How to prepare for moving abroad

An expat moving abroad has a lot of things to consider and plan. It’s therefore important to start your planning as far in advance as you can to alleviate any potential issues. It is absolutely normal to become nervous before a move, so talking about any anxieties with loved ones will help to calm any nerves. There are numerous social media channels and websites with discussion forums that are solely dedicated to expats and people moving abroad. You should use these as much as possible to interact with other people that have also moved to your new country of choice.
Research as much as possible
It might sound obvious but it can’t be said enough; the more research that you can do, the better. Researching schools, sports clubs and social activities with your children will also help them to feel more relaxed about the move, as well as giving you a better understanding of what to expect when you get there. Other points to research that are sometimes overlooked, include: expected dress codes, daylight hours, public spaces and places to go for walks or bike rides. Finding local leisure spots will also help you to balance out the mundane and more serious parts of the move.
One of the key areas to research, is the type of visa that you will need to live and work in your new country of choice. This will vary depending on the country you are moving to and the proposed length of your stay.
Register with the British Embassy
Reading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website is highly advisable before moving abroad. It boasts a wealth of information regarding specific countries and steps to take in certain situations. From there you can also find the details of the British Embassy in the country that you are moving to. Quite often, the British Embassies will be on social media as well as sending out frequent email newsletters.
Visit the doctor
When moving to Europe, many places will not require any immunisations or vaccinations, however a trip to the doctor is highly advisable. At the least, you should get a health check-up before going. Informing your GP of your move in plenty of time will allow for enough time to get your required vaccinations planned and prepared. Depending on your country of destination, you may be required to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination with you when you travel. This is a record of all of your travel immunisations and is available from your doctor. It can often come in handy when applying for a visa.
Visit the vet
If you are planning on moving with a pet, you will be required to carry certain paperwork with you to prove that your pet is safe to travel and has had the relevant vaccinations and checks at the correct time. For more information on travelling with pets, read our guide to it here.
Learn the language
If you are moving to a country that has a different primary language to your own, taking a short course in the basics of the language will be a worthwhile investment. The more words and phrases that you can understand, the easier it will be to integrate within your new community, as well as making the move a little less stressful. Having an understanding of the language could also be a useful catalyst when meeting other expats, as it offers the opportunity to learn from others and helps other expats to learn from you.
Start a blog
Even if it is just for your own eyes (in the style of a journal), keeping a blog of your preparation, move and integration into your new country will help you to reflect on what you’ve achieved so far. Keeping a blog of your international move could also be useful to other would-be expats that are looking for some advice and pointers for their own move. Reading other people’s blogs can also give you ideas for preparation ideas that you may have missed.
Cadogan Tate is an expert in international removals, and when choosing to move abroad with Cadogan Tate, you will be assigned a Move Co-ordinator, who will be with you every step of the way. Amongst the documents we will provide you with, is a country fact sheet that will go into more detail about the logistics of moving to your chosen destination. To get in touch with Cadogan Tate about our international removals service, contact us.
Information correct at time of publication