How to Prepare for Moving Abroad

There is no doubt that one of the most stressful periods in life is when you are going to move. And whether it’s just to another part of town or you are moving to another country, moving causes stress and overwhelm. Imagine that you’re not just dealing with the stress of moving, but you are moving to another country. And what if your new country speaks a different language? And what if it has a totally different set of cultural values or a completely different cuisine? In that case, you’re not just moving to a new apartment or house, you’re moving your life.

Overwhelm and stress of moving abroad can get the best of anyone. However, it’s important to remember that this is a very special period in your life. For sure you are about to experience an amazing and exciting, but also complex change. Of course, you should feel nervous, but you should remember as well that very soon, all of the efforts will pay off and you’ll be on your way to a wonderful new experience. To make sure you keep you sane throughout the process, here are several ways in which you can prepare yourself for the move to your new country.

Organize important documents

This is very important and should be top on your list of things to do. Assure yourself you have all important certificates (such as birth, marriage, driving, citizenship documents), and also copies. If something happens to your passport while abroad, having copies of these documents will help you get a replacement quicker. If you don’t have scans or hard copies available, make sure that you keep them in a safe place, know where they are stored, and give family or trusted friends access in case something happens.

Get rid of unwanted belongings

When it is time to move it is a very good opportunity to have a look at your belongings. Some things will be impossible to get rid of with, but most of your belongings can probably be donated to friends, or up-cycled in your community. Storage is expensive and can be very annoying, so if you are able to get rid of unnecessary stuff take the opportunity to do it now. This way you won’t have to worry about all those things when you’re abroad.

Make lists

Maybe it sounds contrived, but make it a habit of creating lists – and lots of them. Even if you’ve never been a “list person” before, for sure there will be so many things trying to grab your attention that keeping everything in order will feel overwhelming. You will be busy with visa requirements (for you and potentially your dependents, and maybe even pets) booking flights, packing, finding a suitable place to live, opening bank accounts, considering cell phone plans, and a lot more. Life may feel very overwhelming for a while. For sure all will be taken care of in the end, but why make things unnecessarily complicated along the way? Start making lists today!

Pack light

Often, one of the most general ‘regrets’ of international travelers is taking too much. While it might not seem like it at this moment, when you look at your sea of belongings sitting on your bedroom floor, you realize you really don’t need all that much. At least at first. And, in most locations, you’ll have things available for you to buy in your new country, in case you need them.

A good way to accomplish this is to set out all of the things that you want to pack, and then remove at least half of it. Pack according to what you need, but also consider how heavy those bags will become when you’re dragging them around in your new home country. So rethink some of your packing choices.

Start a journal

Although this has not so much to do with preparing your belongings for the move, preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for what is lying ahead of you is equally important. Get a one, three, or even five-year journal to register your transition. Journaling your experiences will give you something very special to refer back to that can help you reflect on your thoughts and feelings. If there’s anything that you should be when moving to a new country, it’s to be emotionally ready.

Look for a healthy transition with friends and family

You are on your way to a new life in a new country. Whether the move is forever or for a short period of time, it is important to leave relationships and friendships on good terms, if this is possible. Even though our world is currently more connected than ever before, at times it isn’t easy to drop everything and go to family or friends for leisure, or especially in case of emergencies. Whenever you are able to, try to make your transition with as much positivity, love, patience, and appreciation for people as possible, since you will be seeing them a whole lot less.

While you prepare to move abroad, remember to organize, plan, purge, but especially to be kind to yourself during this exciting change.  

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