Helpful Tips For Moving To A New Country
Moving to another country can be an amazing adventure. Once you arrive, you’ll have a chance to:
- Experience a new culture
- Sample exotic dishes and learn a local language
- Work as an expat and further your career
- Make lifelong friends
However, the relocation process can also be intimidating — especially if you go in unprepared. But with the right approach, you can minimize the “pain” of moving and maximize the benefits of your new and exciting life.
To get you started, here are seven helpful tips for moving overseas.
- Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees
Most credit cards charge transaction fees for any purchases made abroad, but you can avoid these unnecessary charges if you secure the right type of plastic in advance. Credit card offers change all the time, but Credit Karma and NerdWallet both maintain up-to-date lists of cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees. It’s best to apply for these credit cards before you leave.
- Research the Cost of Living
Some travelers plan to live on their savings. Others hope to find work once they arrive. Either way, it’s always a good idea to research the cost of living in advance. That way, you can avoid unwanted surprises. Unfortunately, finding exact prices isn’t always possible. But sites such as Numbeo can give you a rough idea of what to expect.
- Explore Your Living Options
It’s difficult to secure housing until after you’ve arrived. Besides, you probably shouldn’t sign a long-term lease without seeing the property in question. That said, it’s worth researching your options in advance. A simple Google search of local real estate agents is a great place to start. Expat.com forums can be helpful as well. You can always use Airbnb or take advantage of our insider discounts with HotelEngine for short-term rentals, too.
- Preparing for the Move
The trickiest part of any relocation is the move itself. For extended business travel, you’ll be able to travel light, taking only what you can carry in a suitcase. Once you’ve arrived, you can buy whatever big-ticket items you need. For major moves, this isn’t always an option — so you’ll definitely need support.
When researching international moving services, be sure to choose one that:
Staying Connected Overseas
- Understands local customs and tariffs
- Excels at logistics and on-time delivery
- Helps unload and unpack on the other end
- Is a member of the International Association of Movers (IAM)
Not having an Internet connection in your home country is inconvenient. Not having it abroad can be terrifying. Remember that you’ll be away from family and friends for many months (or years). Finding a reliable Internet connection should be your top priority once you arrive. Securing a local SIM card is also incredibly important, particularly as you begin hunting for housing.
Staying Safe While Abroad
911 is not an international emergency hotline. Every country has its special code, and you should commit that number to memory before getting on a plane. It’s also a good idea to register with the United States embassy or consulate. The U.S. State Department makes this easy with its free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Making Friends While Abroad
This last item might be the most important one on the list. After all, your circle of friends will define your overseas experience. But connecting with others can be difficult, especially if you don’t know the local language.
Here are some tips that will make the process a little easier:
- Enroll in a language immersion course as soon as possible
- Join country-specific Expat.com groups on Facebook
- Check for Meetup and InterNations activities in your area
One Final Tip for Moving Abroad
Preparation is important, so following the aforementioned tips for moving overseas should put you on the right track. However, it’s easy to get so swept up in logistics and planning that you forget to enjoy the experience of living abroad. Don't make this mistake.
Instead, you should:
- Take your time.
- Explore the city.
- Soak in the sights.
There’s no need to rush your overseas adventure. Safe travels and bon voyage!