Things To Do Before Moving Abroad: A Ultimate Checklist

February 9, 2021

Being an expat isn’t always easy. Moving out from your country of origin is a huge step. It is not a joke. It is not easy. There are certain preparations that you must do before moving abroad. I have been moving from place to place since when I was studying. Trust me when I say, it is hard. And now, I am here in Italy.

Moving and living in different countries for good is a completely different experience compared to just visiting a place. Travelling for leisure is different from moving for good. There are always ups and downs. Today, I would like to share with you some useful tips and things to do before moving abroad. This ultimate checklist will make sure your happy ending moving trip overseas.

Based on my experiences, these are the necessary steps and things to do. So, let us get started.

Things To Do Before Moving Abroad- a checklist


Things to Consider When Moving Abroad

What are the things you need to do before moving abroad? Here are your ultimate checklist and guides in transferring overseas. This checklist will guide you for a better expat experience. Let me help you lessen your stress and hassles going abroad.

1. Research your Destination

Staying to a country or destination you’ve never been to? It is not a problem. The first thing to do when moving abroad is to make a background check. Make sure to make research about it. Do not be scared of letting yourself know the positive and negative sides of living in that new area. Make sure you know what to expect with the people, budget, work availability, the weather, the economy, and everything. The more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be when you land.

We don’t want to get stuck in something not valuable and worth it, right? Make sure to make research on the cost of living, the culture, and traditions. In addition, knowing their local language is advised to learn too. Those are very important things that you have to know before moving abroad.

2. Sort Out Travel Documents

Are your passport and visas ready? If you haven’t check yet the necessary documents that you must bring, you do it now. Better to do it early than being sorry. Last 2017, I supposed to celebrate New year in Bali, Indonesia. However, my passport was not valid to travel abroad because I had only 5 months before its expiration. Under the law, I can not travel. But, I was so stupid to book the whole trip without checking my travel documents. During my travel day, I passed the immigration. But, the airline stopped me while boarding. It was sad I know. I even cried in front of many people.

It is a big lesson for me. So, make sure that you have to check your travel documents before booking and making your final decisions. The passport should be ready. Visas should be secured if needed. Figure out what visas you will need for your move, and get them sorted a few months before. Whatever you do, don’t leave it until the last minute to sort out visas! Sometimes, getting a visa is a very big drama that can take weeks or even months to get.

So, the next thing to do after making research about the destination is to check on your travel documents. Make them ready and available before travelling and moving abroad. You may also want to secure travel insurance. Better to be secured than sorry.

3. Move Out of Your Place

Don’t stick to the saying ‘late is better than never’. Do it while you have enough time. Arrange your belongings. Plan and prepare the things you have to bring and not to bring. Moving out is stressful and it consumes a lot of time. So, it’s best to get it over and done with early and give yourself a little time to spare to prepare for your trip.

If you are renting, upon making your final decision, inform your landlord immediately. Be kind enough to discuss your move out date with the homeowner. So that, they can also arrange your move out forms and documents and find a new tenant.

If you own the house, you have options. You can lease it out while you are away, sell it, or make it your vacation house. Just make sure to think about it carefully before moving out for good abroad.

Update your address, yes, it is necessary. Before finally moving out from your place or even after you move out, update your mailing address. Most businesses require your address. For example, banks and schools require your address as part of your registration. So, once you already know your new destination, update your address immediately.

Therefore, another thing to do before moving abroad is to check what you should do to your current place. Either you lease it, sell it, or vacate it and make it your vacation house.

4. Inform to Leave

Before leaving, say goodbye. Mention to your banks, school, doctor, and work that you are leaving. This is to make final arrangements. It is always best to say goodbye than just leaving without any words. Your bank might advise you that they have a branch on your new destination. Plus, as I said, inform the bank about your new address if you decided to keep staying with them. Also, inform your school to transfer your records. Get the necessary school credentials before leaving. You may want to get your transcript of records, diploma, and graduation certificates (if you graduated already). You may need them for your new job or enter a new school.

In addition, consult your doctor before moving abroad. Get check before leaving. Consult your doctor for some travel advices. Most especially if you are taking prescriptions and maintenance. Advice him how long you will be gone and if you have plans to come back again. So, he can refer you to another doctor and transfer your records.

At least 2 months before leaving the country, inform also your employer about your plan to move out and settle abroad. This is to help your employer find a replacement for your position. Moreover, you also need time to endorse to someone about your work. Once you are cleared for work, request a certificate for employment. You may need it to land your next job abroad.

5. Say Goodbye

Don’t think of vanishing like smoke without waiving your hands to your loved ones.

Leaving your family? Then spare some time with them before moving abroad. Inform them about your plans. Mention your wills. Also, let them know your new address, and once you arrived at your new destination, inform them of your new contact number.

Leaving your friends? Give them a hug! I am sure you will miss them. Like me, I miss my friends in the Philippines. Living abroad is hard. It requires sacrifices and letting things go.

6. Get International Cards

Apart from bidding goodbye, apply for a bank that operates internationally. Make sure to get a card without any foreign transaction fees. Spending 2% – 5% more per charge while you’re living abroad is insane. You live abroad for yourself and not to make banks even richer.

Make sure that the card you are getting is accessible to the country you are about to live in. Make sure that it will work. Also, be sure that the bank is contactable just in case of emergencies and problems.

7. Save Money

Planning to live abroad for a long period of time soon? Then save some money before moving. Well, I never heard of someone moving abroad without savings anyway. Wait, there is. Me! (Well, my case is very different- long story.)

Know your budget. Make a table and calculate your spendings and expenses. After that, start earning for living abroad. Saving money today will surely help you ease your life abroad. I am sure that you don’t want to get stuck overseas, right? A good practice is to save up enough to cover at least three or four months of expenses and a return ticket, just in case.

8. Cancel Ongoing Subscriptions or Payments

Don’t waste your money subscribing to something you are not benefitting from. Cancel your no more needed subscriptions and recurring payments. For example, utilities like mobile phone subscriptions, internet cable and TV, electricity, gym membership, and some other subscriptions you made related to your local area.

One of the good ways to sort these out is to go through your bank statements for the past month or two. Make a note of any regular payments that are deducted. After that, ask yourself, “Do I still need these after relocating abroad?”.

9. Buy Stuff you can’t get there

Before I dive into this, I will preface it by saying that you can buy almost everything you need almost everywhere in the world. There’s no need to pack 20 bottles of shower gel if you’re moving to Italy for a year. We have shower gels here.

However, there might be some things you would like to bring that are not available in your new country. For example, I have to bring bagoong (fish paste) because they do not produce it here. That product is only produced in the Philippines. But, don’t spend tons of money on these products or fill your entire luggage with them. Odds are you’ll be able to find a similar substitute, or even a better and cheaper substitute, overseas. Being open to experiencing new products that are available is part of the adventure of moving abroad! Be adventurous!

Look on our packing checklist when travelling for more tips. Also, check on our packing guide for the covid19 pandemic.

10. Join Expat Groups

As part of your research about the new destination or country, joining some expat groups might be a big help. Ask people who have experience living in that country or city. There are plenty of online groups out there. For example, you can find groups on Facebook. By joining online groups, you can interact with locals and expats. Ask them about their normal lives as locals and as expats.

Moving abroad is like job hunting. Make connections and gather pieces of information. Start making friends too. So, it will not be so hard for you once you arrived in the country since you already know someone.

11. Learn the Language

What language does the country you are moving to have? Do you have the same languages?

There is no need to be a C1 level. At least you know the basics. there are plenty of learning resources online. Spare some time studying the language. Learn some useful words and phrases. It is always best to know what is happening around you, right? Most especially if you are going to a non-English speaking country. There is really a need to learn their local language.

From my own experience in Italy, I find it difficult to communicate with most of the locals as most of them don’t speak English. It is hard if you don’t speak their language. Now, with patience, I am learning the language little by little.

Learning a language is essential. There might be some cases that you will sign documents written in their local language. And of course, you don’t want to sign something you can’t read and understand. There are online translation services available anyway. Personally, I use google translator, which is good, but probably not perfect.

Summary of Moving Abroad

I hope this post helps you and gives you things to think about before moving to another country. One of the most important things you will need to do before moving abroad is research online and look at official sources of information.

I hope these tips help you a lot. These things to do before moving abroad are your ultimate guide and checklist for a better ex-pat migrating experience.

I would love to hear your own story abroad. Let others learn from your experiences too. Email us or reach us through our social media handlers.

Have a safe trip!

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