I am a bit of an expert when it comes to packing up my life and moving country, even if I do say myself. This is my third stint abroad and along the way I have learnt through trial and error what you should do before moving abroad.
Here are the most important things to do before you make the big move.
#1 Research your destination. I know that this is very obvious, but make sure you know as much as you can. Research the neighbourhoods so you know where is good and bad to live. Research transportation to and from work. Research, research, research.
#2 Make sure your passport is up to date and get a visa if you need it. Another obvious one I know, but without an up to date passport and visa you aren’t going anywhere.
#3 Start saving money. The first month or so in your new country will be expensive. You will need two months rent at least. Before renting to you most landlords require a deposit equal to a month’s rent plus your first month’s rent.
For example if you are in Madrid you will need about €800 for the deposit and rent. Apart from rent you need money for an ikea shop, for living costs and a little extra for exploring your new city. Therefore for Madrid you will need at least €1,500 to be on the safe side.
#4 Buy insurance.
You know for those ‘what if’ situations and emergencies. If you don’t have insurance and something happens it could cost you a fortune. So its better to buy the insurance and save yourself hundreds later on.
#5 Pack any bags you need to send. I have never been able to move country with one suitcase, it’s impossible, well at least for me. I normally have to send a bag with my heavy winter stuff. In the long run it actually saves me money because to buy a winter coat is equal to the cost of sending (within Europe) the suitcase with my winter stuff. I use send my bag and I have never had any problems. They have always been quick (sometimes earlier than expected) and reliable.
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#6 Book your temporary accommodation for your arrival. Don’t agree to rent a place before arrival. I did this the first time I came to Spain and it actually worked ok, but this is not always the case. Therefore for the first days you will need somewhere to stay somewhere while you hunt for a flat. I have always stayed in a hostel, but airbnb is also a great idea. You can stay in one in your chosen neighbourhood and get a feel for it, as well starting to feel like a local.
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Disclaimer: I have not been asked to promote send my bag or airbnb. The links do earn me money off next time I use them, but they are part of their standard referral programme. All opinions stated are my own.
Have you got any other things to add? What did you do before moving abroad?