6 Ways to Prepare for Moving Abroad

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Without a doubt, one of the most stressful times in life is when you find yourself moving. Whether you’re moving across town or to another country, moving is downright overwhelming.

Now, imagine that you’re not only dealing with the stress of moving, but of moving to another country. Maybe your new country speaks a different language? Maybe it has a completely different set of normative cultural values or a foreign cuisine? You’re not just moving to a new apartment or home, you’re moving your life.

While the stress and overwhelm of moving abroad can get the best of anyone, it’s important to also remember that this is a very special time in your life. You’re on the cusp of what’s sure to be an amazing, complex, and exciting change. Sure, you should feel nervous, but you should also remember that soon, all of this effort will pay off and you’ll be on your way to a great new experience.

To help keep you sane throughout the process, here are six ways in which you can better prepare yourself and your things for the move abroad.

One: Organize your important documents

This should be top on your list of things to do. Make sure you have all important certificates (birth, marriage, driving, citizenship, etc.), as well as copies. If anything were to happen to your passport while abroad, having even copies of these documents can help you get a replacement more quickly. Even if you don’t have hard copies or scans of these documents available, make sure that you store them safely, know where they are located, and give family or trusted friends access to these items, in case something happens.

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Two: Purge unwanted belongings

When moving time comes around, it’s always a great opportunity to take inventory of your belongings. Some things will be impossible to part with, but the majority of your belongings can probably be donated, given to friends, or up-cycled somehow in your community. Bottom line: storage is expensive and annoying, so if you can get rid of unnecessary items in your life, take the opportunity to do it now (all that stuff will just be a pain to worry about when you’re abroad, anyway).

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Three: Create lists

It may sound contrived, but start the habit of creating lists for yourself – and lots of them. Even if you’ve never been a “list person” in the past, trust me, you will have so many things grabbing at your attention that keeping everything straight will feel overwhelming. Between visa requirements (for you and potentially your dependents and pets) to booking flights, packing, finding accommodations, opening bank accounts, considering cell phone plans, etc. etc. etc., life may feel like a whirlwind for a while. Obviously, everything will all be taken care of in the end, but why make things unnecessarily hard along the way? Start making lists now!

Four: Pack light

Time and again, one of the most common ‘regrets’ of international travelers is packing too much. While it might not seem like it now, as you gaze out at your sea of belongings sitting on your bedroom floor, you really won’t need all that much – at least at first. And, in most places, you’ll have things available for you to purchase in your new country, should you need them.

A good rule of thumb is to set out all of the things that you want to pack, then remove about half of it. Pack according to your needs, but try to think about how heavy those bags will become when you’re lugging them around in your new home country. This should encourage you to rethink some of your packing choices.

Five: Start a journal

While this has less to do with preparing your tangible belongings for the move, preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for what lies ahead is just as important. Consider getting a one, three, or even five-year journal to document your transition. Not only will journaling your experiences give you something incredible to refer back to, but it could also help you reflect on your thoughts and feelings at present. And, if there’s anything that you should be when moving abroad, it’s emotionally ready.

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Six: Seek a healthy transition with family and friends

You are embarking on a major life change. Whether the move is permanent or short-term, make sure to leave relationships and friendships on good terms, if possible. Even though our world is more connected now than ever before, sometimes it isn’t easy to drop everything and visit family or friends for leisure, or especially emergencies. Whenever you can, try to make your transition with positivity, love, patience, and appreciation for people whom you will be seeing a whole lot less soon.

As you prepare to move abroad, remember to organize, plan, purge, and be kind to yourself during this exciting transition.

Did you recently move abroad? Share your moving tips with us in the comments section below!