Whether you’re a student moving abroad for a year, or you have an entire family that’s being uprooted to move overseas, there are some things to keep in mind before you do.
Moving can be a big pain in the you-know-what, even on good days, and even when simply moving across town. However, there are infinite ways moving abroad can further complicate the process.
There are health issues to consider, particularly if you’re moving to a developing country. There’s the little matter of shipping all your personal belongings thousands of miles away, likely across an ocean. Not to mention the culture shock you’re going to experience when you get there.
Mind Your Health
If you have an existing medical condition, you have to take extra care when traveling abroad. Even if you don’t have a serious condition, it’s important to keep some of these tips in mind and check a few of these items off before you leave. Get a physical checkup!
Before Your Travels
- Check your health insurance. Make sure your coverage will include your new endeavors, and if your insurance won’t cover your trip, consider supplemental insurance plans that will cover additional health expenses abroad.
- Put together a contact list. You never know when you’ll need to contact someone if there’s an emergency. On the off chance that one occurs, it will be much easier to deal with if you already have a list of contacts ― like your physician, health insurance company, and emergency contacts ― ready to go.
- Research and plan. Make your transportation plans before you set off. It’ll be one less thing to worry about once you arrive.
- Create an itinerary. It helps to have a plan in place of where you’ll be on what days. Plus, you can give your itinerary to a friend back home in case someone needs to reach you.
- Put together a medical kit. Include prescriptions and items that may be difficult to find abroad. A standard first-aid kit is also a good idea. And plan for a few extra days just in case.
- Get vaccinated. Only if you need to. Talk with your physician to see if there are any vaccines for the areas you’ll be moving to or traveling through.
Mind Your Belongings
The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare your home and belongings before moving. It’ll help to first remove all the clutter before packing. Don’t forget about getting the living things ready for the trip, whether pets or plants. It also couldn’t hurt to pack an overnight bag, should delays occur.
Your furniture and valuable items will either be stored or shipped to your new location. Here are a few tips for protecting your furniture for the long journey:
- Gather supplies. You’ll likely need boxes and packing tape at the very least. Other items to consider are bubble wrap, furniture covers, cardboard sheets, and resealable plastic bags.
- Prepare your furniture. Thoroughly clean and dust all your furniture, and remove all drawers, casters, knobs and other protruding removable parts.
- Dismantle your furniture. Take bed frames apart, remove legs from tables, and so forth. This will help prevent damage and make the items far easier to pack.
- Wrap your furniture. Blankets will work in a pinch, but you’d be better off using bubble wrap around wooden parts and placing a cardboard sheet between wooden pieces.
- Create a placement plan. Don’t just begin throwing everything into the moving truck. Start off by putting boxes around the back end of the truck and plan the rest accordingly.
If you’re moving with the kids, there are many ways to make moving easier on them, like talking about the move openly and honestly and planning a going-away party.
Mind Those Cultural Differences
Whether you’ll be conducting international business or studying abroad, it’s important to keep things like paying attention to cultural details in mind. Here are a few tips that may help:
- Find common ground. If you’re working or studying alongside people from different cultures, it’ll help both parties to find some commonalities.
- Pay attention to cultural differences. Each culture has different customs and norms. Avoid committing cultural faux pas by getting a guidebook of your new country before taking off and learning about those differences.
- Be prepared for potential misunderstandings. Watch how others fit in and adjust your own behavior to fit in better. With so many new cultural norms to get used to, misunderstandings can occur. Being aware of that will help you avoid any unnecessarily awkward encounters.
Moving abroad can be particularly challenging and stressful, but if you pay attention to a few tips for your health, your belongings, and the cultural differences that await you, you’ll be well on your way to a successful move.