How to Prepare for Your International Move

There are many things that can take us away from our current location. Perhaps you currently live away from your family and your parents now need care. Or, maybe you just got a new job that will require you to move out of the country. Or perhaps you’ve finally decided to check a few items off your bucket list and seek adventure another country. Whatever the reason, you will need to be sure that you are thoroughly prepared and that everything is in order before you make this important move.

Stock Up On Cash

No matter which country you move to, money talks.  Now, keep in mind that you can’t take excessive amounts of physical cash with you through the airport (typically no more than $10,000 unless you like being detained for hours while the government checks to see if you are laundering cash), so plan to take just what you will need to sustain you for about one week.  By taking this cash you will be able to pay for food, shelter and whatever incidentals you incur upon your initial move. 

Set Up Your New Bank Account

A wise decision would be establishing a bank account within the country to which you are moving beforehand.   Many major U.S. based banks have branches in countries around the world, or may have partnerships and relationships with international banks, thus allowing you to have an international bank account.   Establishing a bank account in another country ahead of time will allow you to wire money into your new bank, thus mitigating the need for carrying cash.

You may also want to consider leaving the cash in your new account in U.S. dollars depending on the volatility of the currency of your new country.

Find Appropriate Housing

When I visit a new city or country, I tend to g off the beaten path.  That’s typically where you find the best deals, but they might always be in the greatest neighborhoods.  This can have long-lasting implications if you happen to be moving to a new country.

Doing as much research as possible before a permanent move will ensure that you are in the most ideal neighborhood for your particular situation.  This might mean having a shorter commute to work, being centrally located, access to school, and f course, the cost of living.

You may need to make a trip ahead of time to scout neighborhoods, or to hire a local realtor who specializes in international moves to make this transition easier.

Learn the Culture

Some might argue that this is the most important thing to do prior to your move.  Learn everything you can about the culture in your new area so that you don’t offend any of the locals. To them, you are the alien, and it’s more likely that without prior knowledge, you may unintentionally offend your new countrymen.  For example, the “okay” hand gesture might be innocuous in U.S. culture, but might be offensive in Greece, Turkey or some countries in the Middle East.

Showing a willingness to learn your new country’s culture, especially when done respectfully, will endear you to the individuals with whom you interact.  My Japanese friends always giggle at my pronunciation, but love the opportunity to teach me new words and phrases.  Plus, I get the added benefit of them taking me to awesome Japanese restaurants that I would not have discovered on my own.

From the adventurous to Baby Boomers, more adults are choosing to live in a place outside of their native countries.  Moving to an entirely new country can be extremely exciting, and if enough preparation is done ahead of time it can be relatively seamless.

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