The Bekins Blog
5 Tips for a Successful International Move
No matter where you’re headed, moving is a big deal. However, when you’re moving internationally, there are few additional factors that can make your move even more complex.
Bekins has been performing moves for nearly 130 years, which means we have a deep understanding of what goes into each and every international relocation. That’s why we’ve created this list of tips for anyone moving to a different country.
5 Tips for Your International Move
There’s a lot that goes into knowing how to move internationally… good thing the experts at Bekins have you covered! Here are a few tips to follow as you head to your new home in a new country:
1. Sort out your finances
Talk to your lenders immediately to determine what you should pay off before you leave, what can be frozen and what you can continue to pay off while you are in your new country.
Are your credit cards valid in your new country? What are the exchange and interest rates? Make sure you know the answers to those questions and that you’re in a solid financial place before moving to a new country.
2. Manage health and safety concerns
Check the Center for Disease Control’s Travelers’ Health Menu to figure out what immunizations you’ll need, what you could be exposed to in your new country, travel recommendations and more.
Before you go, binge on doctors’ visits; get any surgeries, dental work or eye wear you need. While this may seem to add more stress to your move-focused mind, it will save you stress and possibly even prevent a medical emergency when you arrive at your new country.
3. Figure out your health insurance
Will your current health insurance still be available to you in a new country? If your new employer offers insurance or the country has socialized medicine, determine the lapse between the end of your current coverage and the beginning of your new coverage.
The U.S. Department of State has a Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which may be helpful for you during your international move. STEP has pertinent information about the risks Americans face when they travel or move to a new country.
4. Optimize your packing by sorting through your belongings
As you begin the packing process, take these steps to make the most of your space:
Start by asking your moving company when your items will arrive in the new city. Then, pack all the things you’ll need until the rest of your items arrive in your luggage.
Once you think you have the least number of items you can survive with, weigh the luggage to see if it’ll pass as a carry-on, checked baggage or oversized luggage. Try your best to be ruthlessly minimalist about what you bring.
Sell extra items on eBay or Craigslist or hold a garage sale. Donate whatever else you can’t seem to sell. Set a deadline for your for-sale items, and if they are still at your house on that deadline, donate them, too.
Once you feel good about the items you are going to bring with you, create a list to track them. You might feel like you have it under control, until the day comes when you are looking for your cell phone charger, your child’s favorite stuffed animal or your comfortable house slippers. Avoid this by reviewing your stock and tallying each item.
5. Think About Your Loved Ones: Relocating Internationally with Children & Pets
Children often have difficulty adjusting to an international move. Make the transition easier for your little ones by:
- Throwing them a goodbye party.
- Encouraging them to stay in contact with friends via parent-approved social media and email.
- Looking for schools that offer an International Baccalaureate program. These programs offer standardized, transnational curriculums.
- Signing them up for extracurricular activities. This way, they can quickly and easily meet kids their own ages with similar interests.
- Having them decorate their own rooms. This is especially helpful if they are able to include a few of their favorite items from their old rooms.
Moving Internationally with Pets
To bring or not to bring, that is the question. We know it’s difficult to imagine life without your furry friend, but life for them can be substantially harder in a foreign city. Is there going to be a yard where you’re living? Is there a dog park nearby? Where can you take your pet for a walk? Will you be working long hours without the ability to come home at lunch?
If you think your pet will suffer more with you abroad than it will without you in a new home, then it may be time to think about adoption.
However, if you choose to bring your pet with you, keep in mind that every country has pet importation forms and veterinary clearance standards. Your pet likely will need immunizations and a clean bill of health from your vet.
Before you head to your new home, complete the necessary paperwork, certifications and immunizations. Then, purchase a hard carrier case and a spill-proof water container. Ask your vet about providing your pet with sedatives for the plane ride!
To make your plane ride successful with your dog, find the answers to these questions:
- What days can you travel with your pet?
- How much is the surcharge for bringing a pet?
- Which pet friendly airports can you travel through?
- Will your pet be stored in-cabin or under-cabin?
And follow these tips:
- Arrive three hours early on the day of your flight for security purposes.
- Confirm that your pet has been boarded on the next flight during a layover.
- Pack your pet’s go-to food brand. After arriving, compare it to the country’s food ingredients. Slowly mix in new kibble one quarter at a time until your pet gets used to the new food.
- Talk to neighbors about good places to walk your dog.
We hope our international move checklist will help you ease into your new home! If you need additional help, remember that you don’t need to do this alone. An international moving company, like Bekins, can circumvent most of the packing, shipping and unpacking issues involved with international relocation. When you’re ready to get started with your international move, get in touch with Bekins!