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Top 7 tips for moving abroad

Katherine Martinelli is an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer who contributes regularly to publications on three continents. She recently released her first cookbook, Puff Pastry at Brunch: 10 Sweet and Sa...

Big move, little stress

Relocating can be an anxiety-inducing experience, whether you’re moving down the block or to a new city. But moving to an altogether new country presents a whole different set of hurdles to deal with. Take a deep breath and follow these seven simple tips that will make moving abroad stress-free.

Woman packing box

Pack light

Moving is always a great excuse to hold a tag sale or garage sale, but relocating abroad provides even more of an impetus to purge. Chances are you won’t want to take most electric items since voltage is different and running them on a converter long term can burn out the engine. Consider what you can get cheaply in your new location and what you can’t live without. The less you take, the easier your move will be.

Decide how you will move

Are you taking two suitcases or all your worldly possessions? How much you are bringing will determine whether you need to hire an international moving company, if you will simply mail a few boxes or if you can bring it all on the plane. Be sure to weigh all the costs and benefits here -- you may be attached to your dining room set or 12-place china service, but consider what it will cost to move it versus the price of buying it there. Planning in advance is key for a stress-free move.

ListStay organized

It may seem obvious to make a moving overseas checklist, but this is crucial. Think about every single thing you need to do and write it down. Not only does this help you stay organized, but it feels great every time you cross something off the list!

The devil is in the details

Moving abroad can entail a lot of paperwork and even vaccinations that need to be completed months in advance. Be sure you check with your new country’s embassy to ensure that all your ducks are in a row. Also don’t forget to take care of everything at home in advance --  taxes, credit cards, bank accounts, your home -- the list goes on and on. But planning and staying organized will make it all go that much smoother.

Pets and kids

Traveling with pets and/or children adds another layer to the process. For pets, look into which vaccinations they’ll need and what the airline requirements are for transporting them. For children, you’ll need to make sure that their vaccinations are up to date and, depending on the age, you may need to look into schools ahead of time.

Have someone you trust at home

Moving abroad is such a big endeavor that it can be difficult to tie up all the loose ends at home before you go. It helps tremendously to have someone you trust at home who is willing to help out with the occasional favor, whether it’s passing on keys to a new tenant or real estate agent, or collecting your mail. It also can’t hurt to make sure they have photocopies of important documents like passports just in case.

Speak to someone who’s done it

This is the single best piece of advice on moving abroad. As soon as you tell people you are moving abroad, chances are friends will start throwing around names of people they know who are either residing in your soon-to-be new home or who have lived there. Get their contact info and get in touch! Not only is it great to have instant friends in a new location, but they can give you priceless insider tips on what you may miss from home and what’s readily available.

More moving tips

What to do before moving to a new city
Moving checklist
Moving planning guide

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