>  Expats Toolkit   >  Six Months to Go: Prepping for Your Move Abroad
6 Month Checklist

Are you dreaming of a new adventure overseas? That’s fantastic! But before you pack your bags and hop on a plane, there’s some important groundwork to lay. Today, we’re diving into what you need to do six months before your big move to ensure a smooth transition.

The Paper Chase

First things first, paperwork. It’s not the most exciting part, but it’s essential. We’re talking passports, driver licenses, birth certificates, marriage certificates – the whole shebang. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your travel date and consider renewing your driver’s license if it’s nearing expiration. You’ll need to bring along the original copies of your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and high school and/or college diploma. Yes, I know that sounds strange, but you wouldn’t believe how many times we’ve been asked for our diplomas when applying for a driver’s license or jobs abroad.

paper chase

Going Digital (But Keeping Hard Copies Too)

Next, embrace the digital age! Scan all your important documents and store them securely in a cloud folder. This is a lifesaver if anything gets lost. But don’t ditch the hard copies just yet. Keep physical backups of everything in a safe place. Having both digital and physical copies ensures you’re prepared for any situation.


Banking Abroad

Moving abroad often means setting up a new bank account. Here’s a pro tip: it’s wise to keep an account in your home country, especially for taxes and maintaining your credit score. Talk to your bank about using your account abroad and ensure you can still receive verification codes. If you switch to a voice-over-internet phone, some banks might not be able to text you verification codes.

When choosing a bank in your host country, look for one that offers more than just banking options—maybe they have credit cards with mileage rewards or travel insurance. Research what works best in your host country and for your needs. For international transfers, consider setting up an account with a service like WISE. They offer great exchange rates and easy transfers, making your financial life much easier.


Watch EXPATS TOOLKIT on YouTube 

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.


Doctor, Doctor

Moving is a good time for a checkup! Schedule appointments with your doctor and dentist before you leave. Gather your medical records and ask your doctor how to access them electronically if needed. Don’t forget to let them know you’re moving so they can update your file and refill your prescriptions if needed. If they don’t have electronic records, scan the hard copies onto a cloud for easy access.


Saying Goodbye (and Hello!)

Let your loved ones know your exciting plans! This is also a good time to designate someone to handle any important matters back home while you’re settling in. Join some expat groups or forums in your host country. This is a fantastic way to connect with people who’ve been through the same experience and get insider tips.


Planning Your Arrival

Lock down your flights and accommodations for your first few weeks in your host country. This will give you peace of mind and ensure a smooth arrival. Book travel insurance to protect yourself against unexpected travel hiccups or medical emergencies. It’s always good to purchase it at the same time you finalize your airline tickets.

book travel

Learning the Lingo

Start brushing up on the local language! Even a few basic phrases will go a long way in showing respect and helping you navigate your new home. Apps like Duolingo are a great place to start. Understanding the basics will help you integrate more easily into the local culture and make everyday tasks less daunting.


The Big Sort

This one might be daunting, but it’s important! Start decluttering your belongings. Decide what to sell, donate, store, or take with you. Holding a garage sale or listing items online can also be a great way to make some extra cash before you move.


Leaving Things Behind?

If you’re not shipping everything, consider renting a storage unit for the items you can’t part with yet. Get prices for a storage unit and ensure it’s in a location that’s accessible if someone needs to retrieve something for you. This is a practical solution for keeping your valuables safe without the hassle of transporting them internationally.


Decisions, Decisions

Finally, if you own a home, you’ll need to decide whether to sell it or rent it out while you’re abroad. This is a big decision, so weigh your options carefully. Connect with a real estate agent to get suggestions, find out what repairs need to be done, and determine the value of your home. Whether you sell or rent, make sure all your affairs are in order to avoid complications later.

Real Estate Agent

Investigate Freight

If you’re planning on shipping things overseas, get quotes from different freight companies. Research airline luggage restrictions and extra baggage fees to avoid any surprises. Understanding the costs and logistics in advance will help you budget more accurately and avoid last-minute stress.


Know Before You Go

If a visa is needed, learn how long it takes to obtain one and whether you can apply for it online or if it must be in person at the Embassy/Consulate. Also, find out the cost of the visa and the length of time you’ll be allowed to stay in the country. Check if any vaccinations are required and get them done. Learn what is NOT allowed in the host country for you to bring in.

Health Insurance in Host Country

Find out the requirements for health insurance needed in the host country and make sure you have a plan with a service to purchase upon arrival. Health insurance is crucial for your peace of mind and wellbeing, so don’t leave this to the last minute.

health insurance

Arrangements for Your Fur Babies

If you plan to bring a pet, make sure you do your research on vaccination and quarantine requirements. Make arrangements with the airline as well. Moving with pets can be complex, but with proper planning, it’s entirely manageable.


Phew! That’s a lot to cover, but trust me, getting organized early will make your move abroad so much smoother. Don’t forget to check out the description box below for links to all the resources mentioned in this post. And if you have any questions, leave a comment below!

If you are looking for more information about moving and living abroad, then visit Expats Toolkit.

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Happy Adventures!

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