I want to migrate! Where do I begin?

When it comes to moving home, some people move down the street, some people move from coast to coast, and others move entire countries. There can be so many different reasons. It might be time for a new challenge in terms of work, it might be that you want to be closer to family and a close support network. Other times you just really need a fresh perspective and some new scenery.

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths" - Walt Disney

It doesn’t really matter the reason, there are some exciting changes afoot. Before you get stuck into all the practical things like international removalists, there are some fun things to think about too. It’s an excellent opportunity to put some of that Marie Kondo magic in your life. Set up a Pinterest board so that you can build some of your interior ideas.

Research the area that you will be moving to, it might be worthwhile exploring clubs and associations designed for expats if you are going to somewhere you don’t speak the language. Spend some time sharing your news with your closest friends and family if you want to, some might be super keen to help you move, and others might be super keen to try and put you off the whole thing altogether.

Now it is in your sights to start living somewhere else here are a couple of kickass steps for you to consider in the run-up to the big bon voyage.


Save, save and save some more. Everything that you have accumulated over the years spent in your current house cost a lot of time and money to accrue. That should be remembered when it comes to moving. Plus, while you might be used to spending dollars, and you are going to need to switch your mindset to euros - the exchange rate and learning what is and is not good value for money is going to really matter. Costs are going to mount up thick and fast, here are just a few things that you’re going to need to think about:

  • Visa applications

  • Passport renewals

  • Plane Tickets

  • Removal firms cost

  • Housing

  • Mail Forwarding

  • Emergencies

When it comes to money, and the account in which you are saving you might like to look into other options. Banking apps like Bunq, Starling, Transferwise allow you to save money and as soon as you arrive at your new destination, you’ll be able to pay for things in the correct currency. The general advice is to have 6 months worth of savings, just to provide some bounce when you first arrive.

Before you can apply for things like a visa, you are going to need to make sure that your passport is up to date. Or if you don’t actually have one, you’re going to need to apply. Depending on what country you live in this might take a couple of weeks, so get a jump on it. If your passport is going to run out somewhere in the next 6 months, then don’t take the risk of being turned away at the border and get it renewed.

Applying for your visa isn’t as scary as it might sound. Most government websites have reasonably straightforward advice for people who are applying for visas and permits. Just remember that if you are applying for a work visa you are going to need to support of the company who you are going to work for, and in some cases show enough savings to say you will be lasting a couple of months at least.

Check up on the healthcare situation. Many countries have different systems. And what might be cheap in one, is going to cost a fortune in another. It works out better in most cases to get insurance in the country you will be settling in, rather than just relying on temporary cover certificates from your original country or state. In some cases, you will be required to get a list of immunizations in good time before you travel, and you will need to make and medical insurance aware of that. If you happen to take any prescription medication, you’ll need to check if it is available and if not what the alternative might be. If it is available, you might need to stock up in advance for the time between arrival and getting an appointment with a GP.


Even if you have been to your new destination a hundred times over there is going to be stuff about the area that you didn’t know till you arrived and spent longer there. And this is going to be part of the joy of living there. It's still going to be a big transition, and it should be one that you are ready for. Aside from using Google to help you find where the best coffee, tea, and beer are from, plus help you plan your travel routes. Check up local bus routes, classes, and other fun stuff to help you settle in faster.

Sell, Sell or Keep?

You probably have an apartment or house absolutely brimming with stuff. And, maybe you’ve seen a couple of article about how people sold off every single thing that the owned and went traveling. While that is for sure some serious food for thought, and you can get a significant amount of tips to help, you might want to keep a few bits. They say that in every house is around 4 thousand dollars worth of unused items. So start there, if you like. Look at what you do and don't use and start putting things up for sale. You could make like Marie Kondo and start with clothes, books, the papers, move on the random junk and finish up with the box of memories that has to come everywhere with you. Getting the right shipping company for what you are keeping is going to be vital, so put in the research hours.

Once you have labelled up everything, sell, keep, donate or junk you are good to start packing.

Culture Shock

You might think that just from moving to a new state you’re going to be super familiar with everything but actually, even each neighbourhood has its own culture, and you’re going to be a part of that. If you have moved somewhere massively different, then it might be worth picking up a few books on the history of the country as well as things like etiquette and how to be polite as possible in your new language. Getting in and about with people living their daily lives will be seriously helpful. No one is expecting you to be able to be fluent in the language, and understand the turns of phrase straight away so don’t be hard on yourself. Some expats do get very down on themselves in the first few months in a new place, but that will pass the longer you are there and the more support networks you build for yourself.

Wrap Up The Past - Kind Of

It is generally worth keeping a bank account in your original location so that you can continue to pay and long-standing bills and pay out any contracted amounts. You will also manage to keep a line of credit should you ever decide that you want to take a trip back. Make sure that you inform your bank and any credit card providers if you are going to be using the account abroad so you can minimise any charges. Make sure that all of your credit agreements are taken care of properly before leaving.

Leaving some cash into account isn't a bad idea, but you could swap all of your accounts to online only and manage everything remotely.

Make Copies

Make copies of driving licenses, tax forms, bank details, insurance, birth certificates, health records and anything else you might need and store a copy with a trusted friend or family member and take one with you. If anything should happen, your friend or family member can find the documents and help you out.

Have That Goodbye

You might not think you want to say goodbye, but once you are on the plane or even a few weeks into your trip, you might find that you just wish you had, had that last hug. You can never be sure what will happen, so take the opportunity to have drinks and food with the people you love - so you can say goodbye properly. Even if you don't want to, they might need to. It might be a nice idea for you to let people help you pack the final bits, and even accompany you to the airport if you’re flying.

So, there you have it when it comes to getting out into the world and having a big adventure it couldn’t be more simple, or more fun to do. Have fun on your big adventure.