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Everything You’ll Need for the Moving Checklist

Posted Moving Fundamentals / July 29, 2021

Is there a checklist for moving? Everyone knows that good organization of your relocation leads to success, but very few realize that a great moving checklist is a crown of good organization – and we decided to make the only one you will ever need. Be sure to print it or write it down and learn everything you need to do so that your relocation overseas ends in tears of joy.

What Should I Do 8 Weeks Before the Move – Preparation

You may think that two months are more than enough to start preparing for relocating across the world, but you’ll be surprised by how fast time flies. The complexity of this process is even bigger than in usual long-distance relocation, with quite a few more questions about what to do to get ready to move. Don’t worry! We’ve got your back.

Money Always Comes First (When You Are Relocating)

The absolute first item on your list should be determining the budget – a lot of other items on your list will depend on it. Deciding whether you will choose an overseas moving company or a DIY option, what kind of storage you will use, whether you’ll choose international moving by air or maybe international moving by sea – these are just some examples. At the same time, when you see what amount of money is at your disposal, you will know if an additional saving plan is necessary.

Become Dora the Explorer in the First Few Weeks

Remember to research the country that will soon be your new home. Explore job opportunities, school options, healthcare policies, but also language, social standards, and modern life. In your spare time, you can even research some tips for learning a new language in order to break the language barrier. Of course, if you are relocating to Canada or some other English-speaking nation, you can cross this item off the list right away.

Part of your research should be finding expat communities in the country you chose. You can look for sites such as Expatica or explore the social media world and connect with other expats in your new city even before you move. Other than providing you with valuable tips and suggestions, other expats will make you feel less lonely, especially if you are relocating abroad alone.

Ideally, You Should Find a New Place to Call Home

Before you decide to book a house or an apartment, start researching the city and its neighborhoods to see which one has the lowest crime rates, highly developed sense of community, best urban scene, and so on. You can take care of your housing from the distance of your soon-to-be old home, thanks to modern-day technology. Visit real estate websites, compare prices, contact landlords, and book on time. If you are a believer in personal contact, book a hostel or a hotel room in the city so you can search for housing in person.

Research the Country’s Restrictions

Remember that some countries have restrictions on some species or breeds of pets. For example, if you are relocating to Germany, you won’t be allowed to move with an American pit bull terrier. When relocating to Spain, on the other hand, you must watch out for restrictions concerning rottweilers.

Something similar can apply to your plants. If you chose some of the best cities to live in in Europe, you must learn how to move houseplants long-distance.  Note that you may need a plant health certificate to guarantee that your flowers are free from specific pests. Also, when moving internationally, know that your plants can be exposed to extreme temperatures or too much light while on the road. On top of that, your plant may not be fond of the climate you choose, so be careful when deciding to pack it.

What Should I Do 7 Weeks Before the Move – Choosing the Company and Comparing Quotes

Not a first item, but very close to it, is choosing an international moving company if you opt for one. If you’re not sure whether that would be a smart decision, remember that by letting them do part of the work, you will experience far less relocation stress than you would if all the work was left to you. However, so you don’t fall victim to a relocation scam, there are a few safety measures to consider:

  • Check the online status of your potential company – read all reviews and recommendations you can find, from those on the company’s site to those from Better Business Bureau.
  • One estimate is not enough – you can’t tell if a company wants to over or undercharge you without comparing estimates. If the prices look too good to be true, they usually are, and you are dealing with fraudsters.
  • Ask for the USDOT number provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
  • Create a list of questions you should ask the company’s representative.

What Should I Do 6 Weeks Before the Relocation – Calls You Should Make

When you are done with the beginning phase of your relocation process, it’s time to pick up the phone (or the keyboard when possible), and start scheduling, transferring, and canceling.

Schedule the Relocation Date and Make Travel Arrangements

Keep in mind that the month, week, or even day can make a difference in the final price an overseas moving company will offer you, so be sure to choose the best time of year to move overseas. The sooner you book your relocation company, the more money you will save. And after you know the date of the move, book your flights, hotel rooms, and alike according to your schedule.

Who to Notify When You Are Moving?

There is a  significant number of people and institutions you should inform about your relocation abroad so that you won’t experience unnecessary troubles or unexpected charges:

  • US Postal Service – you can change your home address online very quickly and from wherever you want. USPS can help you with the forwarding service, which is very handy when living overseas. If you opt for it, your mail will be scanned and sent to you, after which you can instruct if you want to place it in storage or destroy it.
  • Bank and loan providers – when it comes to the bank account, you can choose to shut it down and get a new one in a local bank in your new city, or you can keep the old one, preferably if your bank has an extension there. Generally, we would advise against closing your existing account.
  • IRS – you should also contact the Internal Revenue Service since you will continue to pay your taxes even when living abroad. Be aware that US citizens, in most cases, have to deal with double taxation.
  • Schools, if you have school-aged children.
  • Your landlord, if you have one – read your contract carefully to see if you are obliged to pay penalties if you want to terminate the lease earlier or if you damaged the property in some way.
  • Utility providers – your utilities can’t be transferred in this case, so you should cancel them. It would be best to give a date after the relocation day to have your electricity or water until you lock the door.
  • Telephone and internet providers – inform them that you will no longer use their service.

In addition to that, you also should cancel all your memberships (gym, library, and alike), empty storage units, and cancel all of your subscriptions if you don’t want to continue paying for them.

Check Your Insurance Policies Before Packing Items

Aside from informing your insurance providers about your change of home address, you should also check if your insurance is valid when living abroad. Unlike your life insurance (which is valid no matter where you are), your health insurance might not cover medical emergencies in your new country. Be ready to explore other possibilities, such as international private healthcare. The same goes for vehicle insurance – your car won’t be covered when you live outside of the States, so be sure to research local car insurance policies.

What Should I Do 4 Weeks Before the Move – Packing Time

When you are packing to move, ensure to organize every step, from finding suitable storage options to the order in which you should pack the rooms. If you seek professional help, be sure to check if your company can provide you with a packing service. Hiring movers can help you focus on other important tasks on your moving-out checklist.  The packing process should start with storage spaces, but it will last until the relocation date, not just for one or two weeks, so be prepared for it.

You must leave time to think about what to pack when relocating abroad and what you should leave behind to move efficiently. The key is packing just the things you use – don’t bring items you didn’t even use when you lived in your native country. Clothes you know you won’t wear, old electronics and furniture, or even appliances that still work could make a difference in someone else’s life if you choose to donate unwanted items. Another option is organizing a yard sale and earning some extra money. While boxing up, be sure to create an inventory list of all your belongings and pay more attention to valuable items.

Deal With Paperwork

Preparing and organizing documents needed to travel abroad is one of the most important tasks. However, it could take anywhere from 10 weeks to 9 months to get your visa, so it is essential to start on time. Because this process is different depending on the destination, contact the country’s embassy and find out about the requirements. Remember that you can’t apply for a visa without a valid passport, so renew it if necessary.

Don’t forget to gather and pack all your important documents, such as:

  • Medical records for you and your family, including prescription and immunization records, are the first on the list. They are essential nowadays when traveling abroad during covid-19.
  • If you are relocating with pets, vet records are also a necessity.
  • School documentation and transcripts are needed if you are traveling with kids or relocating abroad for your education.
  • Financial documents are a necessity. Pay special attention to your bank statements because you may need them as proof of your financial status to cross the border.

If you need help organizing documents before you move abroad and finding a suitable storage solution for them, watch the following video:

What Should I Do 2 Weeks Before Moving – Doctor Appointments

Remember to arrange medical appointments for all family members, just to be sure you are good to go. It would be preferable, if you are relocating with pets, to book a vet appointment, too, but also to get all the necessary equipment for relocating an animal.

Remember that your car needs an appointment, too. If you are interested in shipping a vehicle overseas and want to hire an overseas shipping company, remember to contact your authorized vehicle service and book an appointment so your car would be shipped in perfect condition.

What Should I Do 1 Week Before the Relocation – Prepare for the Party

Besides finishing some last-minute errands, such as picking up your clothes for dry cleaning or securing you have enough cash to tip the movers, your last week should be reserved for your loved ones. Saying goodbye to your friends and family is very important when relocating abroad  – you aren’t going to the neighboring city, you are relocating to another country. Plan some time to spend with your loved ones and think ahead about keeping in touch with friends from home. A going-away party is an excellent chance to gather everyone you love and show them how much you care about them.

Moving Checklist for the Relocation Day

Like every other task from your checklist, the relocation day also calls for careful preparations, including protecting your old home from damage, preparing food and refreshments, clearing the path so movers can walk safely, and so on.

One of the most important things on the relocation day is remembering to pack a bag with essentials – one that will contain all your necessities for the first couple of days, such as:

  • Toiletries,
  • Clothes,
  • Food and basic kitchenware,
  • Bed linen,
  • Electronics and their chargers,
  • Antibacterial wipes, and so on.

Final Tips and Suggestions – Breathe and Relax

After you finish all the tasks on the list, but before you board a plane, ship, or train, take a minute for yourself – it is well earned. You did an amazing job! Now it is time to breathe and think about all the benefits you will get from this relocation. It’s important to keep a positive spirit and be excited about everything your future might hold. And if you feel a little bit of fear, it is normal – just don’t let it overwhelm you.

Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

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