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Simplify Your International Move With This Handy Guide

International Move Abroad EuroUSA

Moving overseas can be quite a daunting task if you’ve never moved abroad before. Simplify your move overseas by reviewing this week-by-week moving countdown list:

8-10 Weeks From Moving Day

Start making plans for your move as late as 8 weeks before you move, although we recommend starting at about 10 weeks out from your planned moving date. This will give you ample time to research international moving companies, read online reviews, and request a free quotes from the moving companies you’ve narrowed down.

Hint: check out our blog for tips on how to find the best international moving company in the USA.

7 Weeks From Moving Day

After collecting your moving quotes and estimates from each overseas moving company, review each company’s policies on insurance, shipment size overages and other options they may offer. A proper moving company will take the time to walk you through each aspect of their services. Create a folder on your computer or tablet that you can store all of this information in for quick access when you’re comparing each company.

Moving to an unfamiliar area? Research, research, research. Here’s a quick list of things you absolutely should know and research about starting 7 weeks out:

1.) Local banks – will you set up a bank account locally or just do internet banking?
2.) If you have school-aged children, research the schools near your new overseas home

3.) Hospitals and healthcare (varies greatly depending in each country)

4.) Communications: phone & internet service (will your phone work overseas?)

5.) Driver’s Licenses: do you have a grace period on getting a local driver’s license?

6.) Moving with pets? Know your local laws for bringing pets into the country (especially if you’re moving to Australia or New Zealand)

7.) Taxes. If you’re an American citizen you will still have to pay taxes on your income, no matter where you are in the world so have a chat with your accountant/tax service to review your new status overseas.

Around this time, you should also make a list of people/businesses you need to contact to change your address, like banks, post office, insurance companies, etc.

Tip: Be sure to check out expat forums and blogs in the country you’re moving to to find out some of the “finer details” of the items listed above. Many expats are normally thrilled and eager to share local knowledge about everything from food, travel and culture to the items listed above.

6 Weeks From Moving Day

Planning on moving abroad via self-pack international shipping instead of a full moving service like EuroUSA? Either way you choose to move, now is the time to start canvassing your household items, furniture and clothes and decide on what to keep and bring with you, what to sell, what you can give away to friends, family or charity and what to toss in the trash. If you’re moving in the summertime you can start packing up your winter clothes and accessories; vice-versa for if you’re moving in the winter time.

Tip: If you’re giving away items to charity, collect receipts that may be used on your taxes. Charities sometimes will offer free pick up which can save you time.

5 Weeks From Moving Day

Now that you’ve decided on what to bring with you, start distributing your items accordingly. List items you want to sell online or in the newspaper. As you give away your items to your friends or family, that would be a good time to make the announcement that you’re moving overseas (if you haven’t done it already). 5 weeks out is also a good time to start whittling down your food reserves from your pantry, fridge and freezer.

You should also start collecting all of the documents you will need like your passport, marriage/divorce records, birth certificates (for you and your children, if any), school records (again for your kids) medical history/vaccinations, dental records and police/criminal records (needed for residency in some countries). These documents can be hard to get when you’re abroad so make sure and gather these now.

Tip: Now is also the time where you should select an international moving company and request all of the paperwork they require to schedule your move. Fill out and sign these documents and return them to your mover.

1 Month From Moving Day

Start the process of cancelling your utilities. Gas, water, electricity, land line phone/internet, etc. Make sure you’ll be able to pay your last bill by forwarding the bill to your new overseas address or arranging for it to be paid online. Anything with a contract like cable/satellite and cell phone, be sure to learn about the best ways to cancel those services (may be tricky in some cases). Cancel any magazines and other periodicals if you’re not planning on getting them overseas. Confirm your address change on all of your accounts (especially your bank account).

Tip: If you’re moving to a country with less reliable mail systems, consider setting up a private mail service in the U.S that will forward your mail directly where you live. Otherwise, it may weeks to receive a letter in some countries.

2 – 3 Weeks From Moving Day

Start the final touches on packing the items (if packing yourself) you’ll be bringing with you and start cleaning your home, apartment, condo, etc. Start packing suitcases with items/clothes you can live without for a few weeks. Confirm that your mover has received everything they need to plan out your packing and moving. If you’re moving appliances or machinery (like a lawnmower), make sure they are completely clean and free of liquids.

Tip: If you’ve hired a good mover, they should keep the dialogue up with you throughout these last few stages to make sure you stay on the same page about the items you’ll be shipping and other logistical matters.

1 Week From Moving Day

Have young children? Arrange for someone to watch them on moving day. You’ll be focused on communicating with your movers that day and it’ll be easier without chasing your kids around. Do your last round of packing; you will probably find stuff that you don’t really need so start a new “giveaway” pile for last minute go away presents to your neighbors, friends and family. Your utilities should be turned off; consider having a cleaning crew come and do a thorough cleaning for the next occupants of your home.

All there’s left to do is reminisce about your time in your home country and look forward to creating new memories in a new locale. 🙂

Mark Nash
Mark Nash
Our resident Moving Doctor, Mark Nash is the president of EuroUSA and has been in the moving business for over 33 years. He currently sits on the board of the International Shippers Association and the Commercial Affairs committee at the International Association of Movers.

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