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Tips to Know Before Moving Abroad for the First Time

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Moving abroad for the first time is endlessly exciting and enriching but can also be a bit scary. Because it requires complex planning, thorough research, and proper preparation to ensure the relocation is successful.

Tips to Know Before Moving Abroad for the First Time

If you're traveling abroad for the first time--whether it's for work, study, or the need for adventure— here are some important tips you must follow to stay safe and make your transition an easy one.

Tip:1 Do plenty of research

Moving abroad is a complicated process - there are so many things you need to consider before you begin planning the logistics. If you have never moved overseas before, you want to make sure you have all the facts before you begin the process. Here's what you need to consider when you're moving abroad for the first time.

  • What documents do you need when moving abroad? When you're traveling internationally for the first time, you're going to need some important documents to be taken with you on the plane. Here's what to bring when moving overseas.
    • Passport
    • Visa
    • Work permit
    • Medical records
    • School records
    • Airline tickets
    • Tax records

    Apart from these, find out what kind of visa you will need, how to get a work permit, and what other documents are necessary to move abroad. Keep in mind that your international moving company usually offers documentation services, so you can find out more information by contacting the country's consulate.

    Tip: Make sure to have multiple copies of all your important documents when dealing with immigration authorities.

  • What to declare at the customs while traveling abroad? When you're moving abroad for the first time, it is important to research the customs regulations of your destination country to find out what goods are subjected to the regulation and what duties and taxes you'll have to pay on your items before moving.

    Note: Items like exotic pets, food, and small plants require payment of duties, taxes and special permits to take with you, while other items like alcohol, drugs, and other explosive or flammable materials are strictly prohibited.

    So, before you move abroad, contact the embassy in your new country to get more information about the customs regulations.

  • Is it difficult to find work? Whatever the reason, traveling abroad for the first time can be a stressful experience, you need to do a lot of research for finding a job to make sure your arrival is feasible. So be versatile and explore all your potential avenues.

Tip 2: Plan your budget

Moving overseas is a big deal; you'll most likely need international movers to ship your goods, you may need to pay taxes or duties for your goods and you may need to stay at hotels for certain period which all add up to quite a chunk of change.

So, if this is your first time traveling abroad, calculate all the costs associated with the move and make sure you're having sufficient funds for the move. Also, if you're moving abroad with no money and secured job, you may need an extra nest egg saved to get by for the first few months until you can land a new job.

Tip 3: Visit before you move

An advance visit to your new country is a great way to learn more about their living style, culture and tradition. By doing this, you'll be able to understand how the locals live, what's their culture and how do they follow tradition. So, if your time permits, visit your new country, check out places of interests, make connections, find a job and perhaps even find a great place to live before you move permanently.

Note: Avoid tourist areas and stay among the locals to give yourself a more organic perspective of your new country.

Tip 4: Connect with fellow expats

If you have always been dependent on someone and you're flying alone for the first time, then you're certainly going to have a hard time abroad. When you move to a new place, you might have no one around to help you in finding a job, providing accommodation and good food. In that case, attend local parties and festivals in your new country and establish connections with your fellow expats to gain some insight and perspective about life in your new country.

Visit expats blogs and websites to meet other expats in your new country - it will be beneficial to communicate with others that speak your language and can possibly help you get settled in your new country.

Tip 5: Learn the language

When you first arrive in your new country, it's so important to develop a basic knowledge of the country's native tongue. You may be mostly with English speaking group almost every time but learning the lingo will be more beneficial - especially if you plan to live there long-term.

Start reading language textbooks or use online tools such as Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and Mango Languages before you move abroad. After you arrive, practice asking directions, talk to clerks and patrons in stores or chat with the locals at the restaurants and pubs in your new language. The more you practice it, the more quickly and easily you'll learn it.

Tip 6: Purge your stuff

You have a long way to go and shipping your belongings over an ocean can be expensive. So, the less you haul with you, the cheaper and easier your overseas move will be. This is especially true if you don't have a permanent place to live when you arrive - paying for storage while you stay in a hotel and apartment hunt will put a strain on your budget. Sort through your items and decide what you can donate, sell, or give away before you begin to pack. Here's what to pack when traveling abroad for the first time.

  • Clothes and shoes appropriate for the current weather in your destination country.
  • Toiletries
  • First-aid kit and essential medications
  • Basic kitchen items
  • Photocopies of your passport, visa, and other travel documents

As a first-time expat, you're bound to experience homesickness from time to time. If you always keep thinking about your home, it will become difficult for you to live in another country. So, learn to love your new place and set yourself a minimum time (at least six months to one year) where you don't allow yourself to think about moving back home after living abroad. This thought will keep you going and helps to embrace yourself.

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on March 1, 2013

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