Are you dreaming of moving abroad but feel anxious only at the thought of it? You’re not the only one! Many contemplate building a new life in another country, but only a few find the courage to take a leap and actually do it.
Some give up on their dream out of fear or uncertainty. But sometimes, the reason may be that they don’t know where to start. And no wonder why – the process can be pretty overwhelming and stressful, as there’s a lot to think about. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Moving abroad can be such an incredible experience, and despite the challenges, it will surely be your greatest adventure. Here’s how to navigate this new chapter of your life.
1Start saving early
It’s expensive to move to a different city, let alone to another country. The costs can be ten times higher, considering all the items you have to factor in, such as transportation, housing deposits, and movers.
Add international insurance and visa documents to that, and you’ll understand why the advice of saving money makes so much sense – after all, you never know when you may need it!
Thus, research exchange rates and the living costs in your new home, and then try to build a budget for your move. The earlier you start saving, the better it is, as you won’t have to postpone the relocation due to financial reasons.
Thoughtful planning will help you avoid surprise costs, so make sure to look for all the information you need. Ideally, you want to be able to cover living costs for the next 3 or 5 months once you’ve moved into your new home.
2Learn about the country
You may have created an idea in your mind about what it would be like to live in your dream country. However, as soon as you get there, you may end up disappointed because you realize it’s different from what you expected. This is why it’s essential to research the country first.
Learn about its history and culture and how the government operates. Understanding the country’s social norms will help you be better prepared for the change and avoid culture shock. Remember to research the weather, too! If there are extreme weather events in the country, you want to learn that information before moving – take our word for it.
Obviously, there’s no better way to get to know a country than by visiting it. So, pack some stuff and explore – that way, you’ll figure out whether you’ve made the right decision and want to proceed with the move.
3Choose a suitable neighborhood
So, you went exploring and discovered your dream country is where you genuinely want to spend the next years of your life. You can now move on to the next step, that of choosing the area where you’ll relocate.
Joining an expat group can help with that by giving you insights and options from other people living in different neighborhoods. But you can also decide based on your experience in the country. There is likely an area you enjoyed the most and where you could imagine yourself living in.
Depending on your situation, you may also want to consider factors like work location and central accessibility. Also, it’s imperative to keep your budget in mind when you make a decision.
4Think about how you’ll transport your belongings
Packing is tough! You may be tempted to take a lot with you, but it’s best to keep it light and only bring the essentials and sentimental items. There is probably stuff you can do without, but you must decide what to do with it.
One idea is to sell items, as this could provide you with extra money. Or, if you already have built a solid budget, consider donating stuff. If it’s absolutely necessary to ship large items like furniture, it’s possible to do so by hiring a moving company. These professionals will take care of your belongings and ensure they arrive safely and on time at the destination.
Shipping a container varies in price depending on different factors, like moving distance and the volume of your goods. Read more about container shipping rates here.
5Gather all the necessary documents
Here comes another challenging part of moving abroad: gathering all the documents you need – and they are a lot! These documents include a birth certificate, medical records, work references, and a visa. Make sure to store them somewhere safe and have photocopies. You can back them up on Google Drive or USD – that way, if you lose the original, you’ll still be able to retrieve the documents.
When preparing the documents required for the visa application, you’ll have to check the Consulate or Embassy websites, and you may get lost in the process. That’s completely normal, and you aren’t alone! You can get clarity by asking questions on expat groups or, even better, contacting an immigration lawyer.
6Buy the ticket
If things are all set, it’s finally time to buy your ticket. It’s not easy to get the best deal on tickets, but some tips can help.
Firstly, it’s always best to book early – between 2 to 3 months before your departure- as that’s how you’ll spend less on tickets. Obviously, you may need to adjust according to your visa.
Secondly, being flexible with the departure date can save you cash, so consider booking the tickets before or after your preferred date.
Also, rather than choosing a direct flight, consider those with stopovers – even if layovers may annoy you, they cost less. Roundtrip tickets are often cheaper than one-way tickets, so keep this in mind when planning your flight.
7Accept things won’t be perfect
Here’s the harsh truth: things won’t be all sunshine and rainbows once you settle in your new home. Chances are, you’ll face unexpected expenses, injuries, and so on. Anything can happen at any time because that’s just how life is. There’s no place where everything is perfect, and some things are out of your control.
Even if you don’t have all the answers now, that’s fine – you’ll learn along the way and adjust. So, relax and enjoy the journey! Moving abroad is exciting, and many new and wonderful experiences await you!
Any life transition can be anxiety-inducing, but that doesn’t mean it should stop you from pursuing your dreams. The process will feel less stressful with good planning, so take a deep breath and get ready to begin anew.