The Definitive International Moving Timeline
While there are many tips, strategies and guidelines that can be applied equally to the majority of stateside and locally based moves, attempting a move across open waters when making your way toward a life in a new country can be a highly unique beast in regards to the wide array of moving challenges that come along with it. Preparation plays a much more significant role in ensuring that an international move can go as smoothly as you will hope, and your best bet will likely be to go into things with as much over planning as possible—lists, binders, and the like will be your best friend. Read ahead for a range of weekly tips on planning an efficient, mostly seamless international move!
10 Weeks Before Your Move
- Confirm your relocation company of choice: When your move is an international one, it is important to lock down a moving company as soon as possible. If there are any unique requirements for your move worth mentioning, it’s very important that you voice these as soon as possible to your potential mover as well—you want to ensure that every base will be covered along the way.
- Find out about any and all paperwork you need: Traveling (and in particular moving) internationally means ensuring that you cover a wide range of possible needs in terms of any and all legal documents that you might need. Beyond the basic need for a passport, you could also need anything from a work visa to a residency permit. These types of documentation generally require a considerable amount of time to have approved and sent to you. Putting them off until the last minute is not a viable option.
- Budget out your needs: Finding a mover to suit all of your international demands is essentially step one of your vetting process. Your next step, however, will be to assess an acceptable moving package that goes without breaking the bank. It can sometimes be tempting to simply shoot for the full service package that entails every single additional service and luxury under the sun, but formulating a concrete plan can prove to be considerably more challenging. Shop wisely and put serious thought into the absolute needs of your move.
8 Weeks Before Your Move
- Look into schools: If you plan on moving with children, you’ll want to use this time to begin researching school districts and individual schools in the area that you’ll be moving to. It’s important to note that international moves can sometimes give rise to more complicated registration and enrollment processes, depending on where you’ll be moving to.
- Research your new locale heavily: One of the most effective ways to become preemptively acclimated to the drastic change of moving to a new country is often to simply read up on local customs, culture, etc. to know what you’ll be getting yourself into.
- Put together any needed documentation: Forms of personal identification will generally come first when it comes to traveling internationally. Without items on hand such as your current driver’s license, passport, and other ID, you most likely won’t make it much further than your nearest airport. Getting started on your move means having this step out of the way.
- Begin putting together a plan of action: Once again, knowing what to expect will be key when it comes to the majority of aspects in an international move. This means knowing exactly when your movers are set to arrive, the shipment times for a number of personal possessions, the day you’ll be moving in, and more. Putting together a personalized schedule around any and all confirmed dates will prove to be advantageous once things are in motion.
6 Weeks Before Your Move
- Assess electronic appliances: Surprisingly, movers can often forget (or even not know at all) about the need to adapt or replace certain appliances when moving to a country with alternate electric attributes. Moving to a European country from the United States, for example, will mean that you’ll need to adapt to the differing voltage ratings for appliances and electric outlets in your country of destination.
- Transferring (or maintaining) funds: Is your current bank or credit union internationally supported? Most aren’t, and if you’re hopping countries, you’ll need to have a game plan set for your finances sooner rather than later. The last thing you want to deal with is not being able to have access to your current funds in a new region.
- Schedule needed medical examinations, etc.: Entering the borders of a foreign country often means providing documentation of required vaccines, immunizations, general medical records and more. Find out what you’ll need in this regard before you get moving.
- Notify any relevant parties of your upcoming move: From landlords to family and friends, it’s important to give appropriate notice to those around you when leaving the country. Taking care of this step early means less chance of forgetting anyone at the last minute, as well.
- Start deciding what will stay: Unfortunately, international moving isn’t as simple as loading up 100% of your current possessions and hitting the road. Costly fees for shipping goods overseas means that you can easily waste a considerable amount of money by attempting to move too large a quantity of furniture, etc. It’s important to try and stick with only transporting the essentials you need when coordinating an international move. Selling (or even donating) unused items can make for a great starting point.
4 Weeks Before Your Move
- Note any necessary changes of address: The good news about short notice international moving is that you can have your mail forwarded to your new international address. The bad, however, is that this service is only offered for 12 months, after which you’ll need to have formally changed your address with any relevant parties.
- Put together a long distance ‘floor plan’: Hitting the ground running means knowing where things will be unpacked. In this case, a great deal of the planning involved will need to take place from afar.
- Look into shutting down utilities: From cable to electricity and water, none of your existing services will be shut off on time unless you arrange for them to be. Once you have your moving date confirmed, look into scheduling shutoffs around that time.
2 Weeks Before Your Move
- Consider an early exchange for currency: An unexpected reality of migrating internationally is that your current funds won’t be of much use upon arrival. Unless you want to incur unnecessary exchange fees when trading out your currency on the spot, it’s a good idea to preemptively exchange a considerable amount of your current savings for the currency of your new destination.
- Prescriptions and other medical concerns: If there are any medications, treatments, or similar that you require on a scheduled basis, it’s important that you ensure that you’ll have enough during the transition to a new doctor’s office—international moves can take more time than usual. You’ll also need to ensure that any and all medications are approved to remain on you during your flights, etc.
- Transcripts, medical records and more: Any relevant personal records for you or your family should be kept on you during your travels—this can include school transcripts for use during registration and enrollment, personal medical records, and even veterinary records for pets.
Final Week Before your Move
- Last call on goodbyes: If you still feel the need for any last minute, in-person get togethers, now is the time. You won’t have much free time in the weeks that follow, and in only days, you’ll be caught up with the beginnings of hectic last minute moving tasks.
- Prep for transit: Odds are, you’ll most likely be traveling by air on the way to your new home. Be sure to double check everything and ensure that you have everything you’ll need on you for the flight.
- Talk to your mover: It never hurts to be extra careful when confirming the details of your move. Reaching out to your mover during the last week of preparation means that you’ll be able to confirm information including the estimated times of arrival and departure.