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Ultimate Moving Abroad Checklist for Expats: 33 Tasks

Table of Contents

Are you thinking of moving to a new country? If so, there are a few things you need to take into account before making the move.

I’ve moved to 8 different countries in the last decade. Every time I’ve moved, there were some things that I had to do before leaving.

I had to figure that out for myself. Cause many moving abroad checklists really weren’t applicable, or only talked about moving somewhere new permanently.

But sometimes I’ve moved abroad to study or with the plan to country hop.

Those checklists just weren’t right.

So I’ve designed a moving abroad checklist that works for everyone. Whether you’re moving abroad for a month, a semester, a year, or forever, you can use this checklist to keep yourself on track before you leave.

I’ll help get you from planning to moving to settling in below.

Let’s dive into the ultimate moving abroad checklist so you can start prepping for your adventure!

When you’re ready to move abroad, find the cheapest flights with this tool.

Moving Abroad Checklist Overview

  1. Research Cost of Living
  2. Apply for the Right Visa
  3. Keep Passport Up to Date
  4. Visit the Location Before Moving
  5. Sell or Rent Your Home
  6. Set a Budget and Emergency Fund
  7. Make Arrangements for Pets
  8. Schedule Doctor’s Appointments and Get Prescriptions
  9. Take Language Lessons
  10. Find Housing Abroad
  11. Research Schools and Childcare
  12. Book Travel
  13. Gather All Important Documents
  14. Downsize and Sell Items Before Moving
  15. Decide What to Pack/Not to Pack
  16. Review Tax Requirements
  17. Set Up Bank Account
  18. Buy Expat Travel Insurance
  19. Forward Your Mail
  20. Sell Your Car
  21. Gather Essential Documents
  22. Cancel Memberships and Subscriptions
  23. Book Temporary Housing
  24. Tell People You’re Moving
  25. Finish Your Packing
  26. Put Important Documents in Your Carry On
  27. Buy Adapters
  28. Tell Friends and Family Your New Address
  29. Meet Locals and Expats
  30. Get SIM Card Abroad
  31. Set Up Utilities and Internet
  32. Go on Tours
  33. Register to Vote From Abroad
Woman sitting overlooking the sea while working as a digital nomad at her laptop and phone after moving abroad.

Everything You Need to Know Before Moving Abroad

Moving abroad is an amazing experience. It’s a chance to learn about a new culture, meet new people, and see the world.

But it’s not always easy. There are a lot of things to take into account before making the move.

You have to figure out how you’re going to get your belongings to your new country, where you’re going to live, and what you’re going to do when you get there.

That’s why it’s important to start planning well in advance. The more preparation you do, the less stress you’ll have when it comes time to move.

I’ll be honest, I’ve often dived into moving to a new country with little to no understanding of how hard it would be to settle in. And, guess what, those experiences often didn’t go great.

Sometimes I was able to settle into living abroad quickly, but that was usually when I was on a study abroad program, where most of the hard details were figured out in advance for me by my school.

An international move sounds fun, but it does take work.

I’m not trying to dissuade you, as I believe everyone should live abroad at least once in their life – and never wait to retire abroad before taking the leap!

But you will need to do some planning. At the very least, you need to plan where to go!

That’s where this checklist comes in. I’m not just telling you to fill out some overseas checklist on things you want to do there. I’m telling you the things I’ve done that have helped me prepare to live abroad and the things I wish I’d done for many of my experiences.

Follow this easy checklist and you’ll have an amazing experience loving overseas!

Get Your Moving Abroad Checklist and Packing List Now!

Moving Abroad Checklist: Planning Your Move

1. Research Cost of Living

One of the most important things to research before moving abroad is the cost of living. In some countries, like the United States, it can be expensive to live. In others, like Thailand, it’s much cheaper.

You need to know how much you’ll need to budget for your new home. This includes your rent or mortgage, food, transportation, and utilities.

If you’re moving abroad while you still need to work, this can help you determine whether or not a country is within your budget, or whether you may need to find new types of work to afford it.

For example, when I moved to the UK, I knew I’d need to up my salary from my part-time freelance work to afford a flat in Oxford or London.

However, when I was living in Benissiva in Spain, I knew that working 1 day a week with my volunteer work was more than enough to live comfortably.

If you’re moving to a country with a different currency, you’ll also need to do some research on the exchange rate. This will help you figure out how much money you’ll need to save up to bring with you.

Visa stamps on a passport with small figurines of travellers pushing luggage on luggage carts. Layered over a passport to represent moving abroad and needing a visa.

2. Apply for the Right Visa

Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a visa before moving abroad.

If you’re from a Commonwealth country, you can study abroad in other Commonwealth countries for up to 6 months without a visa. But if you plan to work, you will need to apply for some form of visa.

Most Schengen Area countries, like France and Spain, require that all visitors who plan to work have a visa (unless they have an EU passport).

Other countries, like the United States, allow citizens of certain countries to visit without a visa. But if you plan to live, work, or study, you will need a visa.

Be sure to research the visa requirements for your destination country well in advance. This will help ensure that you have enough time to apply for the right visa.

Some visas have entry requirements as well, such as having a specific job, making a certain income, or passing certain background checks. Take the time to ensure you meet these requirements so you don’t slow down your application process.

Do Digital Nomads Need Visas?

It depends!

Many countries, like Mexico, now offer digital nomad visas.

However, I know a lot of digital nomads who operate without visas. They do this by staying on tourist visas and leaving the country periodically for travel when their visa would expire, then returning after a week or two.

Or they travel so often that they only stay for small amounts of time that enable them to travel on a tourist visa.

If you’re planning to be a stationary digital nomad for a long period, such as a year, you’ll want to look into digital nomad visas.

The perk of a digital nomad visa is that it allows you to rent an apartment, rather than staying in an expensive Airbnb or Vrbo accommodation.

You will need to pay some level of taxes, which is why many digital nomads try to avoid this. But I see the taxes as a way of investing in the area you’re residing in, so I actually recommend that people get the visa and help out the local economy by paying taxes.

3. Ensure Your Passport is Up to Date

Your passport is also important to check before moving abroad. Most countries require that your passport be valid for at least 6 months after your arrival date.

If you need to renew your passport, be sure to do so well in advance of your move. This can take several weeks, depending on your country of residence.

You’ll also likely have to turn in your passport for a period of this process, which means you’ll be grounded for a few weeks or months in your country.

Plan accordingly!

4. Consider Visiting the Location

If you’re not sure if you want to move to a certain country, you can always visit first.

Many countries offer tourist visas that allow visitors to stay for up to 90 days.

This is a great way to get a feel for the country and see if it’s the right fit for you.

I’ve mostly moved abroad to places I’ve never been before.

I moved to a small town in Italy after visiting Rome for two weeks – which had literally zero indication of what small-town life is like.

I moved to New Zealand, Germany, Spain, and more without ever having set foot in the countries!

It’s definitely not a requirement to visit first, but if you plan to buy a property or emigrate fully, it’s probably a good idea to check out the area before committing.

When you’re ready to move abroad, find the cheapest flights with this tool.

Moving Abroad Checklist: 60 Days Before You Move

5. Sell or Rent Your Home

If you’re selling your home, you’ll need to start the process months before you move.

This will give you enough time to list your home, find a buyer, and complete the sale.

However, in the 60 days before you move, you’ll want to ensure that you have the sale process on its way to completion with monies in escrow or a closing date on the books.

If you’re renting your home, you’ll need to start looking for a tenant 60 days before your move. This will give you enough time to find a tenant and complete the lease agreement.

You can rent your home easily on Kijiji in North America. Other countries have similar rental listing sites.

Otherwise, consider going through a real estate agent or a property manager, who can also do all necessary maintenance with you out of the country.

6. Set a Budget

Once you know how much it will cost to live in your new country, you need to set a budget. This includes your monthly expenses as well as one-time costs, like moving expenses and visa fees.

Be sure to account for cultural differences in your budget. In some countries, groceries are more expensive than in others. And in some countries, you can expect to pay more for a night out on the town.

I always budget for the first two months in a new country, with the pessimistic idea that I won’t have a job for those two months.

It sounds like a debby downer approach, but when I moved to New Zealand, it did take me two months to find work, as I travelled for a month and then found out the country closes down for Christmas.

You’ll feel safer in a foreign country if you have a financial plan ready.

That being said, you can also move abroad with almost no money. I’ve done it before, too! But you’ll feel more pressure to find work quickly or accept work that you don’t love.

It’s all about compromise.

Emergency Fund

Always have an emergency fund when you move abroad.

This should be able to pay for a return flight to your home country, a month worth of food, or an unexpected bill.

I would recommend having at least $2,000 USD equivalent saved up for such an occasion.

You may never need it, but it’ll help you to feel in control when things aren’t settled yet.

Brown and black dachshund dog in a cardboard moving box

7. Make Arrangements for Your Pets

If you have pets, you’ll need to make arrangements for them before you move.

This includes finding a pet-friendly country, getting your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date, and making flight arrangements for them.

Moving a pet abroad is more work than just going by yourself, so plan accordingly.

It’s best to start making these arrangements at least two months before you move.

You can also consider hiring a pet-sitter to take care of your pet while you’re gone, though this can be costly.

In some rare cases (I almost never approve of this), you may need to rehome your pet. For example, if you have a dog who is 19 and not healthy enough to travel, look into family members or friends who may be willing to take care of them.

Medications and Immunizations

If you’re moving to a new country, your pet’s vaccinations might not be up-to-date.

And if you’re moving to a country with different diseases, you’ll need to get new immunizations.

Check with your veterinarian to see what needs to be done and start making appointments as soon as possible.

Many vaccinations require multiple doses and can take weeks or months to complete, so don’t wait until the last minute.

8. Schedule Doctor’s Appointments and Get Prescriptions

If you have any ongoing health issues, you’ll need to get those taken care of before you leave.

This includes scheduling doctor’s appointments and getting prescriptions filled.

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for this, as many doctors are not going to squeeze you in just because you’re moving.

I always get 3-6 months of my medications when I move abroad. I also ask for a copy of my medical history if I plan to be abroad for over a year and will need to find another doctor abroad.

Having your medical records and prescriptions sorted will make it easier to get your health needs set up when living abroad.

Orange and white pills falling from a prescription pill bottle on a tangerine background to represent the medicines you need to pack to move abroad

How to Pack Medications

If you’re moving medications with you, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, always check the customs regulations of your new country. Some countries will not allow you to bring in prescription drugs without a prescription from a doctor in that country.

Second, pack your medications in their original containers. This will make it easier to show customs officials what you’re bringing in.

And finally, pack a copy of your prescriptions in case you lose your medication or they get confiscated by customs.

I always pack a month’s worth of my prescriptions in my carry-on, just in case my luggage gets lost.

Proper Vaccinations

Just like your pet, you’ll need to get vaccines too.

This usually includes a tetanus shot, hepatitis A and B shots, and a rabies shot.

Some countries will also require you to get typhoid and malaria shots.

Check the health section of your new country’s embassy website for more information.

9. Take Language Lessons

If you’re not fluent in the language of your new country, it’s a good idea to take some language lessons before you go.

Even if you’re only going for a few months, it’ll make life much easier.

Plus, many language schools offer intensive courses that will help you get up to speed quickly.

I like to learn basic phrases in the local language so you can interact with locals and easily ask questions (like where’s the bathroom) when needed.

Need help learning a new language? I recommend iTalki! I’ve tried ALL the apps, but iTalki is the only way I’ve managed to learn as much as living in the local country.

Husband and wife hanging a picture in their new home surrounded by moving boxes and their child

10. Searching for Housing Abroad

Unless you’re lucky enough to have family or friends in your new country, you’ll need to find housing when you move.

This can be a daunting task, but there are a few ways to make it easier.

Use Housing Websites

There are many websites that specialize in housing abroad.

These websites usually have listings for apartments, houses, and rooms for rent.

They also usually have information about the cost of living in different areas and what type of visa you’ll need to live there.

Keep in mind that most of these websites are in English, so if you don’t know English well, you may have difficulty using them.

Check with Your Employer

If you’re moving to a new country for work, your employer may have already arranged housing for you.

This is especially common in larger cities.

Look for Housing through Friends or Family

If you have friends or family in your new country, they may be able to help you find housing.

This is especially helpful if you don’t know the language of your new country.

Visit the Area Before You Move

One of the best ways to find housing is to visit the area before you move.

This will give you a chance to see what different areas of the city are like and find an area that fits your budget and needs.

It will also help you meet locals and get a feel for the culture of your new country.

Get Temporary Housing

Rent a place for a month or two so you know that you have somewhere to live once you arrive.

This is a good option if you’re not sure how long you’ll be in your new country.

Many people use Airbnb or Vrbo for this, but there are also many websites that specialize in temporary housing.

Get a homestay with Vrbo!

11. Research Schools and Childcare

If you have children, you’ll need to research schools and childcare options in your new country.

This can be a daunting task, but it’s important to get it done early so you can plan ahead.

Moving Abroad Checklist: 30 Days Before You Move

12. Book Your Travel

If you’re not driving, book your flights or train tickets to your new country.

This will give you a better idea of when you’ll be arriving and how much money you’ll need to budget for travel.

Some people book much further in advance, but by 30 days from your move, you must have a ticket ready.

When I moved to New Zealand, I needed to have my ticket purchased when I did my visa application. If this is the case, you’ll definitely need to purchase your flight a few months before leaving.

When you’re ready to move abroad, find the cheapest flights with this tool.

Map spread out beneath sunglasses and a passport, important documents for moving abroad

13. Gather All Important Documents

Make sure you have all of your important documents ready to go.

This includes your passport, visa (if you already have one), birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), adoption papers (if applicable), and any other documents the embassy may require.

Scan these documents and put them in a safe place so you can access them easily.

I always carry them in a file folder that I can easily pull out of my purse at customs.

Make multiple copies of things like your visa and proof of income (if needed), as you may need to give these forms to authorities.

14. Downsize Your Stuff Before You Move Abroad

It’s likely that you won’t need as much stuff in your new country.

Sell, donate, or throw away anything you don’t need.

This will help make your move easier and less expensive.

My first time moving abroad, I packed two suitcases full of clothes and random items for a 3 month move.

A few years later, I moved to New Zealand with 8 shirts total.

You learn very quickly that you don’t need much, and oftentimes it’s more expensive than it’s worth to move items overseas with you.

Boxes packed and taped, ready to move abroad

Store, Ship or Sell Your Stuff

Ask yourself if you plan to move back. If so, it may be worth it to store your items.

I’ll be honest, when I did this, my stuff sat in storage for a year wasting my money before I ultimately sold it because I wasn’t coming back.

Alternatively, find an international moving company to ship your items abroad.

This can be expensive, but it may be worth it if you know you have things you need or that you treasure.

The last option is to sell your stuff.

This is the quickest and easiest way to get rid of your extra belongings, but you may not get a lot of money for them.

I’ve sold furniture on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace, sold things to friends, and sold clothes on Poshmark. Then I donated anything I couldn’t sell.

This helps you downsize and get rid of old things you’ve been hoarding for years that you don’t use.

Choose a Moving Company

If you’re not moving yourself, you’ll need to choose a moving company.

Do your research and get quotes from a few different international moving companies.

Be sure to read reviews online before choosing one.

Honestly, I’ve never needed to move my stuff overseas as I’ve always just sold it all or stored it. If I needed to bring it with me, I fit it in my suitcase.

If it was super special, I might ask some family members to hold onto it.

You’ll want to compare ratings, figure out how long it takes for the items to arrive, and ensure that they can insure your items.

Floral suitcase with pink clothing, blue floral shoes, and a pair of sunglasses stacked on top all packed for moving abroad

15. Decide What to Pack (and What Not to Pack)

We’re not packing yet!

This is the pre-packing phase where you plan out what you want to bring with you.

This comes hand in hand with deciding what to keep/sell.

To help make it easier for you, I’ve designed a moving abroad packing list for expats and travellers to you can make sure you have all of the items you need to live abroad happily.

And so, unlike me, you don’t pack a suitcase full of chachkis you don’t need!

Moving Abroad Packing Checklist

Need help packing to move abroad? Get a copy of my Moving Abroad Packing List for free!

This checklist will make it so easy to plan what to bring abroad with you.

16. Review Your Tax Requirements

Taxes suck.

They suck more when you move abroad.

You’ll need to figure out the tax laws in your host country before moving.

Do you need to get a tax number? If so, how do you go about getting it? Do you need this number to open a bank account? Will you need to file two tax returns when you live abroad?

These are all questions you’ll need to figure out.

Most countries do require you to get a tax number. You usually need a visa first, but not an offer of employment.

Then you’ll need this tax number to get a bank account.

Depending on the tax treaty that your country has with the host country, you may be responsible for two returns.

The United States specifically requires a tax return for its citizens, even if you’re living abroad.

You’ll also want to research the tax status and tax liabilities you’ll have in the new country.

There are tax agencies that can help you with this.

Personally, I just look at the internal revenue service equivalent in the country and do my own digging. It makes it easy to know your tax obligations and the local laws for finance purposes.

17. Sort Out Your Banking at Home and Abroad

Again, this can be a bit of a pain in the butt.

You’ll need to close out your old bank accounts and open new ones in the host country. (This is only if you’re moving abroad permanently, otherwise keep your home bank accounts!)

Be sure to research what type of banking is available in the host country.

Some countries have very limited banking options or it may be difficult to get a local account without a residency visa. For example, student visas often don’t qualify for a local bank account.

You’ll also want to research what the bank fees are like and if there are any minimum balance requirements.

You can use your home bank account and credit cards but you’ll end up incurring foreign transaction fees. It’s better to get a local bank account and to send existing money with an international wire transfer.

Get the lowest conversion fees with!

Tell Your Bank and Credit Cards You’re Moving Abroad

If you don’t tell your bank and credit card companies, they may freeze your account when foreign transactions start popping up.

Plus, it’s just good to have someone on the other end who knows what’s going on in case something happens with your cards or accounts.

You don’t have to do this but it will make life much easier down the line.

The best way to get an easy, no-hassle international bank account is with You can sign up in minutes for a free multi-currency account that works in tandem with their multi-currency debit card.

I wish I’d done this rather than going through the hassle of opening up a UK bank account – which took 4 months of hell to get sorted.

You can also send cheap international money transfers to yourself through Wise, so you can ensure you have money ready in the local currency when you arrive!

Get the lowest conversion fees with!

18. Purchase Travel Insurance

This is a must, especially if you’re not a citizen of the host country.

You never know what could happen while you’re abroad and medical bills can add up quickly.

Plus, many travel insurance policies also cover trip cancellations and lost luggage.

It’s worth it to have peace of mind while you’re exploring the world.

Best Travel Insurance for Moving Abroad

My favourite international health insurance and travel insurance comes from Safety Wing. I’ve used them for years and have never had an issue.

They offer great plans for people who are travelling or living abroad, and you can even purchase coverage while you’re already on your trip.

My favourite thing about Safety Wing is that when you’re living in countries that don’t have adequate medical facilities, they will help you find suitable hospitals or doctors for your needs. They may even send them to you for a house call!

I highly recommend checking them out if you’re in need of some travel insurance!

👉 Find out how much it costs to protect your trip today with Safety Wing travel insurance.

Red post box for mailing with a green hedge behind it in the countryside abroad

19. Forward Your Mail

This is an easy one that can be done quickly.

Simply forward your mail to your new address before you leave.

All you have to do is contact the post service to set up mail forwarding to your new mailing address. This can often be done online or at the post office in a few minutes.

20. Sell Your Car

If you’re moving abroad permanently, it’s probably best to sell your car.

It will just be an extra hassle to try and transport it there.

Plus, you can make a little money off of it!

There are plenty of websites and classifieds where you can sell your car.

I would most often use Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace for this, but vehicle-specific sites like Cars Direct also work well.

21. Gather Essential Documents

This is something you’ll want to do before you leave, just in case you need them while you’re abroad.

Pack a copy of your passport, visas, driver’s license, and any other important documents in your luggage.

You can also scan these documents and email them to yourself or save them to a cloud storage site.

I always have them in a folder easily accessible when I am relocating overseas. Then you can hand them over quickly whenever it’s needed.

22. Cancel Memberships and Subscriptions

This is an easy one to forget but it’s important!

Cancel memberships and subscriptions to magazines, newspapers, gyms, etc. before you leave.

You don’t want to be paying for something you’re not using and you don’t want any extra bills piling up while you’re abroad.

Things to cancel:

  • Rental insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Gym membership
  • Local phone and TV plans
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Newspaper subscriptions
  • Any other subscriptions you have

23. Book Temporary Housing

If you don’t already have a place to stay when you move abroad, book some temporary housing.

This can be a hotel, Airbnb, or even a hostel.

It’s always good to have a place to go when you first arrive and it can help take some of the stress out of moving.

Get a homestay with Vrbo!

24. Notify People of Your Move

This is probably one of the most important things to do when moving abroad.

Make a list of all the people you need to notify of your move – family, friends, colleagues, etc.

Then send them all an email or message with your new contact information.

It’s also a good idea to post it on social media after the move.

This way, everyone knows where to find you and how to get in touch.

Moving Abroad Checklist: 1 Week Before you Move

Packed moving boxes on a skip being put on a moving truck to go overseas

25. Finish Packing

This is the last week to pack up all your belongings!

Make sure you have everything packed and ready to go.

This will help minimize stress when it comes time to move.

Refer to the moving abroad packing list I designed to help ensure you have everything you need ready to go!

Make packing easier by pre-ordering all your moving supplies here.

26. Pack Important Documents in Your Carry On

This is something you’ll want to do in case your luggage gets lost or delayed.

Pack a copy of your passport, visas, driver’s license, and any other important documents in your carry-on.

27. Ensure You Have Necessary Adapters

If you’re moving to a country that uses a different type of plug than your home country, make sure you have the necessary adapters.

You can buy these adapters at most electronics stores or online.

Have one ready for arrival so you don’t have a dead phone on your first day abroad.

I always use this universal adapter!

Moving Abroad Checklist: In the New Country

28. Tell Friends and Family Your New Address

It can be hard to keep in touch with everyone when you move abroad, but it’s still important.

Make sure to tell your friends and family your new mailing address so they can send you cards, letters, and packages.

You’ll also want to set up mail forwarding with your postal service from your home country.

Three female friends laughing as they walk along the boardwalk as expats

29. Meet Locals and Expats

One of the best ways to get settled into a new country is to meet locals and expats.

There are plenty of groups on social media and in-person where you can do this.

This is a great way to make friends, learn about the culture, and find out where the best places are to eat and hang out.

My favourite way to meet people abroad is through You’ll find groups and clubs that are free to join and are built around your specific interests.

30. Get a New SIM Card

This is something you’ll want to do as soon as possible after arriving in your new country.

Get a new SIM card and have it activated.

This will give you a local phone number and allow you to use data and minutes.

It’s also a good idea to get a plan that includes international calling so you can still call home.

Alternatively, get one with a lot of data for Facetime/Whatsapp.

31. Set Up Utilities and Internet

This is something you’ll also want to do as soon as possible after you move into a home abroad.

Set up utilities like water, electricity, and internet.

You can usually do this online or by calling the utility company.

It’s a good idea to have all of these set up before you arrive so you don’t have to worry about it when you first get there.

However, since most people stay somewhere else before committing to a home, you can get this sorted once you arrive. You often need to be on-site for anything to be set up, anyways.

Woman with blonde hair and a backpack smiling at the colosseum abroad

32. Be a Tourist

Even though you’re living in a new country, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a tourist.

There are probably plenty of places you want to see and things you want to do.

Make a list of all the sights and attractions you want to visit and put them in order of priority.

Then, start planning out trips and make sure to include weekends so you can have time to explore.

This is a great way to get to know your new home country.

Find the best local tours with this search engine (and the best deals)!

33. Register to Vote from Abroad

If you’re eligible to vote in your home country, make sure you register to vote from abroad.

You can usually do this online or by contacting your local elections office.

This is important because your voice will still be heard even though you’re not physically there.

Plus, it’s a great way to feel connected to home.

Don’t Forget Your Moving Abroad Checklist!

Common Mistakes Expats Make When Moving to Another Country

Thank you written in multiple languages on a sheet of paper. It's good to learn new languages when you move abroad.

Not Learning the Language

One of the biggest mistakes expats make when moving to a new country is not learning the language.

Even if you’re only going to be there for a short time, it’s important to learn at least the basics.

You’ll be able to get around better, make friends, and understand what’s going on around you.

Need help learning a new language? I recommend iTalki! I’ve tried ALL the apps, but iTalki is the only way I’ve managed to learn as much as living in the local country.

Not Adapting to the Culture

Another big mistake is not adapting to the culture.

Even if you don’t agree with everything, it’s important to try and understand the culture.

This will make your time there much more enjoyable and you’ll be able to integrate better.

Not Getting a Local Phone Number

Another mistake is not getting a local phone number.

This will make it harder for people to get in touch with you and you’ll miss out on some of the best parts of living abroad.

Even as a student studying abroad, having a local number made my life so much easier. Get a pay as you go SIM card with lots of data so you can also call home.

Not Planning Ahead

Another mistake expats make is not planning ahead.

This can lead to a lot of stress and you might not get to do everything you want to.

Make sure to plan out your trips, set up utilities and internet, and meet people in your new country.

Not Being Prepared for Bureaucracy

Moving abroad isn’t all fun and games. You need to figure out a new financial institution, insurance provider, overseas moving companies within your budget, tax laws, and legal documents for your new home.

It takes a while to settle into a country, so be prepared for a couple of months of paperwork and planning.

Not Budgeting for Living Expenses

People move abroad all the time expecting that it’ll be cheaper than their current country. But if you haven’t checked that before you go, you may end up somewhere that’s more expensive.

Be sure you know what it costs to live abroad before you do it!

Woman in a brown hat overlooking a winding road through the desert abroad.

Assuming They Can Drive

Some countries require an international driving permit to drive there. So if you’re used to driving everywhere, be sure to check the driving laws in your new country.

Looking to get around via car? Find the cheapest car rentals here!

Not Updating their Resume

Every country has a different resume and cover letter style.

Be sure to update yours before job hunting abroad.

I recommend this platform to find jobs as a foreigner.

Wrap Up: Moving Abroad Checklist

I hope you found this article to be helpful and informative.

When it comes to moving abroad, the list of things that need to be done can seem daunting but there are a lot of great resources available for expats who want to make their move as smooth as possible.

You’ll love living abroad, as long as you’ve set yourself up for success by following this moving overseas checklist.

Prepare ahead of time. Be sure you are a packing minimalist. And finally, don’t forget to budget for living expenses – you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you can’t afford to live in your new country.

Post any questions about an international move in the comments!

Moving abroad? Save more in booking your flights and accommodations by using this platform!

FAQs about What to Do Before You Move Abroad:

What should I NOT pack when moving abroad?

Don’t bother with tat or chachkis that just take up space. Unless it has true value to you and makes you happy, toss it!
Don’t pack aspirational clothing sizes, clothes for the wrong climate, or things “just because you have them”.
You can buy new things abroad, and it’s often cheaper than bringing them with you.

What is a good checklist for moving to another country?

This one! My moving abroad checklist includes steps for before, during and after your move so you’ll be prepared every step of the way.

Do I still need to pay taxes in my home country when I move abroad?

Generally, yes. You will likely still be responsible for filing taxes in your home country, as well as your new country.
Be sure to research the tax laws in both countries so you’re aware of what you need to do.

How much does it cost to ship household goods abroad?

This will vary depending on the size and weight of your shipment, as well as the destination country.
Be sure to get quotes from a few moving companies before you make a final decision.

How to send your money abroad?

There are a few ways to do this, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
The best way to send money abroad is with
Your money is sent at the cheapest cost, most competitive currency exchange, and is sent very quickly.

How do I ship my things overseas?

Contact an international moving company.
You’ll need to box up your belongings and label them appropriately. The moving company will then transport them to your new home.

How do I find a place to live in another country?

There are a few ways to do this – you can search online, through social media groups, or by contacting international relocation companies.
Typically, you’ll want to pick a spot first. Then decide what kind of home you’re looking for.
Once you’ve narrowed this down, look at local listings and visit the places to decide if they’re right to be your new home.


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Living Abroad Travel Planning Guide

🚑 Should I buy expat travel insurance?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Safety Wing!

🌎 What is the best country to live in as an expat?

It depends – the best country to live in as an expat will depend on your unique needs. I developed this free quiz to help you figure out where is right for you!

📍 How do I pick a country to live abroad?

It depends – picking a country to live in is hard. That’s why I developed this $7 course to share all of the steps I’ve taken when deciding to move to 20+ different countries, and how I handle homesickness when I get there.

Ultimately, making the choice of where to move is going to be hard. But the hardest thing is deciding to move abroad at all!

💼 How do I get a job as an expat?

You can find work abroad via local job boards or temp agencies. My favourite way to work is remotely, so I always look for jobs on when I live abroad. They hire for 100% remote roles only.

If you’re looking to teach English abroad, Premier TEFL has the best online course to get you great work!

💰 How do I open a bank account abroad? offers free global accounts, and the cheapest money transfers. Since it can be a headache to open bank accounts in different countries (it took me 2 months in the UK!), is a great solution.

I actually use it as my primary bank now worldwide due to the multi-currency debit card. (Read more)

👯‍♀️ How do you make friends abroad? – Meet likeminded people who share a similar hobby with Meetup! It’s free to join, but some activities may cost money, like if you go to a cafe and get a coffee.

🙀 I don’t speak the language. Can I still live abroad?

Learn languages in no time with iTalki! Moving abroad is an opportunity to learn the language. You don’t need to know it before you leave home.

💻 Do I need a VPN?

Yes!VPNs allow you to access more of the internet. From US Netflix in the UK to social media sites banned in Asia. It’s a really helpful and cheap thing to ensure your online activities aren’t restricted.

🧳 What’s the best luggage for living abroad?

This is my favourite luggage set for long term travel. You can read more about my review of types of suitcases for travel here.

🏡 How do I tell my friends and family I want to live abroad?

Take this $7 course and learn the exact script I used to tell my family I was moving abroad … and then when I did it again. I even include tips for prepping your family, and for how to handle family who aren’t supportive.

✈️ What’s the best site to buy cheap flights?

To find cheap flights, I recommend Skyscanner. (Read more)

🏨 What’s the best site to find cheap hotels?

To find cheap hotels, I recommend (Read more)

Or stay for free with Trusted Housesitters!

🚗 What’s the best site to rent cars abroad?

To find cheap rental cars, I recommend Discover Cars.

🚗 What’s the best site to find tours?

To find epic tours, I recommend Viator.