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Moving abroad checklist

Moving abroad checklist
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A checklist will make your international move run smoothly, but how do you make one?

Moving abroad is a complex business, with hundreds of tasks that need to be completed by hard deadlines. For some people it becomes like a second job in the months leading up to the big day. The sheer amount of work required can seem overwhelming – but there’s an action you can take to relieve that feeling. By starting a checklist, you have somewhere to note down tasks that need doing; and you can see how far you’ve come. It will also help you to avoid last-minute panics.

Which checklist should I use for an international move?

Every move is different, and the best checklist is one that is personalised.

A paper checklist works well for some; but an electronic checklist has plenty of advantages. As long as you back it up, you can’t lose it. And it’s easy to share it with other family members and your move co-ordinator. You may be able to link it up to your calendar, so that you can get reminders about tasks that are due soon. An electronic moving checklist may let you store things like scans of documents and photos as well as useful information like policy numbers, phone numbers and contact details, alongside each item.

Whether you want a printed list or a digital to-do list for your move, there are plenty of templates available for free online; or your move consultant might have one you can use. Many removals companies will give you a checklist if you get a quote from them.

How do I start a to-do list for an international move?

A good way to make a task list for a big project like an international move is to write down everything you think you need to do on a large piece of paper. Be as messy as you like and get other family members to shout out ideas. By sharing the task, you are encouraging everyone to take ownership right from the start, and you may find you get more help than expected if you do it this way. Your children and partner are more likely to share anxieties, too, which can help you prioritise.

Think about other sources of information about your move. Ask friends who have already moved abroad for advice. Your shipping company may have a checklist you can use; and your move co-ordinator will have tasks for you.

Once you have that messy list, you can organise the items into groups– for example, you might want to put the tasks under headings like health, shipping, accommodation etc. You can organise them by deadline and urgency. Or you might want to assign them to different family members. There may be some tasks that are better assigned to professionals, such as packing, or seeking accommodation.

Some tasks will be easier if you break them down into sub-lists – one example might be:

  • Get three removals quotes
    • Quote one
    • Quote two
    • Quote three
What items should go on your checklist for an international move?

These are some ideas to help you get your international move checklist started.

Engage an international moving consultant

Some people choose to go it alone when they move; but a consultant will make your life so much easier, particularly if this is your first move. Speak to several to get an idea of different service levels.

Work out a timetable for your move

Before you book one-way tickets, find out when your accommodation will be ready and work out how long it will take to ship your domestic goods.

Get immigration advice

Find out the entry requirements for your destination country, and learn about the process for gaining residency. You should also gather all the documents you will need for life in a new country. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice is a good starting point.

Arrange access to funds

Do you need an account with a bank based in your new country of residence? Can you still bank with your UK bank if you live abroad?

Arrange schooling

The location of good schools at your destination might limit where you can live, so consider this early in the process.

Find out about healthcare at your destination

Learn about health risks (for example, malaria) at your destination country and take steps to reduce exposure; arrange access to healthcare and health insurance. Travel Health Pro has plenty of information, but do speak face-to-face with a travel health professional, too, to get detailed advice.

Think about transport

If you plan to drive in your new country, find out what driving licence you need, and organise hiring or buying a car.

Shipping your domestic goods

Decide what you want to take, and then get quotes for shipping it. Find out if there are any items you cannot bring with you – for example, some items that are legal in this country may not be allowed in other countries.

Organise insurance

As well as health insurance mentioned above, you’ll want contents insurance at your destination. Find out whether your move abroad affects your life insurance, too. And don’t forget that you’ll need shipping insurance. We can help with insuring your move abroad – ask for a quick quote now and tick that item off your list!

Are you ready to move countries?

Organising an international move is a huge undertaking – but a check list will help you to break everything down into manageable tasks. Give yourself plenty of time and work through a few items a day, and you’ll find yourself opening the front door to your new home before you know it.