Even if you’ve never even thought about moving abroad, this is the perfect time to start. Moving abroad will change your life in ways you can’t even imagine. It’s exciting, challenging, and everything in between. If you’re ready to take the leap, read on! I’ll show you what steps we took when we (my husband and I) decided to make our dream move from the Netherlands to Australia in just three months so that you can move abroad quickly too!
1. Get excited about moving abroad
You are going to be living in a new country, learning a new language, and experiencing a new culture. It will be a completely new life with new opportunities, possibilities, and friends. This is an exciting time for you!
Yet, moving abroad can be overwhelming and challenging at times too, and that’s why you need to prepare yourself now for any setbacks or challenges you’ll face later on in your journey.
To do that, take the time to write down your motivations for moving abroad. Why? do you really want this? List as many reasons you can come up with and add motivational quotes and inspiring stories in your notes. Next time, when you feel a bit down or unmotivated, go back to your notes and get excited again about your plans and motivated to keep going!
2. Write down your dream move
Next up, Write down your dream move. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? How will you get there? What is your budget, and what is the timeline of this move in terms of time and money (if any)?
Start getting answers by asking yourself questions. If it’s just a general idea or dream for now, then take some time out of each day and write down any thoughts or ideas related to what might be possible with this potential move abroad. It’s important not only because writing helps us make sense of things but also because during this exercise, you’ll get a better understanding of your want and needs and how you want to live your life – which is a great starting point when you are planning to move to a new country.
3. Complete the City Compare Chart
The City Compare Chart from my book, Let’s Move Abroad, is the perfect tool to find your destination. The chart is divided into five parts: Location, Visa/Work, Finance, Living, and Environment. When you’re ready to begin your search for a new home abroad, use this city comparison chart to compare cities on these five key factors.
Once you’ve decided which country or region suits your needs best, it’s time to move on to this step! Begin by filling out each column individually with all the information about your chosen country or region–what type of climate do they have? What kind of culture do they have? How much will it cost me monthly/yearly? And finally: How safe is this place?
The City Compare Chart is the perfect tool to compare cities and decide on the best option for you.
You can find the City Compare Chart in chapter 5 of my book Let’s Move Abroad.
4. Research available visa options (if you need one)
If you’re moving abroad, it’s likely that you’ll need some sort of visa. But which one? The answer depends on your nationality and the country where you want to move.
The good news is that there are many different types of visas–and some can be obtained very quickly. In fact, if all goes well, getting a visa should take less than three months (although this depends on how fast your embassy processes applications).
The embassy websites are a great place to start your research, and the visa research tool in my book Let’s Move Abroad will help you formulate all your options in a clear overview
5. Decide how to earn money
The next step is to figure out how you will earn money abroad. You can do this by relocating via your current employer, finding a new job, starting a business, or making money online.
Finding work in your new country can be challenging but not impossible! You can apply for jobs in person or on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor, you can send resumes by email and request Skype interviews with potential employers, or consider attending industry events where companies are looking for employees like yourself – anything that gets your foot in the door!
6. Start networking
The best way to get started is to reach out to people who have already moved abroad. Ask them what they wish they had known before moving, and see if there are any resources that might be helpful for your situation.
If you don’t know anyone who has done this before, try searching for “expat” groups in your area on Facebook or LinkedIn. You can also check out our interviews with expats, which have information about how others have made the transition successfully.
Reaching out to family, friends, or ex-colleagues can help you build a network that can help you with finding your feet in a new country. New connections can lead to new friends, a job, and other exciting opportunities, so make the most of it and start networking as soon as you can.
7. Get your paperwork in order (with the Paperwork checklist)
You’ll need to prepare a lot of documents before you can move abroad. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Passport: You won’t be able to leave your country without this! If yours is about to expire, renew it as soon as possible so there are no delays when applying for visas and other permits later on.
- Visa: A visa gives permission to enter another country for a specific period, usually with restrictions on work or study being done while there. Some countries require that expats get special permission from immigration authorities before entering their borders; others will issue them automatically upon arrival at customs checkpoints–so check with each country’s embassy beforehand if unsure how things work elsewhere!
- Health insurance: This covers any medical expenses incurred while living abroad, whether related directly back home or not (like an accident). It should also cover repatriation costs – basically everything related to returning home safely after leaving.
For the complete overview of all the documents you’ll need, download the Paperwork Checklist for FREE.
8. Organize your stuff and decide what to take with you and what to leave behind or donate
Consider how much space you have in your suitcases, the moving truck, or the container. Consider what you can leave behind if you aren’t able to bring everything. Think about what you will need in your new home, while traveling and when settling in. Can some of these things be replaced or bought when you get there? Does it make sense to donate some items instead of transporting them across continents?
Whatever you decide, make sure you do a good decluttering session before moving your stuff. You’ll find that you can sell, donate, or store more items than you might have initially thought. Lastly, think twice about storing your old TV and winter clothes. Yearly storage costs can be expensive, so make sure it is worthwhile.
9. Prepare for your first weeks abroad
In the last weeks before your move, make sure you are prepared for your first weeks in a new country. Rent a (temporary) place to stay (Blueground and AirBnB are my personal favorites), get a local phone number, get a credit card with international support, and buy expat/travel insurance before you go.
Familiarize yourself with neighborhood and local stores, and don’t forget to sneak in a little ‘treat-yourself-moment’ to celebrate your first weeks in a new country!
10. Say goodbye, take a deep breath, trust yourself, and GO!
Now that you’ve decided to move abroad and are ready to take action, it’s time to say goodbye. You might be sad or scared at first but remember: there is no right or wrong way of doing things in life. You can always go back home if that’s what you want! The most important thing is that you trust yourself and go with your gut feeling (or heart).
For everything else on this list to work out smoothly, it’s important that you remain positive throughout this process, so make sure not to let any negative thoughts creep into your mind! You can do this!
That’s it! That’s how, ten years ago, we moved from the Netherlands to Sydney in less than three months. To this date, making that move at age 25 is still one of my proudest moments and achievements. I know you can experience this life-changing adventure, too, and I’m excited to help you on this journey.
If you haven’t already, check out my book, Let’s Move Abroad, and start planning your move in an easy-going, approachable way with pragmatic advice, relatable stories, 40 activities, and 12 practical checklists.