Considering the struggle and preparation moving across the world requires, it’s certainly not a decision we often make. Leaving your comfort zone, embracing diversity, developing cultural sensitivity, and coping with great challenges are just the first few things that come to mind when starting afresh in a new place. However, many still decide to embark on such a journey because it’s the only way to escape their routine or pursue opportunities to grow.
Leaving your old home behind involves a lot more than packing your bags and getting on a flight. It’s not surprising if you’re wondering: How do you drop things and move across the world because there are things you should take into serious consideration beforehand. That’s why we’re here – to help you plan, organize, and accomplish one of the biggest life adventures.
#1 Find Out What the Best Countries for American Expats Are
Considering the fact there are more than 9 million Americans that have moved overseas, it’s no wonder if you’re not sure what the right place to call home would be. What you do know is that you need a safe place with a decent quality of life, not to mention access to the social and cultural life you’re curious about. So, if you’re interested in what countries meet these conditions and where American expats usually decide to move, here’s a quick list:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
With a contemporary on-to-go mentality and an increasing number of remote job opportunities, moving internationally is not a far-fetched idea. Also, if your golden years are near and you’re curious to know what it is like to live in Europe as an American, consider Italy, Spain, and Malta since they are referred to as some of the best places to retire in Europe. Also, with the U.S. STEP program, you’ll have all the up-to-date info and notifications on the country’s safety conditions.
#2 Research the Country You’re Relocating To
Depending on the location, some things have to be thoroughly checked before you start packing. Your life will certainly not be the same if you decide to move to Hawaii, for example, or to replant your roots in some of the best cities to live in Europe. No matter how far the place you’re going to is, it’s crucial to dedicate some of your time learning about its cultural practices and lifestyle. In case you’re making the adventure even more challenging by choosing a non-English-speaking country, learning the language and breaking the language barrier is something you’ll have to think about. At least if you want to make your adjustment process a bit less stressful.
Can I Just Move to Another Country?
Although it’s not impossible to move abroad alone without much fuss, learning about the norms and regulations before relocating is much smarter than figuring them out the hard way. Sometimes, packing your bags and avoiding all the preparatory steps might seem like the best solution to make a fresh start, but even the most spontaneous person will face plenty of difficulties that way.
No Matter How Prepared, Get Ready for Culture Shock
The process of leaving your friends and family and acclimatizing to an unfamiliar environment is never simple. Living overseas like a local doesn’t happen overnight because the homesickness and emotional rollercoaster you’re about to feel will slow down the process of adjusting to a new country. This process is also known as culture shock, and it’s a very common occurrence, no matter how prepared you are.
You can’t expect that relocating to the Bahamas or being brave enough to move to Seoul will be easy. At least not in the beginning. Don’t be scared if you feel some of the common symptoms as a result of a change you’re going through:
- Feelings of loneliness and vulnerability,
- You find it difficult to share how you feel,
- Feeling lost and overwhelmed with problems,
- Insomnia or too much sleep,
- Fantasizing about going back home.
Keep in mind that your emotions are intensified because you’re stressed. At one point, you’ll start to feel comfortable again. Here, it is vital to remember to keep in touch with friends. Share your feelings with them, because they can give you comfort and encourage you not to give up when times are hard.
To hear some other people’s experiences on adapting to a new culture, check out the video below.
#3 Tips on Making a Budget on Time and Start Saving Money
If you’re wondering How much does it cost to move across the world, one thing is certain – depending on the distance you’re traveling and the transportation method you chose – you’re going to spend some big bucks. That’s precisely why planning your budget should be part of your relocating abroad checklist.
Start saving early enough because your savings might not be worth the same everywhere. You don’t even have to move to understand that the costs of living in Vancouver can’t be the same as the costs of living in Hawaii. However, the website Numbeo can help you compare the quality of life between cities to the tiniest details so that you can prepare adequately.
#4 Start Searching for a Job Way Before the Relocation Day
Arming yourself with a job lined up is always a wise move when planning to live within international borders. The question is, how early is early enough to start looking for employment opportunities? Of course, the time required to find the job you want will depend on your competencies and patience. Take the demand for your skills into account, since it’s one of the deciding factors, as well. These are all excellent reasons to start digging into the job market and check websites with job opportunities available in your future location.
#5 Apply for the Right Visa
When it comes to relocating abroad, the fact is that not every country has the same visa requirements. To be sure you’ve prepared yourself properly for future travel, it’s vital to look into your visa options and apply for the right one. Since the application process may take some time – up to six months, to be precise – try not to procrastinate and start gathering the paperwork needed to complete the application successfully.
Moving Across the World Tips: Don’t Forget to Renew Your Passport Before Travel
To start anew someplace else, don’t forget all the documents needed to travel abroad. Your passport might be the most important one of them because you have to check if there’s a need to apply for a renewal. Keep the renewal processing duration in mind and expect to wait for it for up to eight weeks. The process itself is quite simple. Just fill out the DS-82 form, and send it with the rest of the application materials (newest photo, old passport, and a check) by mail.
Besides a passport, don’t forget all other relevant documentation: driving license, medical records, academic records, birth and marriage certificate, financial records, work permit, and proof of residence.
#6 Check Both the Company and Relocation Quotes When Moving Across the World
Profound life decisions like leaving your homeland should be made on your own. However, there’s no need to go through the relocation process by yourself. An international moving company is your main helper because they can take over the entire organization and provide you with a wide range of affordable international moving services that will undoubtedly save you a lot of time and energy. Professional packing is only one of them.
Make sure to compare the relocation rates before hiring anyone. This is a great moment to ask movers about the things you’re not sure about. When there are years of experience to rely on, there’s no such thing as a tricky question. Whether you need some tips on moving to Canada with pets or maybe advice on what to pack when relocating abroad, do not hesitate to ask them.
Take Shipping Costs Into Account, Too
Changing your address implies many things, from shipping your car overseas to figuring out budget-friendly, but still safe solutions to have all your possessions with you again. Soon enough, there will come a moment when you’ll have to think about the auto transport service options that suit you best. Remember that hiring a company that can handle the full package is sometimes the most convenient option since you’ll be spending way less than you would on individual services.
#7 Get Rid of Everything You Don’t Need Anymore Before Packing Your Home
This one might indeed appear intimidating when you have responsibilities lined up, all of them equally important. On the other hand, there will not be a better time than this to eliminate all the unnecessary items. All the more reason if you’re relocating for love because you’re not the only one with belongings. So avoid waiting for the last minute to start purging your home and eliminate non-essentials. If you’re not exactly sure what to do with items you’re emotionally attached to, a reliable storage service will do the trick.
#8 Take Care of Your Bank Account Beforehand
It’s well known that one of the biggest relocation mistakes you can make when leaving your homeland is closing your bank account. There are plenty of good reasons why you should keep it, but knowing nothing or very little about banking in the place you’re going to is definitely one of them. Also, you don’t want to go through all the difficulties of reopening your credit and debit accounts upon returning to the U.S. Reach out to your banking representative and discuss special fee-free services in case of relocating overseas.
#9 Do Not Leave Without a Party
Reaching the finish line without throwing a good party is no way to say goodbye. Just like you found time to organize everything down to the tiniest detail, adding some fun to your relocation plan is also something to think about. That way, you’ll get a break from preparations, but more importantly, you’ll have a good time with the people you love.
Being sad is inevitable, but seeing the positive sides is necessary since it will encourage you and help you cope more easily with the next part of the journey. Nobody wants to remember a pile of boxes and clutter as their last memory from their hometown. But remembering your loved ones? That’s an entirely different story.
Is Moving to Another Country Worth It?
No matter how hard leaving the familiar environment might be, it’s also the moment when the magic starts to happen. Parting with the things we’re used to, the people we know, the places we love, and the routines we have is the very beginning of creating something entirely new. Whether you name it, an adventure or a challenge – or both – pushing our boundaries is what expands our horizons. Sure, moving across the world can be scary because it means starting from scratch. But if you are persistent enough, it also means growth and resilience. And these are far more important than a comfort zone.