Top Tips From People Who Have Recently Moved Abroad
It’s always good to learn from those who have succeeded before you.
Having helped many thousands of people move abroad over the past 40 years, we decided to ask some of our happy customers what advice they would give to others undertaking a similar move.
It was surprising how often the same suggestions came up. The good news is that none regretted their move and on balance, they found moving overseas a very positive and life-enhancing experience for themselves and their family.
However, there are a lot of factors involved so it’s helpful for new migrants to learn a few tricks from those who have gone before.
So without further delay, here are their top 12 suggestions to ensure you have a smooth and positive move to your new country…
1.“Do It Sooner Rather Than Procrastinate”
By far the most common comment people made was that they wished they’d made the move sooner. A lot of people think about moving for a long time but procrastinate and delay before taking the first steps towards doing so. However, in hindsight, they discovered they had only been putting off enjoying their new life.
Quite a few people have delayed moving whilst they see what happens with Brexit, whilst others have used it as a motivation to get going. We’ve recently seen a lot of people now give up on waiting and take a more proactive approach to their move.
Starting a new life overseas is a big decision, but if you know in your heart that it is the right thing for you and your family don’t keep delaying. Life’s too short. The sooner you make the move, the sooner you can be enjoying the benefits of your new country.
2. “Research The Visa Process Thoroughly”
A visa is of course the most important document you need to turn your dream of a new life into reality. Depending on your individual circumstances it can be relatively simple or more complex.
It is important that you are realistic with regards to your situation and find out early on what is required, how long it takes and the costs involved.
You should give yourself sufficient time to look into the visa process and the correct visa that you will need. Learn about all the costs involved, as this will affect your budget.
You may discover you don’t qualify for a straightforward route to a visa, but with a little creativity and a few additional qualifications, you may still find another way.
3. “Start To Prepare And Declutter Early”
With any house move, there is always a lot of organising and packing to do. This is multiplied greatly when the move is overseas. Many of our customers admitted that there was a lot more planning and preparation than they initially thought and they wished they had started earlier.
It’s important to decide what you are going to take with you, what you are going to leave and what you are going to put into storage. When your visa finally comes through and you’ve handed in your notice, you’ll have so many things to organise in the run up to your move that you’ll be thankful you started decluttering well in advance. Most people we’ve spoken to say they significantly underestimated how much time this would take.
If you have trouble letting go, you start by taking advice from decluttering experts like the popular Marie Kondo.
4. “Spend Time Organising Your Finances Before Leaving”
The finance of an overseas move is very important and a little time spent understanding all the available options early on can reap huge dividends later. Conversely, leave it late and you may be rushed into making quick decisions. Allow time to speak to a number of providers so you can get good advice and the best value for your money.
The first area you need to consider is moving your money to your new country. Don’t make the mistake of using the low fee option your current bank offers when the better exchange rates specialist currency brokers offer could amount to thousands of pounds when transferring the proceeds of your house sale.
Other areas of finance to consider are pension transfers – these can be complex and you’ll need to find the best option for your circumstances.
Even something as simple as opening a new bank account in your new country can often be done before you leave the UK meaning you’ll be up and running as soon as you arrive and have one less thing to worry about.
5. “Prepare For Your New Job Before Arriving”
There is so much you can do before you arrive at your new location, particularly with regard to new employment. If you have a new position that you will be starting when you arrive, it makes sense to research it and become acquainted with the different duties and skills you will be expected to demonstrate.
If you don’t have a position lined up, you should start your search before moving. Many popular expat countries have recruitment agents in the UK, keen to source talent to fulfill job shortages back home, so it makes sense to talk to them now. Even if you don’t have a job offer before you go, you can at least get the ball rolling and maybe even have a few interviews lined up on your arrival.
We are regularly contacted by employers and recruitment agents looking for skilled UK people seeking a new job overseas in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. So let us know and we’ll put you in contact, thereby giving your job search a head start.
6. “Save More In Preparation For Your Move”
A lot of customers said if they could do it all again, they would focus more on saving and budgeting from the moment they decided to move. It can pay dividends to be thriftier in your last few months in the UK so you have more money to make your new start go smoothly.
Having a larger contingency fund when you arrive in your new country will also give you a feeling of confidence knowing you have more resources to fall back on.
7. “Do Thorough Research On Your New Location”
People often rush into moving to places they ‘think’ they will like, rather than really getting to know it as a potential new home. If possible, rent or stay in the place you are interested in moving to before making any final decisions or, if that’s not possible, do a lot of research and speak to other expats who have moved there.
Whilst in the UK you can use the internet to find out about local interest, hobby or church groups so that when you arrive you already have some local contacts on the ground.
We have known a few people that were feeling uncomfortable in their new home who became much happier once they moved to a new neighbourhood that suited their family better.
8. “Bring More Of Your Own Belongings”
A lot of our customers have discovered that it is much more expensive to replace important items, such as furniture than it is to take your own when you move abroad. Also, the cost of replacing all those little tools and utensils soon add up.
Whilst you want to save money by not taking too many unnecessary belongings and it’s nice to make a new start with all new things, you need to weigh up the cost of shipping compared to replacing old for new.
If you are investing in a 20ft or 40ft shipping container, you may as well fill it up. You may also not have the option to visit Ikea or have deliveries from Amazon in your new location so some items may be hard to come by.
Other customers have commented that having all their familiar old belongings around them made them feel more at home in their new country where everything else was unfamiliar.
9. “Make Good Use Of Travelling By Planning Stopovers”
If you are moving overseas, you have a unique opportunity to see the world before arriving at your new destination. If you are going halfway around the world to a new home, it may be worth investing in some stopovers along the way, while you have the chance.
Once you start your new life, there might not be as many opportunities to travel and many destinations may be further away. So no matter whether it’s a farewell tour of Europe, exploring the Far East or a complete round the world trip, having a stopover or two will make your move even more unforgettable.
10. “Allow Time To Settle In On Arrival”
It can be tempting to rush into your new job on arrival, but many of our customers who did this wished they had taken at least a week to enjoy their new surroundings with their family.
Moving internationally can be quite exhausting. Why not plan to have a holiday when you arrive? That way you have a chance to settle in, explore your new home as a tourist and recharge your batteries before getting stuck into your new day-to-day life.
11. “Take your Own Car As Buying A New One is More Expensive Than Expected”
It can be a lot more expensive to buy a car overseas, so if you are moving to a left-hand drive country or have a classic car, it is certainly worth exploring this option. People are often surprised by how expensive even old secondhand cars are in some countries. It may, therefore, be worthwhile seeing if you can take your own car and compare the costs of shipping compared to buying a new or replacement one.
If there is space, you may be able to bring your own car in the same shipping container as the rest of your belongings. This will save you money and the need for extra transportation.
However, this will depend on the import restrictions in the country you are moving to and how old your car is. Usually you’ll need to have owned for at least 2 months but if it is too old it won’t be worth shipping!
12. “Appreciate That New Surroundings Take Time To Adjust To”
Many people adapt to their new country very quickly, but for others, it can take a little more time. Some of our customers have said they wished they had appreciated this more in advance as they felt quite uncomfortable in their first month and began wondering if they had made the right decision.
However, within three months they were happily settled and enjoying their new life and new friends.
No Regrets About Moving Overseas
Overwhelmingly our customers have no regrets about moving overseas and are keen to encourage others to make the leap.
We hope you have found you have their advice helpful and encouraging as you plan your own adventure.
Our passion as a company is helping people to fulfil their dreams of starting new lives overseas. No matter whether you are moving everything including the kitchen sink, or just moving a few boxes we can help.
Time To Make Your Move Overseas?
The PSS team are on hand to ensure that your move overseas is as stress-free and smooth as it possibly can be.
It is a big decision, to up and leave all you know and are familiar with, but it could be the best decision you ever make. With the right planning, preparation and international removals company it can be a life-changing experience.
Call us now on 020 8686 7733 for advice on the international removals process or if you would like a quote on sending your belongings abroad.
To get an initial estimate on the cost of our move you can use our new international removals cost calculator.
You can also visit our international removals page for more information or click here to get a quote for sending boxes abroad.