By now I’m sure everyone is sick and tired of reading about me moving because it feels like I’m always moving.
And that’s because I am.
I have moved three times in the past year and I’m about to move a fourth.
However, this upcoming move is a little different from anything I’ve done in the past, and that’s because I’m taking it international this time.
I’m moving to Sydney, Australia.
Yes, as in I’m moving across the world like 28374982012928342 miles away.
You can hear about all the reasons for my move here.
While you might assume that making the actual decision to move would be the hardest part of an international move, I can assure you that you are very, very wrong.
There are so many details to hammer out before making a huge move like this and it can be extremely overwhelming.
Here are a few of the things I’ve been doing this past month to get my life in order and decrease my stress.
Because nothing says ‘I’m excited for my new adventure’ like weekly melt downs and daily panic attacks!
How to Plan for a Cross-Continental Move
Wrapping Up Your Current Life
There’s an array of things both big and small that you will need to wrap up before leaving.
Here’s a list to help you figure out where to start:
- Housing. Unless you’re living at home or coming to the end of your lease, you will need to arrange what’s going to happen with your house/apartment. If you own, will you sell or will you rent? If you rent, will your landlord allow you to sublet or do a lease takeover?
- Car. If you’re doing a cross-continental move chances are you are not planning on bringing your car. You will need to look into cancelling insurance. You will also need to decide if you are going to sell it or reassign ownership. If you reassign ownership (or gift it) then you will likely need a drive saftey and emissions test done along with any repairs.
- Phone Bill. You will potentially have to pay out your contract or pay off the device if you are not on a month-to-month plan. You will also need to give your provider enough notice to cancel your service so they don’t charge you for an extra month.
- Other Bills & Memberships Like hydro, internet, gym membership, spray tan membership… Cancel these ASAP so you don’t get charged longer than you’re using them. You may have to pay a cancellation fee.
- Banking. Notify your bank of your move. Set up a time to meet with a representative to figure out the best and least expensive way to transfer your money between international accounts and notify your credit card companies as well.
- Prescriptions. I suggest bringing your drugs in bulk AKA go to the pharmacy and ask them to issue you the max number of months that is legal. Then chat with them about the possibility of transferring your prescription to save you money on a doctor’s visit in your new country.
- Mail. I highly suggest paying for a mail forwarding service. This usually costs around $100 and your national post service will forward your mail to another address for a year. For example, I know that my previous employer still has my old address on file, so I paid to have my mail sent to my parents’ house and that way I won’t miss my income tax forms and end up owing the Canadian government thousands of dollars if I ever return.
Opening a New Life
This is way more fun than wrapping up your old life, I promise!
Here’s where to start:
- Visa. First thing’s first
I’m the realestyou’ll need a visa in order to relocate. Research all the options, and apply for the visa that best suits you. Do not book your travel plans before your visa has been accepted as it may take longer than anticipated. It is also important to remember that visas are costly!
- Health Insurance. Once you have your visa and your flights are booked, you’ll need to get health insurnace. Most countries will not allow visa holders to enter the country without proof of health insurance. Most insurance companies will have consultants you can live chat with online, so do some research yourself and bring your findings to a consultant.
- Bank Account. You’ll likely want to open a new bank account in the country you’re moving to. You can do that both online or in-person when you first get there. Think ahead about how much money you are going to keep in your native country vs. how much you plan on transferring to your new account because you may be able to do this prior to leaving.
- Job and Apartment Hunt. Both of these things will be much easier to do once you’ve arrived, however it’s smart to get a head start before you land. Doing a bit of this ahead of time will give you a taste of what to expect in terms of job market, cost of living, and any other cultural and lifestyle differences. Lucky for us there is this miraculous thing called the internet that can help you do all this from overseas!
***But make sure you don’t sign anything or put any money down on a living space without meeting the landlord and seeing the space first.***
- Connect with Other Expats. Something else this magical thing called the internet will allow you to do is meet people overseas before you actually get there. You can find groups on social media, blogs, or just Google searches. It will give you peace of mind to go there knowing at least a few people from a familiar place.
- Phone & Prescriptions. You will need to reestablish these things when you arrive. I suggest paying to get your phone unlocked and brining it with you. Most providers have a “pay as you go” month-to-month option if you bring your own phone, which means you won’t be stuck in a contract if you absolutely hate it there and want to move home. Bring a copy of your current meds (or medical records if you are able to get your hands on them) to show a doctor and ensure you get prescribed the right meds.
- Research & Buy. Finally, do a little research and find out if some essential things you’ll need for your move (i.e. plug adapters) are cheaper here or there. Anything that’s cheaper here, buy it and take it with you if you can!