doesn’t represent an obstacle for most of us.

There’s no one right answer to the question of where to move. It all depends on individual preferences and what someone wants to gain from the relocation. Whether you’re looking for one of the friendliest countries in the world, or a job opportunity (if you don’t have a remote possibility), then there are some things you need to consider. Here are criteria you have to count on when deciding where your new home will be:

  • Healthcare system and insurance,
  • Cost of living,
  • Education,
  • Employment,
  • Climate,
  • Crime rates.

Use the Power of the Internet to Research the Country and City You’re Moving To

Whether you’re familiar with the place you’re planning to move to or not, know that there’s never enough research you can do. So, let’s say you picked one of the best countries to live in; now comes the research time. Make a plan on how to ease the whole process. For example, if you’re looking for a place to live with family, you’ll be focused on education and proximity to good schools. The important thing is that the internet can help you select a suitable place, you just have to set the priorities and what is the most important thing the city has to offer.

Set Your Budget and Check How Much Does It Cost to Relocate Overseas

Being financially stable should be one of the top priorities. Unfortunately, no relocation is free, especially the international one. So, you should set the budget and figure out how much money is needed for the whole process.

Another thing to think about is where you’ll work once the relocation is over. The answer to the question – can I move overseas without a job – is yes, but only if you have enough savings to cover all the expenses. In that case, networking and finding work in Europe as an American are other tasks you should add to the checklist. In fact, you can research the job market before settling in the future home by checking platforms like Linkedin and Facebook groups.

Find a Reliable International Moving Company That Will Take Care of All the Relocation Services You’ll Need

Getting help from a professional relocation crew is essential in a challenging process like this. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll hire the first relocation company you find online. The golden rule is to ask for a free quote from at least three companies. That way, you can ensure the international relocation services are reliable.

Check if packing services are included, and will the professional crew offer you a storage facility where you can keep your belongings. When you don’t have to worry about things like these, you’ll feel more comfortable doing other tasks for this relocation.

Decide Whether International Shipping Your Vehicle Is the Best Idea

Figuring out the greatest place to live in Europe or anywhere else, consider checking the infrastructure and the permits needed for shipping your vehicle. Figure out how the shipping will work, and if it is even worth the trouble.

Go Minimalistic and Get Rid of Some Stuff You Don’t Need

When it comes to the packing process, you have to be rational. Bringing stuff that you’re not using anymore makes no sense, and it will only cost you more money and nerves. Yes, some items you don’t use daily (some things with sentimental value or family heirlooms). But, the clothes you haven’t worn, not even once in the past year, you surely don’t need in the future home. Make your life easier and create a list of things to pack when moving internationally. That way, you’ll be organized and won’t get distracted.

Adjusting to Your New Home Will Be Much Easier Without the Unnecessary Clutter

Decluttering isn’t suitable only for international travel. Getting rid of the clutter from the house will give you more space and help you get rid of negative thoughts every once in a while. When it comes to relocating, it means you’ll have much fewer things to worry about during transportation. Another benefit of decluttering before the move is that unpacking and settling in the house will be a breeze.

Be Patient Because Adjusting to the New Surroundings Will Take Some Time

New adventure sounds great, but what about the adjusting period once you settle in and realize you have to mingle and meet the neighbors? Relocating and living in another country brings many positive and less positive things to your life. For example, if you’re moving to Hungary, not only do you have to get to know their culture, but you’ll have to learn a new language, as well. Then breaking the language barrier will take some time, but don’t despair.

Patience will come a long way because you’ll meet new people and locals in that period. They will probably be the most significant support for getting used to the different cultures and customs.

Explore the Expat Communities and Do Some Networking

We all know how an international move to a different home can be stressful. However, imagine how easier everything would be if you know what the biggest challenges are? That’s when expat communities will help you. Don’t neglect the help from people who have already gone through the same difficulties and know precisely what obstacles you’ll face. The advice you’ll get from expats will help you adjust much faster to the unknown surroundings.

Throw a Farewell Party and Say Goodbye to Your Loved Ones

After all the hard work, you realized that preparing to live in another country isn’t as simple as you thought. Not only it took you a lot of time, but energy too, and you didn’t say goodbye to all of your family and friends. Don’t worry; there’s nothing one good farewell party can’t solve. Take a chance and consider what the greatest way to keep in touch with your loved ones is. Everyone can check their calendars and establish one day a week for the video call. There’s no better way to say adieu than letting your loved ones know you’ll stay in touch.



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