Moving Overseas Checklist: The ultimate guide to packing & things to do before moving abroad
Moving overseas is hard work but it's always worth it! Assuming you already have your visa secured, a job lined up and passports ready to go with at least 6 months validity, here are our tips on everything you need to do before you make the big overseas move.
Book your flights, excess baggage and temporary accommodation:
So you have your job and visa lined up - the next step is to select a moving date and book your flights. When it comes to a move, expect to take a lot of baggage. When thinking about flight options be sure to look at airline baggage allowances and the price of purchasing extra weight or baggage. Spending more here may be a cheaper option than the costs of shipping if you don't have too much to take.
For accommodation ,we recommend at least having 1 month in temporary accommodation to allow yourself time to find a permanent address. For each move, we have always used Airbnb for this option. We also recommend finding an agent before you move to help speed up the process after landing. You can even consider booking in viewings for your first few weeks.
Make sure you have plenty of savings:
Moving overseas and be expensive depending on where you move, you want to ensure you have enough savings to get you through the first few months of high upfront costs, this can include:
Having your first few months rent paid in advance as well as the security deposit, broker costs and guarantor costs which may come with renting
Furnishing and decorating your new home
Shipping and insurance costs
If you're moving abroad with a job, try to negotiate a relocation package where either your company can cover this for you or provide you with a relocation bonus. If costs are coved in the form of a bonus do note that these bonuses are often paid with higher tax rates, be aware of the full value you may need based on the above expenses.
Have your documents in order and ready to travel:
Here's a list of documents you should pack, we recommend printing a few extra copies of each and ensuring you have them scanned and saved online for quick reference.
Extra Passport Photos
Any letters from your company or lawyer explaining your work situation and rights to work in the country (employment letter, contract, etc).
Education documents or copies of them at least
International Drivers License
Bank statements, Past Payslips and tax documents (Can be helpful for renting, particularly if your move is to the USA, a landlord will want all of this history, have it ready in advance)
If travelling during covid times: A PCR test may be required to enter the country and in many places when travelling you may need your vaccine certificate, we recommend having this saved on your phone.
Mail: For any local mail, be sure to forward this to your new address, or family member address that you know will be stable in your home country
Cancel your memberships & spend your vouchers:
Any other local memberships
Phone plans - it may be useful to downgrade to a cheaper plan but keep your local number for a while, you'll be amazed how many things you need SMS code changes on when you get a new number and losing your local number makes it very hard to update this
Call your bank and inform them you will be going overseas so your cards don't get blocked
Spend any gift vouchers you have outstanding
Medical checks and health insurance:
Medical insurance can be expensive living abroad, if you have free health care or insurance in your home country, we recommend getting as many checks as you can do before you leave.
Ensure your company provides medical insurance and you will be eligible for this the day you arrive. If not be sure you have your health and travel insurance purchased for overseas
Claim any local medicare or private health care benefits before leaving.
Visit your doctors for a health check: We recommend requesting a blood test, skin check and ensuring you're up to date with vaccines, plus get any additional ones for remote countries you may travel to
Request a script for antibiotics: To save you the need to visit a doctor when you first move if you need it
Request a doctors letter for any other medications you will be taking
Pack some basic medication for travel: Pain killers, and cold and flu tablets, charcoal tablets for any stomach upset
Do your dental check-up
Do your optical check-up
Shopping and packing list:
Here's a list of important things not to forget to pack in your suitcases. We are excluding any shipping, furniture and household items from this list
Vacuum seal or spacesaving bags for your bulky items (this is great for saving space on things like coats)
All of your documents listed above
Medications & doctors letter
Hairdryer (although check the power requirements match where you're moving)
For winter: coats, boots, scarves, gloves, thermals, clothing you can layer
For summer: shorts, tops, swimwear, hats, flip flops
Clothing for going out
Clothing for work
For working out: trainers, sportswear
Handbags and travel bags
If you're not taking any furniture, we recommend just sticking to this list and buying everything else once you've moved to carry as little as possible. We used Ikea and Amazon on arrival in the US to furnish, decorate and shop for the essentials after moving. We will share our guide on this later!
Throw a farewell party:
Don't forget to make the most of your last few days/weeks at home, spend time with friends and family, throw a farewell party, do those touristy things in your home town that you never got around to doing.
We hope this helps! Check out our full blog for more moving builds and travel tips!
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