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Hey there, globetrotters! You’ve dreamt of sipping margaritas on a beach in Mexico or exploring the ancient ruins of Cambodia. Maybe it’s the bustling city life of Tokyo or the rolling hills of Tuscany that call to your soul. That’s fantastic! But before you book your one-way ticket and pack your bags, there’s one crucial thing you need to consider: the cost of moving abroad.

This can be a real eye-opener; I’m giving you a comprehensive breakdown of the initial expenses you’ll encounter when setting up your new life abroad. This isn’t about plane tickets and souvenirs – it’s about the upfront costs that get you settled and ready to thrive in your new home country.

Let’s Budget for Your Big Move!

We’ve broken down the budgeting process into clear categories to help you plan effectively. Remember, this is a fundamental guide, and the exact amount will vary depending on your destination and lifestyle. But with this checklist, you’ll have a clear picture of the potential expenses to factor into your moving abroad budget.

budget for travel

The Breakdown:

  • Visas and Permits: You’ll likely need a visa and potentially a residency permit to live in your chosen country. Factor in application fees and any services from a relocation agency to help you navigate the process.
  • Passport Power: Make sure your passport is valid for your intended stay. Renewal or replacement fees can add up.

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Expats Toolkit has created a YouTube channel offering real experiences of moving and living abroad. I will share details of how to go about deciding to move, transitioning into a new country, and many other helpful tips to make this process go smoothly.


  • Health is Wealth: Some countries require medical exams or vaccinations before entry. Be sure to research these requirements and budget accordingly.
  • Renewing Driver’s Licenses: Check to see how many years are left on your driver’s licenses. If it is due within a year or two, I would suggest renewing it.

Travel and Temporary Stays:

  • Getting There: Flights, airport transportation, and even that extra checked bag for all your essentials will factor into the cost.
  • Short-Term Accommodation: While you search for your permanent digs, consider the cost of temporary housing, like hotels or rentals.
  • Travel Insurance: Protect yourself with travel insurance during your move and initial exploration phase.
airline ticket

Your New Nest:

  • Deposits and Renting: Budget for a security deposit and potentially even the first and last month’s rent upfront, depending on the local customs (be aware that some countries may require a full year’s rent upfront).
  • Local Insurance: Research and budget for health, property, or renter’s insurance in your host country. Most countries will require proof of health insurance to get residency.

Moving Your Belongings:

  • The Movers and Shakers: Moving companies can be a lifesaver, but they come with a price tag. Factor in fees, insurance, tips, container costs, and any storage charges upon arrival.
  • Customs/Tariffs: Be prepared for potential customs fees when your belongings arrive.
  • Storage Solutions: If you’re not shipping everything right away, consider the cost of a storage unit back home or in your host country until you settle on a home.

Settling In:

  • Dining Out: Until you get settled and set up, you will probably be dining out often.
  • Daily Bread (and Beyond): Eating out can add up quickly, so factor in initial grocery and toiletry needs until you get your bearings.
  • Four-Legged Friends: Bringing Your Furry Companion? Budget for pet quarantines or vaccinations required by your new country.
  • Utilities On! Setting up utilities in your new place often requires deposits, so be prepared.

Getting Connected:

  • Home Essentials: You might need to purchase some basic household items for your new digs, even if you are staying in fully furnished accommodation.
  • Navigating the City: Budget for a local public transportation pass to get around.
  • Staying Connected: Factor in the cost of setting up internet and cell phone service. Consider a temporary E-Sim and a VPN service for added security.
  • Power Up: Purchase adaptors and surge protectors to keep your electronics safe.

Extra Touches:

  • Virtual Mailbox: If you don’t have a friend or family member who can receive your mail back home, then consider a virtual mailbox service. (We’ll be covering this in more detail in a future video!)
  • Documentation Duo: Printing multiple copies of important documents can be a lifesaver.
  • Unexpected Expenses: Budget some wiggle room for miscellaneous costs, like joining a gym or those last-minute airport purchases.

Remember, this is just a starting point. Combine some of these line items where possible, and research specific costs for your chosen destination. By planning, you can avoid financial surprises and focus on the exciting adventure that awaits you abroad!

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Happy Adventures!

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