My Favorite Things for Planning a Move Abroad

My Favorite Things for Planning a Move Abroad

Would I describe myself as a very organized person? Well, I’m not Marie Kondo, but I do love a clean notebook and a fresh list of to-do’s I can check off. It sounds funny, but checking off things on my list gives me a feeling of joy and accomplishment

So yeah, I do like to make an effort to organize things in the best way possible, and when it comes to moving abroad, I’ve learned it is not only something I like to do but NEED to do.

Planning a move abroad can seem like a daunting task and can easily overwhelm you. Preparing your move, creating to-do lists, and organizing all your paperwork can get messy and overwhelming if you are not organized. 

That’s why today I would like to share some of my favorite tools and tips for getting organized and planning your move with ease.


Let’s get started!


Brainstorm first, research later

When you are thinking of moving abroad, you can easily get overwhelmed by all the thoughts and lists that are running through your mind. That’s why, before anything else, I like to write down my thoughts and ideas for the move. From expectations to ideas about work, life, and living environments, I write it all down in a mind map. This helps with getting the bigger picture of my thoughts and allows me to discover any gaps in my plans that I need to research. 

From my mind map, I move to list all the things I want (and need) to research. Research is a crucial element of planning a move, and I would argue that you can’t start planning your move without properly researching aspects like living costs, work/life balance, job market, and visa requirements.

In my book, Let’s Move Abroad, I have included several activities, including the Moving Abroad Dream Map, to help you brainstorm your dream and tools to organize your research. But I also like a big whiteboard wall sticker and scribbling down my thoughts there.

My Favorite Things for Planning a Move Abroad

Organizing your findings

I like things printed out and written down, but when it comes to organizing my research findings, I want to keep it digital! So I usually work from an excel spreadsheet and copy important URLs, add notes, and categorize them into groups like; visa information, housing, costs, etc. 

Having all the important websites and articles in one place is a must, especially if you are planning a move with your partner or family.

And when you start working on your action plan and to-do list, it is great to have the essential resources just a couple of clicks away.

Organizing your paperwork

Moving abroad involves a lot of paperwork, especially if you require a visa.

Birth certificates, passport copies, marriage certificates, educational records, and many other documents will be required on several occasions.

That’s why it is key to have everything readily accessible online and offline!

For your online organization, I recommend saving all your documents in a cloud server (it is easily accessible and easy to share with others). Top tip: make sure you name your documents correctly and clearly. This is easy for you (when you are looking for a specific document) and easy for the receiver of the documents (consulates, moving companies, etc., will thank you for it).

When it comes to your offline organization, I always recommend having the original documents in one place, plus several copies of the most important documents. I love Expanding Organizer File Folders to keep all my documents in one place. 

My Favorite Things for Planning a Move Abroad

Bringing it together in an action plan

Once you’ve gathered all your findings and documents, you can start working on your action plan and list the major milestones complemented with important to-do’s. 

Categorizing your action plan will help you clearly see the status of your move’s different elements and allow you to stay on track. Some tasks will be dependent on the outcome of others, so make sure you note that in your action plan as well. 

Once you have your action plan in place, it is about tackling them step-by-step. Make sub-lists if you need to – it can really help you to stay motivated. Working in a structured way will help you to keep your cool. Having an overview and knowing the involved steps will give you confidence and clarity – two important ingredients in successfully achieving your goal. If you feel overwhelmed at some point (because of a setback or an unexpected change), go back to researching that specific topic and add the (new) requirements to your action plan. 

Last but not least, make sure to check in with your action plan daily. It will keep you accountable and on track, trust me! Even if you can’t spend every day planning your move, knowing your plan’s exact steps and status will give you (the much-needed) peace of mind.

Procrastinate in a helpful way

I don’t think this article is complete without addressing the elephant in the room. Are you ready? Here it comes: You WON’T be motivated and committed every day to work on your moving abroad dream – and you will procrastinate sometimes!! That’s right; we are imperfect human beings, and some days you just don’t have the time or energy to do something. That’s absolutely fine. 

But, you can find a way to procrastinate in a way that will be useful at some point in your moving abroad journey. What do I mean? Well, if you feel like scrolling through TikTok or watching YouTube videos, maybe look for some videos about your new host country. Or, my favorite way of procrastinating is to tidy up and organize things in my house (very lame, I know ;-)). Yet, getting rid of old clothes and throwing away expired sauces and condiments in my kitchen cupboards prove helpful, especially when a move is just around the corner. 

In other words, find a way to procrastinate while still (subtly) working on your moving abroad plans.

My Favorite Things for Planning a Move Abroad

And Rest! 

Lastly, moving abroad can be an emotional rollercoaster. Especially on days when you have to digest a setback, it is hard to stay motivated. That’s why it is essential to include your emotional well-being in your schedule. A lot is coming your way these weeks and months, and the only way you can conquer all these tasks, changes, and farewells is by taking care of yourself. 

Go for a walk, meditate, spend time with friends and family, or cuddle up on the couch with a good book. Whatever you like to do to relax, do it! It’s important to rest and recharge your batteries regularly so you have the energy to tackle your action plan with confidence and excitement.


There you have it. These are my favorite things for planning a move abroad. Being organized and in control allows me to plan a move with ease, and I hope by sharing my tips, I made it easier for you too!

Today you are a step closer to following your dream and moving abroad – you got this!

Make sure to follow me on Instagram and join a community of amazing adventurers all over the world.

Moving abroad book








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