Is living abroad for a year or moving overseas something you’ve been considering? If it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made – it was also a bit scary and overwhelming at first. To help you plan this new adventure, here’s a list of things to keep in mind before moving overseas.
You can also learn how to become an expat in this fun article by Western Union which includes some amazing tips.
Is your passport up to date?
Before you even begin packing to make the move abroad, make sure you’re legally able to board the plane! If you haven’t traveled in a while, pull that passport out of your drawer, clean off the dust and double check the expiration date. If your passport expires in less than 2 years and you’re not 100% sure how long you want to be abroad, go ahead and renew! Your passport is the most important thing you’ll own when you’re moving overseas. Don’t forget to pay close attention to the dates or the only place you’ll be moving to across the street, not across the world.
What’s your planning timeline?
An international move doesn’t happen overnight! I mean, maybe the actual flight happens overnight but the logistics sure don’t. Give yourself time to organize your life back home and your future move. Prepare your friends and family for the move while ensuring you’re completing everything on your moving abroad checklist (i.e. passport, vaccines, visas). The more in advance you plan, the more organized your move will be!
What will you do with your possessions?
Most likely, you’ve accumulated lots of “stuff” in your life. Sell off everything? Keep things in storage? An important fact of living abroad for a year or more is that everything you own will not be making the move with you. Maybe your parents or a friend has a closet they’re willing to let you store things in. If you have a car, consider selling it! Bedroom furniture, kitchen appliances, clothing items — go through it all and clean it out.
Where are you thinking of moving?
If you’re asking yourself “I want to move abroad where do I start?” chances are you already have a destination in mind. There’s a lot to consider when choosing which destination to settle down in. Consider questions like…
Do you need a visa?
If yes, how long are you able to stay in the country before having to leave? A country that only allows you to enter for 15 days may not be the best option for an international move. Visas are the gatekeepers into the country you wish to live in — don’t forget to look them up before booking the ticket!
What’s the cost of living like?
Your money will go further in some countries more than others. For example, lunch in Thailand will cost you about 2 dollars while lunch in Rio de Janeiro will set you back more like 8-10 dollars. Consider the cost of living and your budget before jet-setting!
Will I find a community of other expats?
You’ll quickly realize after you settle into your new home the importance of community and friendships. If you’re moving abroad alone, it’s important to consider if there will be opportunities to become friends with other expats or locals.
How will you support yourself abroad?
It’s all about the money, honey. Unfortunately, the entire world revolves around it — even small villages in the Philippines. Once you move abroad, how are you planning on continuing to live abroad? You can work online, teach English, move somewhere with a working holiday visa to support your living or survive on hostel and tourism jobs.
Are you willing to miss holidays and important life events because of your move?
Depending on how far away you move, it’s not likely you’ll have the time and finances to make the trip back home for every holiday. Moving abroad means missing out on important things back home. Birthday parties, weddings, holiday dinners….are all thousands of miles away. The reality is: your move abroad affects your loved ones back home. Are you willing to make sacrifices?