8 Tips for a Successful Move Abroad

No one’s going to pretend that the modern world is perfect, but there are some advantages that we should all be thankful for. For instance, it’s easier than ever to move to another country, even if it’s a country on the other side of the world. Just think of how difficult it would be to move to, say, Spain in the 1800s. You could do it, but it’d be a monumental — not to mention potentially dangerous — task.

Today, if you can dream it, you can do it, with comparatively less difficulty. Still, that doesn’t mean that moving abroad is a walk in the park. In this post, we’ll run through some handy tips that’ll help to make the process more straightforward.

Visit First

This is a big one. It’s easy to have an idea of what a place is like based on what you’ve heard from friends or seen in movies, but your mental image won’t be the same as what it’s actually like. So for certain, pay a visit before committing to any grand move (unless you’re moving for work, and don’t really have a say in the matter). 

It’s also important to think of how you’ll visit the place. You’re visiting, but you’re not a tourist — you’re scouting whether it’s a place you could live. As such, it’s recommended to act like a local as much as you can. After all, you’ll be a local one day! Spend time in local neighborhoods, visit everyday places, and try to get a feel for the city.

Speak to a Local Real Estate Agent

Local knowledge is key, but unfortunately, as an outsider, you don’t possess that local knowledge. So you’ll need to pay someone who does have that information, especially when it comes to the big decisions, such as buying a property. 

First of all: only look at buying once you’re actually on the ground. You’ll need a temporary place until you find your long-term home. Whether you’re buying or looking to rent, working with a local real estate agent will help to make the process more straightforward — and prevent problems from developing down the line. 

Living Legally 

Don’t assume that you can legally move to the place you have in mind. In all likelihood, you can’t — there are only a few countries that are in effect visa-free, and even then there’ll be limitations as to what you can do. Most countries will have a rigorous visa process, so be sure to get started with that before you get too excited about making the move. The good news is that there’s nearly always a way to get a visa, especially if you hire a professional to help you. 

Get a Storage Unit

You’ll take some of your items with you when you first make a move. But realistically, most of your possessions will be left behind, at least temporarily. It’s not worthwhile sending all your furniture ahead of you before you’ve even found a place to live. If you have to move out of your current home (more on that later), then rent a storage unit to store your bulky possessions until you figure out what to do with them. You might decide to transport them to your new home, you may sell them, or you might keep them in your storage unit forever and ever. Having the unit gives you time to decide. 

Take Care of the Essentials

You’ll be eager to sink into all that your new home country offers, but remember that there are some logistical things that you’ll need to take care of. This won’t only ensure that you’re fully set up for success, but will also allow you to save money. For instance, you’ll need to set up a bank account to avoid costly transaction fees. Once you have the account, you can simply use a website that allows you to send money to Spain, Canada, the UK, or wherever else you’ve moved. If for whatever reason you decide you want to use your home debit/credit card for transactions abroad, make sure you tell your bank that you’ll be traveling — they may block the card as a preventive measure if not. 

Maintain Your Home Base (If Possible)

This option won’t be available to everyone, but if you’re in a position to retain your current home when you move abroad, then do so. You can rent the property while you’re not there, which can provide some welcome funds, and if for whatever reason your move doesn’t work out, you’ll know you can just slip back into your old life. 

Learn the Language

There’s an assumption that they speak English everywhere, but this isn’t the case. In most cities, it’s only in the tourist areas. For everything else, such as doctor appointments, you’ll probably need to have at least some grasp of the local language. So what’s the solution? Learn! There are thousands of resources for learning a new language, many of them free, and you won’t regret going through the awkward learning process. 

Managing Your Business/Career

If you’re retired, then this won’t count — but if you’re moving to another country while still retaining a job or business back home, then you’ll need to think about how you’ll manage things. This will be especially crucial if you’re moving to a different timezone than the one back home. There are thousands of people running their business/working at a company from a different country, so it’s definitely possible. You’ll just need to figure out how to manage it. There’s always a way!

Give it Time

Finally, remember that a bit of patience can go a long way, especially when you move abroad. The beginning stages will be exciting, but there’ll invariably come a point when you feel homesick and wonder what you’re doing. The key here is to simply give it time. Everyone feels that way at some point or another, but slowly but surely you’ll begin to feel that your new country really is your new home. 

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