If you’re thinking about moving overseas, you’re probably excited about embarking on the trip of a lifetime. Perhaps you’re going to experience life in another country, or to have an extended or indefinite OE, or perhaps you’ve been offered a job. Regardless of the reason, before you fly it’s essential to get your moving plans grounded.

Moving overseas is much more complex than moving across town. Aside from the logistics of the move, there are many more factors to consider before you reach your destination. Here is a guide to the essentials.

Planning ahead: the basics

Like any move, the further ahead you prepare and plan, the easier it is come moving day. Moving overseas is rarely done on impulse, but in situations like getting a job overseas, your window of opportunity may be much shorter. Give yourself as much time as you can.

1. Money

Save as much money as you can in the time allowed. Setting up again generally costs more than you expect. As there will also be a delay before you get your possessions, you’ll need extra cash on hand until you’re fully settled.

2. Passport and visas

It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to check to see if their passport is still valid. While you can get a passport urgently, it will cost you more. Also find out if you need a visa for the country you’re moving to and apply for that as well.

Planning ahead: essentials

It’s easy to take certain aspects of life for granted when travelling, but when you go overseas for any extended period of time, you’ll need to have the essentials of everyday life in place.

1. Medical needs and health care

Find out what health care is available in the country you’re moving to and if possible register with a medical facility. Especially if you have a pre-existing condition, you’ll need to organise prescriptions and care. Talk to your doctor for help with this.

2. Foreign exchange and bank accounts

Organise a bank account and make sure you have some local currency on hand before you leave. Moving overseas can be overwhelming at first, so you’ll appreciate having your finances sorted before you arrive.

3. International driving permits (IDPs)

Obtaining an International Driving Permit allows you to drive in many countries around the world. It doesn’t stand alone. You also need your New Zealand driver license. The AA is the only place you can obtain an IDP. Talk to the AA for more information.

4. Culture

Finding out as much as you can about language, customs and culture of the country you’re going to call home will make the transition much easier. Dedicate time to reading and research.

5. Important documents

Make verified copies of all important documents you may need such as your passport, birth certificate, driver license and important legal documents. It’ll make life much easier if they are on hand if needed.

Shipping, storing or selling your belongings?

You’ll have to ask yourself the ‘ship, store or sell’ question for almost everything you own. Moving overseas is expensive. In some cases it may be cheaper to sell an item and buy a new one when you arrive than to have it shipped. If you know you’re only moving overseas for a limited time, a long-term storage option may prove better. Start this process sooner rather than later.

Preparation and packing

Packing for an international move is different to moving across town. Your possessions are in transit for a longer period and must be packed to minimise space to keep costs down. Good packing materials are essential to ensure your possessions arrive in good condition.

Other considerations

These topics are much bigger than we can cover here, but worth mentioning. We hope to cover each subject separately in the future.

1. Employment

Unless you’ve already obtained a job, you may want to start looking for one before you leave. Online recruitment and video conferencing makes searching for international employment much easier.

2. Kids

During any move, stability is the key to getting children settled. Finding a school before you move means you’ll be able to provide a familiar routine, the chance for your children to make new friends and to adapt to a new culture.

3. Pets

Every country has different regulations about moving with pets. As this can potentially be a lengthy process, make sure you contact a consulate of the country to find out about restrictions, quarantine periods and vaccinations.

As you can see, there’s a lot to plan and organise when moving overseas. We hope you’ve found this overview useful. If you need more information about any topic covered here, feel free to get in touch.

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