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10 Ideas to Improve Your International Move

This content has been reviewed by the National Van Lines Team

“The world is getting smaller.”

How long has that expression been making the rounds?

No, we’re not debating some shrinking-Earth conspiracy theory. We mean the expression figuratively. As in increased speed = decreased travel time. (Raise your hand if you’ve experienced jet lag.)

Traveling from points A to B is faster than ever. Brits can zoom to France unfettered via the Chunnel. (No need to navigate the notoriously nauseating English Channel.) “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” now is the expectation, not the exception (as it had been when FedEx coined the slogan decades ago).

International info

As a full-service moving company, National Van Lines knows all about circumnavigating the globe efficiently and effectively for individuals seeking international relocation. That’s fancy talk for: “We’re tops at moving you outside the country.” After all, our company shield declares “worldwide” in plain sight for the—harrumph—whole world to see.

So, how does moving to another nation differ from, say, relocating from Florida to Michigan? Read on for National Van Lines’ Official Top 10 Ease-Your-Overseas-Trip Tips. You’ll learn how to make moving fun using this movers guide.

Cutting costs

One of the best ways for cutting your international moving costs is shedding that extra weight. Nope, we’re not talking about hitting the gym. We’re talking about dropping your shipment’s pounds. Slimming your possessions down to the essentials might decrease your moving company cost—perhaps significantly. Host a garage sale. Donate non-perishable food to charitable organization Move For Hunger. Friends or family members might appreciate your perishable food and replaceable toiletries. Heading to a destination that never gets cold? Donate winter coats, mittens and scarves and wave winter goodbye…permanently. Conversely, if you’re heading to Antarctica, you probably can ditch the Speedos and bikinis.

Rx marks the spot

Now’s the time to check in with your doc. Get a full medical exam and make sure your immunizations are current. Is your employer moving you? Chat with your company’s HR department so you understand your medical, dental and vision benefits while overseas. Stock up on any prescription meds you might need.

Duplicate your efforts

Duplicate vital info? Maybe even triplicate. Obtain multiple copies of official documents. Go virtual: By scanning documents online and storing them via cloud tech, you can electronically retrieve them in case hard copies go missing. Consult a foreign-travel expert for obtaining visa paperwork and other necessary documentation. You might consider registering with the U.S. Department of State’s free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. STEP allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Legal tender

Keep your greenbacks in a U.S. bank. Why? The experts at Expat Info Desk explain that maintaining a Yankee-based account ensures your American credit score thrives. This verifies you’ve remained financially active even though you’ve resided in a foreign land. Should you return to the United States, you’ll be on the fast track to obtain a mortgage, finance an automobile purchase or obtain other credit-history-dependent loans. While abroad, you’ll also enjoy those online purchases and offers available only to Americans.

Wheel life

Intend on driving the highways and byways of that new nation in your American automobile? Plan ahead before automatically shipping your ride overseas. Your vehicle might need to pass safety or emissions standards and require documentation before tires hit pavement in your new country. Discuss your upcoming international move with your insurance agent and, possibly, their international department to determine the best course of action. Also be aware that in some countries, a U.S. driver’s license automatically qualifies you for a license while other nations might require you to take a test.

Learn the lingo

¿Habla espanol? Parlez-vous français? Nihon-go wa wakari masen. (That’s Japanese for “I don’t understand Japanese.”) Not familiar with the language of the land? No need to panic. After all, roughly 360 million people speak English as their native tongue. Plus, another 1.14 billion individuals know the Queen’s speak as a second language. Translation? You shouldn’t be totally lost—linguistically speaking—in your new locale. Still, what fun is that? Tackling a new tongue can open opportunities. Dive in. Locals will appreciate the effort, even if you exhibit less-than-perfect pronunciation. Turnabout is OK, too, as you might run into people wanting to brush up on their English skills.


Don’t sequester yourself in your new situation. Explore! That means not only taking in the sights, but taking in the sites—by clicking, posting and sharing. Using social media to make connections is a great way to assimilate into a new culture. After all, it is called the World Wide Web. Check out Facebook, LinkedIn or other sites for online groups sharing your interests. Click! Friends.

Home away from home

Put a bit of the familiar in unfamiliar surroundings. Prized photographs, decorative items and mementos help create a home away from home. Children especially rely on familiarity to ease their transition to a new environment. Specialty movers can prove priceless in transporting your precious heirlooms, irreplaceable artwork or even grandfather clocks passed down from generation to generation. They know better than anyone how to pack fragile items for shipping.

Get acquainted

If possible, visit your new location during the pre-official-move stage. Get the lay of the land, so to speak. Think of it as dangling your feet in the shallow end to test the water temperature before diving off the big board. Organized tours offer opportunities to taste new foods, soak up the culture and listen to unfamiliar music plus possibly meet potential neighbors. Check into schools, houses of worship, hospitals, gyms and entertainment venues in the area where you’re intending to move.

Bon voyage!

International moving experts, such as National Van Lines, are up for your adventure of a lifetime. Moving abroad can prove an exhilarating experience. Having pro movers by your side as you embark on this journey is essential for peace of mind. National Van Lines will stay with you every step of the way, from planning and packing all the way to arrival and delivery.

At National Van Lines, we make long-distance moving easy. As a national moving company, we’ve helped more than a million families enjoy moving their memories for 90+ years. Contact us online or call 877.590.2810 for answers to your questions—plus a FREE moving quote.

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