How to Prepare for an International Move

Moving abroad is an exciting prospect. You’ll be exposed to a different language, culture and food. The move requires a great deal of preparation, though. Here are some tips to help you get ready for what will undoubtedly be a big adventure.

Find a Place to Live

Things will be much simpler if you find a place to live before you arrive at your destination. Start your research now. Read up on which neighborhoods are safest and closest to your job or school. Consider the cost, too. Set a budget for your living arrangements. The Internet can provide you with loads of helpful information – you can find chat boards of expatriates who have also moved to that country with tips about where to live.

Start Cleaning Up

Although you aren’t due to move for months yet, it’s best to begin getting rid of things you don’t need now. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you haven’t used it in more than a year, and can’t see yourself using it ever again, let it go. While it might seem a pain to start the cull so soon, it will save you time and effort further down the line when you’re packing.

Shop Around for Shipping Companies

As with any other service, it pays to research shipping companies for the best deal. Bear in mind that each company will have a different minimum amount that it’s willing to ship, so find one whose minimum matches what you’ll be sending abroad. Also, as with other services, reputation counts. Just because a shipping company can offer the cheapest rate doesn’t mean it will provide you with the best service. If you’ve got friends who have moved overseas, ask them which company they liked, and which they didn’t.

Investigate Import Duties and Restrictions

Duties, otherwise known as the taxes you pay on bringing goods across a border, are a great source of revenue for governments, and virtually unavoidable for travelers. While you might not be able to dodge them completely, you can try to reduce them. Also, each country has its own restrictions on what you cannot bring in. Read up on those before you start packing to save yourself money and aggravation.

Get Organized

If you’re not a list maker, now would be a good time to become one. Compile a list of all the things you need to do before you move. Checking off each item will feel satisfying, and it will reduce last minute stress. It also helps to have a list of which belongings are in which box or piece of luggage. When you start unpacking, you’ll be able to find things quickly and easily.

Set a Schedule

This tip is connected to organization. Knowing when you need to complete tasks will make the moving process less stressful for you. It will also mean that you won’t be running around at the last minute trying to get things done you should have finished months ago. Be realistic with your schedule, though. Don’t give yourself too short a deadline to complete a massive to-do list item, such as one day for packing all of your stuff into boxes. And remember, you don’t want to schedule things too far in advance, either. For example, you want to keep your utilities on for as long as possible. Telling the water company to cut you off a week in advance does you no good.

One of the most important things to remember is to stay calm. Moving is very exciting, yet also quite stressful. Keeping a level head and a sense of humor will get you through a period that can be very challenging.