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10 Tips for International Relocation

This content has been reviewed by the National Van Lines Team
An international move can be an exciting adventure. A fresh perspective with people to meet and areas to explore can make moving abroad an extended vacation. More than ever, a professional mover will be helpful during the planning process, on moving day, and even after arrival. Here’s a list of our top 10 tips for international relocation.

Take the Essentials

When moving internationally, you can reduce moving expenses by packing lightly. Move your most precious belongings, but leave perishable food and replaceable toiletries with friends or family who can use them. If you’re moving to a country with a tropical climate, you may be able to donate your winter coat or consider a garage sale before you go or list your items for sale online.

Get Copies Of Important Documents

Whenever possible, get multiple copies of your official documents. Scan them online into cloud storage for electronic retrieval just in case. Leave one copy with a family member, one copy in storage, and take one with you. Work with an expert for your visa paperwork and any other documentation you may need to travel, and consider registering with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Ready, Set, Drive!

Planning ahead is key if you want your car shipped to you. In some countries, a U.S. driver’s license can automatically qualify you for a license. In others, you may have to take a test. Likewise, your vehicle may need to pass safety or emissions standards and require documentation before getting on the road. Talk with your insurance company about your move and work with their international department to find the best solution for your trip.

Choose Your Bank

We would recommend keeping a U.S. bank, if possible. Even if you’re going to be abroad for an extended period, having a U.S. bank is very useful for visits back and transactions worldwide. Research banks in your new home country, and make sure you speak with an advisor or banker about any differences in banking and finance regulations.

Stay Social

Meeting new people in a new country is part of the experience, and it can help with cultural assimilation. It is especially helpful if you are moving somewhere that speaks a different language or is much different in culture. Social media is a great tool as well. Check out any Facebook groups that have similar interests as you. With just a click of a button, you’ll be on your way to making new friends. Reach out to everyone you know to find a local contact or friendly face to greet you upon arrival for a warm welcome, and don’t forget to plan a going-away party before you leave!

Learn the Language

Over 800 million people in the world speak English, with an additional 600 million who have learned it as a foreign language. If you’re moving from the U.S., you’re in good shape. Still, learning a new language can be an exciting way to understand a culture and learn to communicate. Don’t be afraid to mispronounce words — most will be happy to help you learn and appreciate the effort. Don’t be surprised if locals want to practice their English with you, too!

Plan a Visit

If it’s possible, we highly recommend taking a trip to visit your new location. An organized tour can give you a chance to learn about the culture, try new foods, appreciate new art and music, and maybe even meet your potential neighbors. Use this trip as an opportunity to get familiar with schools, churches, hospitals, gyms, and entertainment in the area.

Get Your Checkups

Before you leave, get a full medical checkup and any immunizations that you need. If an employer is moving you, talk to your human resources manager to learn about medical, dental, and vision benefits while overseas.  Take plenty of prescriptions that you may need, and don’t forget to take a small travel kit with the essentials.

Bring Home With You

You’ll want to bring your favorite pictures, mementos, and decorations. Especially important for children, adjusting to a new environment is easier with a little bit of familiarity. If you have precious heirlooms, beautiful works of art, or even grandfather clocks that have been passed down generations, work with a specialty mover to protect your belongings.

Moving with Children

Moving abroad with children can be an enriching experience for the whole family. However, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure a smooth transition for your little ones. Here are some tips:

Prepare Them Early: Talk to your children about the move as soon as possible. Explain why you’re moving and involve them in the planning process.

Research Schools: If you have school-age children, research schools in your new location. Consider visiting the schools or connecting with other expat families for advice.

Pack Their Favorites: Allow your children to pack some of their favorite toys, books, or comfort items. Having familiar things in their new environment can help them feel more at home.

Stay Positive: Children often take cues from their parents’ behavior. Stay positive and excited about the move, and your children are likely to follow suit.

Plan Fun Activities: Once you’ve arrived, plan fun activities to help your children settle in. Explore the local area, try new foods, and make new friends together.

Moving with Pets

Moving abroad with pets requires careful planning to ensure their safety and comfort. Here are some tips for moving with your furry friends:

Check Pet Regulations: Research the pet regulations and requirements of your destination country. This may include vaccinations, microchipping, or quarantine periods.

Visit the Vet: Before you move, take your pet to the vet for a check-up. Ensure they are up-to-date on all vaccinations and obtain any necessary health certificates.

Pack Pet Essentials: Pack enough food, water, medication, and other essentials for your pet’s journey. Familiar toys or bedding can also help them feel more at ease.

Travel Comfortably: Whether you’re traveling by plane or car, make sure your pet is comfortable. Use a secure carrier and provide plenty of ventilation and breaks.

Settling In: Once you’ve arrived, help your pet settle into their new environment. Keep their routine as normal as possible and give them plenty of love and attention.

By following these tips, you can make the moving process easier for both your children and your pets. Enjoy your new adventure abroad!

Prepare for an Adventure

Finally, you’ll want to prepare for an adventure. Moving abroad can be new and exciting, and having professional movers in your corner can make it much easier. From planning and packing all the way to arrival and delivery, National Van Lines can help.

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