Moving to a different country can be very exciting. You are changing not only your town but going to a different country altogether. You are about to introduce yourself to a whole different culture, people and way of life. But in order to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible, there are a few things to keep in mind when moving abroad. 

Research your destination

Before you start making preparations for a long-distance move, make sure you do a thorough research on the place you are moving to. Start by reading a little bit about the country itself. What are the most peculiar customs? What is expected of you and is there anything that you need to keep in mind? Different things have different meanings across the world cultures. Nodding your head up and down means no in Bulgaria. Putting your thumb up when you want to hitchhike might be offensive in Turkey. Sitting too close to someone in a park in Finland also might be rude. So, when moving abroad, make sure you do your research and find out about all the subtle differences in cultures.
long-distance move

Researching about customs

Different lifestyles

There are also some differences in way of life and in a way of doing things. If you are moving to Europe you might find it hard to adjust to almost everyone driving cars with manual gears. Dates are also represented differently in Europe. While Americans use Month: Day: Year format, Europeans use Day: Month: Year. Make sure you don’t miss an important appointment just because of different date formats. Different countries use different electricity outlets so make sure you have all the necessary adapters. There are some great resources online to educate you about cultural differences that will help you adjust when moving abroad.


Make sure that there aren’t any vaccines that you need to take before moving and find out how the healthcare system works in your new country. Research if you will be needing any special insurance and documents to get a proper healthcare. Look up any American communities in your new country that might help you adjust to your new surroundings. There might be support groups, clubs and places when you can meet people that have already gone through all the adjusting. And they can help you make the transition easier.

Check all the necessary documents

Moving to a different country carries with it a lot of paperwork. Make sure that everything is in order or you might find yourself in a lot of trouble.
long-distance move

Check all the documents!

  • About a month before moving abroad make sure that your passport is up to date. You don’t want to find that out a few days before the move and not have enough time to extend it.
  • Visit your doctor and get all the necessary healthcare documents. It’s always a good idea to have your medical history with you when moving abroad. Just to be safe, it might not be a bad idea to make copies, just to be sure.
  • If needed get travelers insurance to avoid any medical bills in case you get sick or get into an accident.
  • Collect other important documents like birth and marriage certificates and carry them with you when you move. Again, make copies and store them in a safe place.
  • If you are taking your car with you, make sure that your driver’s license is up-to-date and that you will actually be able to drive with it in your new country of residence. Check your car insurance and make sure it covers you when moving abroad.
  • If you are taking your pet with you make sure it has all the necessary vaccines and that all the documents are in order.
  • Check all the tickets, reservations and bookings you might have. If you made online bookings make sure you print out everything and carry it with you.
If there is any other paperwork that you might need later, make sure you take care of it before moving. Getting documents like the birth certificate from abroad is a lot of hustle and usually costs a lot. So make sure you have everything with you before you move.

Get your affairs in order

Before moving abroad make sure that all your affairs in the states are in order. From little things to big stuff, make sure that you leave everything safe and sound. Let’s start with your home. If no one will be living in it after you move to make sure that you defrost your refrigerator and freezer. Make sure that the gas is turned off and that all the kitchen appliances are disconnected. Cancel your newspaper or milk deliveries, as well as any magazine or other subscriptions you might have. Disconnect your phone and internet connections. Arrange for all the utility and electricity meters to be read a few days before you move and pay all outstanding bills. Redirect your mail to your new address if possible and transfer or close all your bank accounts. If you plan on keeping some savings in the States make sure that the bank has your new address and a way to contact you. You can also fill out a ‘Not ordinarily resident’ form so you don’t have to pay taxes on your savings.

Prepare your stuff for moving abroad

First, make a list of all the things you will be taking with you when moving abroad. Label all the things that you will need to be shipped and disassemble all the large pieces of furniture. Make sure that your neighbors know that a local moving company will be coming to pick up your stuff, maybe even after you are gone. They will make sure that the driveway is accessible to moving trucks or vans.
local moving company

Packing your stuff safely for moving abroad

When packing stuff that you will be taking with you make sure that you have everything that you might need for the first few days in your new home. All the cables, chargers, adapters etc. Pack everything that you will absolutely need upon arrival.