So you have decided to move abroad? Congratulations, it’s a wonderful, life changing decision! But moving abroad is not as easy as it looks in the movies.

It takes a lot of planning, hours of paperwork, attempts to integrate into the new country, and the list goes on and on. No, we are not lecturing you – trust us, we know what we are talking about!

4 Tips for Moving Abroad #movingtips #movingabroad

Moving abroad is a great challenge, an adventure and it may be the best time of your life. It helps if you plan all the necessary steps in advance. Here are some of our tips for moving abroad.

Belongings – sell, donate or ship?

This may be one of the hardest decisions on the list. All the belongings you have collected over the years – what should you do with them?

Make lists of items you want to donate, sell or take with you. You can take small and most valuable items with you in a suitcase but bigger things need other types of shipment. Get quotes from several shipping companies and buy or hire a storage container for your furniture and appliances. Check the storage container you use – it’s important that it be in good condition. If not, ask for storage container repairs in port container services.

Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy new things when arriving at your destination than to take your old belongings with you. Study all the options well!

Another thing you might consider is to arrange insurance for the move. If in the end, you have decided to ship your belongings, it’s better that they arrive safe and sound.

Learn the language

It’s not so easy to pick up a new language and assimilate to the new country. That’s why you have to learn the language or at least try to do it. Knowing the language makes your transition easier and those first days in a new country more manageable.

Before I moved to Spain, I took a Spanish beginners course and when I arrived in Spain I studied a semester in a private language school. I still don’t speak Spanish fluently, but I speak it well enough to get by.

Check Ronnie’s great post “How to Learn a New Language” for additional language learning tips!

Revise your documents

For me, this is the most important thing to do: ensure that you have all necessary documents in order. Passport and visa are not enough! There are so many additional papers that you had no idea existed. So do your homework well and make a list of all the documents you need – birth and marriage certificates, medical reports, proof of no criminal record, university diplomas, etc., are just some of the documentation you may need in your new country. For security, scan all the documents and send yourself an email with the information.

I have spent hours writing emails to get the missing documents to validate my university diplomas in Spain. Who would have guessed that I need my high school records after 10 years? Or that I have to travel to Estonia just to get a document saying that I’m not previously married?

To avoid these kinds of problems, to save your time and money, be smart and think ahead of all the situations you might have to deal with in the future.

Know your embassy

It’s not obligatory to let your embassy know that you will be moving out of the country but I would recommend you to register with them. That way, the embassy can forward you much-needed information in case of an emergency.

The Estonian Embassy in Madrid has helped me a lot with all kind of paperwork needed to live in Spain. They even have a translation service, so whenever I have needed any documents translated, they have done it for me. As you see, the embassy is not just for consular information; they may help you in other aspects, too.

If you wish to not register, at least find the direction of your nearest embassy and their telephone numbers. You never know when you might need them.

Do you have tips for moving abroad? Or any moving tips in general?

Our other posts on traveling:

Unedited image by Billy / CC BY