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Things You Forget to Do When You Move Across the World

Milly Andrews August 23, 2022
Posted August 23, 2022 In Living Abroad, Plan the Move,
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

When you’re relocating to a new country, there are certain tasks you have to do in order to make the transition go smoothly. Unfortunately, there are many possible things you forget to do when you move, which can result in a lot of struggles when you arrive at a new home. In this blog post, we’ll list some of the most important things you need to remember when relocating.

Preparing Your Items Properly – One of the Most Common Things You Forget to Do When You Move

Most people, especially those that have a last-minute move, pack their belongings as they are, without any preparations. This should be avoided even with a local move, but it can have significant consequences when it comes to the international one.

In most cases, preparing equals thoroughly cleaning. Leaving the cleaning part of the move for a post-relocation period is one of the common relocation mistakes. By taking the time to clean your belongings before the move, you can ensure that they arrive at your new home in the best possible condition. Moreover, if you leave debris and dirt, they can damage your belongings during the transition – and cleaning them will prevent it.

In general, it’s a good idea to clean everything before you move. So, before getting packing services or deciding to pack dishes, linens, clothes, furniture, and other relocation essentials by yourself, make sure they are completely clean. Still, it’s important to note that some items may require special handling before the move. That includes all of the household appliances that use water to work, such as washing machines or fridges.

If you have a stand-alone refrigerator or freezer, for example, and intend to take it with you when you move, don’t forget to defrost it. This is something that is easy to overlook because you use it so frequently, but it’s crucial to avoid having a water leak during the relocation process. Excess water can cause mold development, which can damage many items in your cargo. Once defrosting is done, wipe the appliance, and leave it to dry completely at room temperature for at least one day before packing.

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Take Your Time for Car Preparation

Whether you’re relocating to Canada and want to drive a car to your new home or get an overseas vehicle shipping service, forgetting about the car preparation process can be one of the costliest mistakes you can make. If you’ve decided to transport a car to another country, you must not forget the following tasks:

  • Cleaning the exterior and interior,
  • Removing your items and exterior accessories – any item left in your car won’t be insured, while external additions can be damaged,
  • Taking photos that document the car’s current condition – if damage occurs, it will serve as proof that it happened during the transport,
  • Servicing the vehicle – make sure it is in good condition and doesn’t have any leaks or mechanic issues,
  • Emptying the car’s gas tank – it shouldn’t be more than one-quarter full; additional gas means more weight and possibly additional fees for you.

Don’t Forget to Prepare for the Movers, Either

The relocation day can be hectic, which is one of the reasons people tend to oversee many important tasks. Forgetting them shouldn’t affect the outcome of the move, but remembering them can facilitate the whole process. For example, try to designate an area where movers can put your belongings while they are loading them into the trucks. Also, don’t forget to separate a box with necessities ( a change of clothes, toiletries, electronics, and other similar items) from the rest of the boxes – they should travel with you, not the relocation team.

The night before the move or in the morning, you should also clear the pathway. This means getting rid of any obstacles in their way, such as furniture, pictures, boxes, lamps, and so on. Additionally, have cash ready if you decide to tip the team for their exceptional international moving services. This is not required, but it is always appreciated when a team goes above and beyond to help you move.

Notifying Important Subjects About the Relocation

It is important to keep everyone in the loop when relocating, as there are many people who will be affected by the change. You probably won’t forget to tell your family and friends or even an employer about moving overseas, but you must also notify important institutions well in advance so that they can update their records. Again, failing to do so can have severe consequences.

So, who to notify when moving abroad? You should change your address with USPS, but you’ll need to do it in person if your new address will be an international one. Financial institutions and other unseen yet constantly present businesses you deal with the need to know about the move. Luckily, in most cases, you can easily do it online or over the phone. You should also remember to inform governmental institutions of your residence changes (SSA, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, tax authorities, and the like).

Cancel All Services You’ll No Longer Need After Moving Internationally

Think about which services you’ll no longer need after the move. That will usually be internet and TV service, your home security system, and any other monthly subscriptions or memberships you have, such as magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, and so on. Also, since you won’t be able to transfer the utilities to a new home, utility providers must also be notified about your move and its date so they can cancel them.

Remember – forgetting about canceling these services will have a direct impact on your savings, and this task can be a difficult thing to do in a whole other country. Therefore, make sure to do so before you move halfway around the world.

Gathering Documents and Transferring Records

Forgetting to obtain documents needed to travel abroad, such as a passport and visa, can mean the end of your move before it has even begun. If you’re relocating to Spain, for example, obtaining a visa will take a few weeks, while if you plan to move to Germany, you’ll have to wait up to three months. As for the passport, it needs to be valid for at least six months from the day you get into the new country.

There are other documents necessary for your move that you need to bring or transfer. Forgetting them won’t affect the move itself, but it can cause some avoidable inconveniences. The following list can serve as a reminder:

  • Financial documents,
  • Medical, dental, and vet records (if you’re not relocating abroad alone, bring records from all family members),
  • School and education records (higher education is one of the common reasons for relocation abroad),
  • Employment papers and professional licenses,
  • Car paperwork,
  • Birth and marriage certificates.

Taking Care of the Kids on the Relocation Day

With all the relocation day preparations, people often forget to plan children’s activities on the relocation day. However, in order for them to be safe, you need to organize someone to look after them while you take care of the last relocation tasks. It can be a friend or family member, or you can hire a sitter. When looking for a nanny or babysitter, choose someone who is experienced and trustworthy. Also, be sure to leave clear instructions on what needs to be done and what the kids’ routines are so they feel comfortable and safe.

Your Pets Also Need to Be Taken Care of Before the Move to a New Home

Same as children, pets also must be looked after, especially with all the open doors and people around the place. However, pet preparation must start long before the relocation day. If you plan to relocate with pets, you must ensure they are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations and reach the new country law about additional vaccination and animal import. If you’re relocating to the United Kingdom, for example, you’ll possibly need proof of a vaccine against rabies.

You must also remember to get them used to their carrier. If your pets aren’t used to being in a transporter, they may become anxious or stressed during the move. To help your pet adjust, put it in a room where they spend a lot of time, such as the living room or bedroom. Put some of their favorite toys or treats inside the carrier, so they associate it with positive things. If you want to learn more tips on how to move with a dog (or any other pet), take a look at the video below:

Common Things People Forget to Pack

Some things are simply more forgettable than others. While you won’t neglect to pack sentimental or valuable items, there is some stuff that can slip your mind. Make sure these items don’t become some of the things you forget to pack:


The reason you might forget to bring your prescribed medication is that you usually pack them separately from everything else and keep them close to you. So you can take care of your health properly, make sure they are packed in the box with the rest of the essentials.

Hidden valuables

We frequently store our hidden assets in secret or unusual spaces, making them easy to leave behind accidentally. Make sure you are aware of the location of all your valuable possessions so that you can remember to pack them.


Chargers are items that people frequently forget to bring, perhaps because we use them right up until departure. Once your devices have been completely charged, pack the chargers with the rest of the belongings.


Your long-held plants may appear to be a part of the home – and they are typically forgotten because of this. Remember to explore the new country’s laws about importing plants or simply give them to a family member or a friend who will take good care of them.

Don’t Leave Things That Are Not Currently at Your Home

Before you move across the world, don’t forget to pick up any clothing pieces you may have left at the neighborhood dry cleaner. If you’ve dropped off clothes that are out of season or those you only wear on rare occasions, you’re more likely to forget to pick them up. Make this task a part of the relocation to-do list, and there is no way you’ll miss it.

Additionally, some goods may have temporarily been stored in storage units outside of your current home. If you still want to pack up and relocate them, ensure to place visiting a storage facility on your relocation abroad checklist as well.

Neglecting to Research an Overseas Moving Company – Potentially the Biggest Mistake You Can Make

Many people choose to move overseas and go with the first international moving company they see fit. This is a huge mistake and can often lead to problems even before you start to live abroad. Make sure you take the time to research different companies and get quotes from several of them before making your final decision. This will help ensure you get the best possible service and avoid any potential problems.

Look up the DOT number of the relocation team you’ve selected to work with to avoid dealing with relocation scams. Additionally, you must read their testimonials and recommendations and meet the company’s representatives in person for a home estimate. While all tasks mentioned above will certainly take some of your time, neglecting them can cost you everything you own.

Get the Best International Movers and Relocate to Your New Home Abroad Worry-Free

Now that you know what things to remember to do when moving, it’s time to start planning and organizing. To get the most from the whole experience, look for the best overseas shipping company and schedule your move overseas on time. Shipping overseas may seem like a daunting task. However, with the help of experienced movers, you can forget about heavy lifting and logistics – and remember to do all the relocation tasks that are solely up to you.



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