Sometimes itchy feet get the better of us. It’s no bad thing to want to go off to explore the world and maybe live in another country for a while. You might have always dreamt of spending a few years working in Japan, soaking in the culture and living off your favourite food. Maybe the yearning for the serenity of a remote Asian island where you can relax, enjoying a different pace of life. You might want to experience the history and bustle of some of Europe’s oldest cities such as Paris, or Berlin. Maybe you are greedy, and you want to see and experience all of it. There is nothing wrong with that.
But before you rush to throw away your current life here, as ready as you may feel that you are right now, there are a few things that you do need to give serious thought to. Here are 7 things to do before moving overseas.
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Planning your adventure
You might feel like you know everything about your choice of destination, however, research is everything before moving overseas. Firstly, make sure you can actually live and work in the country. Most countries have visa restrictions, these might include what work you can do, if any, and how long you can stay. Visas can be costly and may take some time to obtain. You may also need to visit consulates in person in order to get your application processed. Plan as far in advance as possible, and if required, make phone calls and seek professional advice before submitting your application. Also, make sure your passport is up-to-date and has plenty of time left to run.
Knowing as much about the location you are going is important too. You will want to make sure that you are going somewhere safe and welcoming. Understanding the political climate of the country you intend to live in is very important. How do the locals view immigrants? What are the government of the country like, and are there likely to be any significant changes anytime soon. What is the healthcare like? And what are the options for health insurance?
You may need vaccinations too. Make sure you check with healthcare professionals as far ahead of time as possible to find out what you need and how soon before travelling you will need to get it.
Where to stay
You may be looking for a beautiful condo for rent in Kuala Lumpur (and for this you can find here a website to find a condo for rent in KL below RM1500), or you may have a plan to stay in a hotel or hostel while you find somewhere more permanent. Plan for everything to cost more than you expect. Allow for every eventuality. Moving into somewhere may get delayed or fall through, and you need to make sure that you have something to fall back on. Have back up options. If possible, make connections within the country so that you have a support network ready when you get there.
What to do with your current home and possessions
If you are moving overseas your possessions from home, work out a way of shipping them. Containers can be hired, and there are specialist removals firms who deal with long distance moves, but they are costly and take a lot of time and organization. Be prepared.
Another option you may wish to consider is to place all of your possessions in storage until you return. If you own your home and intend keeping it, you might want to rent this out or have a family member house-sit in your absence. This might save you on storage costs as long as it is somebody who you know you can trust.
If you plan on selling up before you move, make sure you allow plenty of time. Selling houses can be a long process, and it is not uncommon for sales to fall through too. Be realistic about how long it will take. Also, arrange to have a place to stay should the deal go through quicker than planned too.
Check Your Finances
If you have any debts that you are currently paying such as credit cards, mortgages or loans; speak with your bank to ensure that you can continue to repay these while you are out of the country.
If you are going to be relying on savings while you are living out of the country, check with your bank that you will be able to access them easily. It may be that you will need to look at alternative banking solutions.
Do some research into the cost of living. Don’t budget based on the prices back home. And don’t assume that if you are working in a similar job that the pay will be similar.
Obviously, a massive consideration for you will be whether you speak the local language. It would be wise to enrol in a class or take a Duolingo course to help at least learn the basics wherever you are moving overseas. You may want to take further classes when you arrive. Your ability to communicate will be very important, as moving somewhere new can often be an isolating experience. This would be much harder if there were a language barrier to contend with too.
It might be the dream moving somewhere hot when you have lived in a cold climate all of your life. But make sure and prepare yourself for any big changes. You might be inclined to want to tan immediately, but the risk of sunburn, heat-stroke and other illnesses brought on by high temperatures is very real; and the last thing you want when you first arrive is the stress of causing yourself to get ill.
Similarly, if you are moving to a colder climate or a mountainous area with lighter air; you will need to take precautions.
Once you have planned everything, got your finances and all of your travel documents in order it is finally time to leave. If you’re leaving a job, be sure and leave on good terms. You may be back home in the future needing a job that you have experience in; don’t burn your bridges, no matter how tempting it might be.