If you’re planning to move to another country, you’re likely pretty stressed about all the things you need to do before you leave home and become an expat. I’ve simplified it all for you a bit by providing you with a list of the 25 things you should do before you leave your country.
- Visit the country before you move there- I mean, you don’t have to do this, but it would help. I moved to both Germany and Costa Rica without visiting first, but I think adjusting to the culture would have been much easier if I had visited previously. Plus, I had no idea if I would even like the country I was moving to, although I think every country has its charms. 🙂
- Research visa requirements- This is so important! There’s no point of moving to a country that will be impossible for you to actually stay in.
- Apply for said visa if possible- I have never done this, but that is because I’ve never moved to a country where I needed a visa to enter. I have also never moved with a job already lined up. To me it sounds like such a luxury to move to a country with a visa in hand. If you have the option, do it!
- Research the cost of living- Every country is different, so it is important to research what areas you might save money and in what parts of your life you may end up spending more money than you are used to.
- Start saving your money- I recommend having AT LEAST $5,000 to take with you. You never know how long it will take to find a permanent job or place to live. The more money you can take with you, the better.
- Apply for a passport if you don’t have one, or check that your passport is good for at least 3 months. (read about my drama here)
- Find a place to stay (at least temporarily). You can read more about that here.
- Start searching for a job- If you are moving with a job already lined up that’s awesome! If not, start looking at your options. There are countless jobs you can do abroad. Check out our Work section for some tips and job ideas.
- Buy travel insurance (I like World Nomads. They cover everything (such as if all your belongings get lost in your suitcase in transit) and are really freaking awesome.
- Practice the language (read more here)
- Book your flight. Read more about that here.
- Cancel any accounts you don’t need. For example, your phone contract, bank account etc.
- Sell your house, cancel your rental contract, tell your parents your moving out.
- Sell everything in your home that you don’t need or find a place to store everything. Craigslist is probably your best bet for selling all your stuff.
- Get a good credit card to use abroad- I’d love to give you lots of advice about the best credit card to use, but I’m still searching myself. So, if you have any suggestions let me know!
- Get any shots you might need for your new country – It’s important to check what illnesses or diseases are prevalent in the country you’re moving to. There’s nothing worse than moving and getting horribly sick.
- Get your cell phone unlocked or buy a new unlocked phone. I personally am a fan of this one from Samsung. It takes amazing pictures (which you’re going to want to take good pictures when you’re living abroad.)
- Look into your banking options.
- Get a good suitcase. I recommend a hard cover one.
- Purchase things you might need.
- Spend lots of time with your family and friends. You don’t know how soon you’ll get to see them again.
- Get cash or traveler’s checks. I prefer cash. I’ve had drama with banks taking out a percentage of the value of the travelers checks.
- Make copies or bring originals of any important documents you need (birth certificate, university degree etc.)
- Have a big party to say bye to everyone before you move and start your new life!
Are you interested in moving abroad? Are you unsure where to begin? Do you have questions about the process? Please write to me in the comments below and I will help you as best as I can.
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