How to Prepare for Moving Overseas

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Moving to another country can be both a scary and an exciting time in your life, and at times the preparation process can feel a little bit overwhelming. To be sure, there’s a lot that needs to get done when you are trying to move overseas, but it doesn’t need to completely overwhelm you if you plan far enough in advance and keep a careful tally of your progress. Even to the smallest of details, like how to prepare yourself for a long flight, should be taken into consideration. So, in this list of the things you need to do to prepare to move to another country, don’t miss this first important step: start a list of things to do well in advance and keep it updated. Now, for the things that should be on your list:

Get Your Legal and Financial Ducks in a Row

There’s no exaggerating the importance of getting your paperwork and finances in order before you go to another country, especially for an extended stay. Not only will the other country have rules about what you need to do to enter the country, but your own country will have rules about what you need to do to leave, what you need to do to enter that specific country, and what you need to do in order to be able to return eventually to your native country. Be sure you know about all of this in advance and that you are attending to these matters. Here’s a few things to make sure you’ve done:

  • Secure all the paperwork you will need in order to enter and exit the country, like any visas you need. Be prepared with what you will need should you have to leave the country for an emergency, such as a relative getting sick.
  • Get all the vaccines you will need to visit the new country. This is not only a matter of personal health, but you will likely not be allowed to return to your home country if you haven’t had these vaccines. Be sure to start on this process early as some vaccines must be given as a course and will require several weeks to be completely administered.
  • Sort out your finances. If you have an accountant, schedule a visit before you go. If you don’t, consider getting an accountant. You will need to talk about where to put your money while you are abroad, in which country you need to pay your taxes, how to consolidate your income or debt, etc. If you need extra help, it’s worth looking into an income tax debt relief company if you are feeling overwhelmed by financial problems from previous years. It can be very expensive to ignore these problems until you’re already in another country, as you could end up paying off debts at much higher rates.
  • Check in with your embassy before your arrival. This can be extremely useful should something happen, like the loss of a passport or another emergency.
  • Find out whether or not you will need travel insurance. Some countries actually require you to have travel insurance while you are there, so be sure to find out whether you need insurance, and if so, how much coverage you’ll need.

Attend to Matters of Custom

It can be hard to know sometimes, when out of your own country, if you’re following the established best practices for that country. Be sure you know all of the proper customs to follow in advance and the things to look out for that might be offensive or signs of good manners in your new home. It’s always valuable to reach out to anyone who has gone before you. Contact friends who have gone to that country or are from there and ask for advice. Look around online, post on local forums like the Reddit page for the country you are visiting, and get a feel for local fashion and taste. Pick up some travel books if you can’t find any useful information online.

Be sure to consider the language. It’s always best if you can confidently communicate in the local language, but if you can’t, try to make efforts to at least be able to communicate in short exchanges in the local language, like when ordering at a restaurant. Always make an effort to try to communicate first in their native language. This is almost always considered good manners when visiting another country.

And don’t forget to consider customs of dress. The US tends to be a little more low-key and casual in dress than many other countries, so you will want to be very aware of what is and is not considered socially acceptable. This is both for your safety and comfort. Sticking out as an American can make you a more likely target for pickpockets and in some countries.

Finally, Take Care of Home Matters

Your final factor to consider before leaving the country will be in addressing all of the matters of home before you go. If you are leaving a house or possessions in the country, make sure they are well-protected and secure. Don’t forget to deal with the matter of your mail delivery while you are out of the country. And finally, don’t forget to say goodbye to everyone and to give them information on how to reach you in your new country. This can be a hard step for everyone involved, so give yourself plenty of time to hang out with your loved ones to get some good quality time together before you go. Make plans in advance to visit and arrange to send each other letters and care packages. No matter how much you prepare for this portion of traveling, missing family and friends will likely still be one of the hardest parts of your travels.

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