Bon Voyage: 6 Tips for Moving Abroad

Moving to a new country is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And like other once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, it can be stressful and complicated. The following 6 tips will help you settle things in the U.S. and having you saying “Bonjour!” in no time.

1. Look at the cost of living difference

The romantic in us may credit love or adventure as powering a move abroad. The pragmatist in us, however, knows better. Money powers practically any international relocation. Even if we do it out of love, we’re still going to need money. To get an idea of exactly how much money, a site such as Expatistan.com can help. Depending on the destination, your cost of living could rocket upward. Better to learn that now than later.

2. Work with a financial planner

Irrespective of the cost of living differences, an extended move abroad may influence your income, savings, or retirement figures. Working with a financial planner — especially one who specializes in expat scenarios — will help you put real numbers next to those, and other, categories. Taxes, exchange rates, and bank transfer fees are just the start of the costs about which you’ll want to know.

3. Put together a team

If you have an older parent, sibling, or other loved one who requires even a modest amount of support, have a team in place stateside that can help them if necessary. That way, you won’t be scrambling to find help from a few thousand miles away. This team could comprise:

  • A financial consultant (conceivably even the one with whom you worked for step #2)
  • A physician with a concierge medicine practice (to help avoid insurance-related headaches and delays)
  • Landscapers to ensure the lawn is mowed and snow is cleared
  • Movers ready to assist with any relocation or storage situations that might arise

4. Create a list … or two

When you move abroad, many of your material possessions go with you. Create a list of them. Leave nothing off the list; catalog everything going with you or being shipped.

But don’t stop there: create a list of the items you won’t take with you but will instead put into storage. Traveling light is a good idea, but don’t go to extremes. Pretty soon, you’ll be surrounded by new and strange things. Personal items such as framed photos and crafts can bring just enough home with you to alleviate bouts of homesickness.

5. You’ll need “papers”

It’s a spy movie trope: the protagonist faces a moment of danger when an evil official demands to see their “papers” — meant to trip our hero up and expose him to the villains.

Don’t worry. You won’t be confronted with such a demand. (Unless you’re a spy ….) But there are papers you’ll want to make sure you have on hand while you prepare to leave and once you arrive:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Visa
  • Work permit
  • International private health insurance (if applicable)

6. Select a reliable storage company

If you’re storing furniture and other possessions for an eventual return to the U.S., invest as much in the process of selecting a storage company as you would a moving company. That means speaking with three or more companies, plus asking for — and talking to — references they provide. Think carefully about utilizing a local self-storage facility; you have a lot going on with your move to a different country. Bypassing the corresponding stress will make delegating the moving and storage responsibilities worth its weight in gold.

An EZ move abroad

Moving to a new country can be extraordinarily exciting. It can also be unusually stressful. Working with the right storage company goes a long way to turn the dial down on your stress. We’ve helped to relocate military families, business executives, and many more, and are eager to help you.  Contact us today to help pave your way to your next destination, confident that we’re as invested as you in a smooth move.