The decision has been made and the job offer accepted; you and your family are making the move to a new country to start a fresh expat life. If you’ve lived in or around London for all or most of your life, it can be a big change. Making the choice and finding the right place to relocate to is only the first step, as there is a lot to consider when it comes to packing up your UK life and moving hundreds, or thousands, of miles away.
For those making an international relocation from London, here are some of the key things to consider.
One of the hardest things to think about when relocating is deciding what to take with you to your new home. You will need to sort through your belongings and decide what to get rid of, what to keep in the UK in storage, what to distribute to family and friends to keep safe, and what to take with you.
This can be a painful process, as our belongings are often filled with good memories and reminders of our life in London. It can be particularly hard for children if they can’t take all of their toys and possessions with them.
In any case, once you have decide what you are taking with you and what you are storing, it’s time to organise an international removals service. This needs to be done plenty in advance to ensure that any paperwork can be filed, the correct insurance taken out, customs papers filled in and to allow enough shipping time for your items to reach their new destination.
This can be quite an overwhelming process, so it is worth finding a good removals service that operates out of London. They will know the area well and can organise the logistics of transporting goods from your home, particularly if it involves obstructing a road with a lorry for a short period of time, or if any items need particular care and attention. Find out more in our guide, What to consider when selecting your international removals company in London.
Your new location could be very different from London and it is good to be prepared for this. This is especially true if you are moving to a country where English is not the first language. London has plenty of language schools and courses, so it is easy to brush up on the lingo before the relocation, so that you can at least manage the basic day-to-day phrases.
You may also be moving to a quieter location and be more remote, which can take some getting used to. While many people purposely choose to leave the London life behind for a more peaceful way of life, if you’re used to the 24-7 culture, finding out that shops are closed on Sundays or public transport is less regular, can come as a bit of a shock. It helps if you can visit in advance for a holiday and get a taste of how life will be.
Conversely, it could be a bigger, more frantic city than London. You may be used to a large townhouse with outside space, but be moving to a city where everyone lives in relatively small apartment blocks with communal areas – this will force you to downsize your belongings, but also you may have to get used to having a little less space for a prime location.
If you have children who are at school in London, then continuity in their education is sure to be important to you. Luckily, most major cities around the world will have British and international schools, which can help your children to transfer easily and not miss out on important topics.
You may, however, wish them to experience a different education than the one they are used to in London. In this case, and if they are young enough to adapt, then the local state schools can be a good option. This way, they will integrate better into the community and meet children from their new area, as well as learn valuable skills in resilience and versatility.
There are plenty of practicalities to consider when making an international relocation from London, many of which are covered in our Master checklist for your relocation abroad.