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Elfie PH

5 Important Things to Do Before Moving Abroad


Moving overseas is a thrilling journey, teeming with the promise of new experiences, cultures, and relationships. Nevertheless, relocation is not without its fair share of challenges and demands careful planning to ensure a seamless transition.

To help make things as hassle-free as possible, here are five crucial tasks you should focus on in the lead-up to your big move.

Downsize Your Belongings

No matter how Spartan your lifestyle, it’s going to be impossible to take everything you own with you to your new home abroad. But while the prospect of downsizing your possessions may seem intimidating, it can also be incredibly liberating. This task requires you to critically analyze your possessions and identify what's truly essential. Some items may hold sentimental significance, some may be practical, and some may simply be clutter.

As you embark on this process, consider the cost of shipping large items against their sentimental or financial value. If you find yourself struggling, the "one year rule" can serve as a helpful guideline for your downsizing efforts. Its concept is simple: get rid of any items you haven’t used in over a year, as chances are you don’t really need them.

Your best bet is to sell any items you no longer need at a yard sale or on an e-commerce platform like LookingFour, which allows you to conveniently buy and sell online. Reselling is an especially advantageous option for large items that are still in good enough shape to be used again, such as second-hand furniture and certain electronic devices. Other options include donating your possessions to local charities or finding ways to responsibly recycle them.

Determine What to Pack


Deciding what to pack for your international move goes hand-in-hand with downsizing. Start by researching the climate, cultural norms, and living conditions of your new country. This will guide your decisions about the clothing, household items, and personal necessities from home that you’ll need to take with you. For example, your extensive winter wardrobe may not be needed if you're moving to a place with a tropical climate. Conversely, your favorite snacks or personal care products may not be available in your new country, so it might be worth bringing a small supply until you find local alternatives.

As you evaluate your belongings and decide what to pack, remember that space in your luggage is limited. Prioritize essential items that are difficult to replace, such as prescription medications, glasses or contact lenses, and certain electronics. Finally, don't forget a few sentimental items, like family photos or small keepsakes, to make your new place feel like home right away.

Duplicate All Important Documents

It’s impossible to overstate how important it is to leave a clear paper trail when you move abroad. Make both digital and physical copies of all your most vital documents, which might include your:

  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Medical records
  • Academic records
  • Insurance policies

Keep hard copies in a safe but accessible location and ensure they're kept separate from your originals. You might consider a safe deposit box in your new country or leaving a set with a trusted person back home. As an additional safety measure, laminate any duplicates to protect them from water damage and other forms of wear and tear.

Having digital copies of your important documents can also be a lifesaver, and contemporary technologies have made making and storing these copies online easier than ever. Take advantage of cloud storage services or encrypted drives so that you can access your files from any device and location, whenever you need them.

Visit Your Doctor for a Checkup and Any Necessary Immunizations

As you get ready for your move abroad, it's easy for health considerations to fall by the wayside amidst logistical preparations. However, maintaining your health during this transition is paramount. Schedule a comprehensive check-up with your primary care physician to address any existing medical conditions. This way, you can be in the best of health before your move.

This is also the perfect time to discuss prescription medications. Certain medications might not be available where you’re moving, or they may have different names. Ask your doctor about the generic names of your medications and whether it's possible to get an extended supply before you leave.

Depending on local health risks, you may be required to receive specific immunizations before you’re able to enter some countries. Consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for specific travel-related health advisories, including vaccination requirements. Get your vaccinations as early as possible, as some need to be administered over a period of weeks or months.

Tie Up Loose Ends at Home

As you prepare for your move, it's crucial to close the book on certain obligations at home. Depending on what services you regularly use, you may have to accomplish the following:

  • Cancelling utilities such as gas, water, electricity, and internet, or asking your provider to transfer your service.
  • Cancelling streaming subscriptions, gym memberships, and the like.
  • Setting up mail forwarding to your new residence or the residence of a friend or relative at home.
  • Notifying your bank and credit card providers about your move and seeking financial advice about managing your money overseas if necessary.

Start working on these tasks ahead of time to prevent any unnecessary expenses or complications after you’ve left your home country. Bear in mind that some providers may require a notice period for cancellation.

Your move overseas represents a significant life change. Navigating this transition with thorough preparation and an open mind can turn what might seem a daunting task into an exciting new chapter in your life.

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