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Whether you’re about to set off for the first time, packing up and heading for a whole new life abroad or are coming home after years living in various countries and continents, moving is a headache.

Aside from the time consuming effort that is packing, you have to get your head around all the little details that need to be in place before you even arrive.

Have you found the right house in the right location, a school for your children, opened a bank account, bought a car or figured out the public transport? The list is endless.

The move itself will come and go but then you’re faced with the prospect of waiting on your shipment to arrive.

Whether by road or water, chances are it won’t be there until at least two to three weeks after you arrive, so planning ahead is crucial. We look at some ways you can make your international move as stress-free as possible.

Plan, Plan And Plan

So, planning. You simply can’t wing this process so start it early by making lists divided into the following categories: utilities, children, transport and questions.

With this list you’ll be able to start putting into place the pieces of the puzzle that form a move to a strange country.

By doing a little research you’ll be able to find the names of service providers for the internet, telephone and so on. Your ‘questions’ category will likely grow as your research gets deeper but eventually you will be able to tick off all the unknowns.


If you are moving with a large company chances are that these matters will all be taken care of by your relocation agent, but it doesn’t hurt to write down any thoughts you have just to make sure you have a clear understanding of what’s going on and what you’re expected to pay.

If you are moving yourself then the best way to have your questions answered is to talk to others living in your destination country who speak your language.

There are hundreds of expat groups and informative blogs out there and you are bound to find one that will have a forum and members ready to answer your questions.

These forums are often a great place to meet people when you arrive and a place to start building friendships.

Also on your plan should be a timetable for the move day itself, which brings us on to…

Your Movers

Not all moving companies work the same. Some will offer a complete package, packing up all your belongings for you, shipping and if necessary storing for you on the other side until your property is ready to be moved into.

Others will be far more basic and ask you to do the packing and arrange storage yourself.

Whichever option you choose, do your research. Ask friends and contacts who have used international removals before (such as 1st Move International) and can tell you who the best and worst are.

Whoever you choose you should be around on the day of the move to oversee the packing and answer any questions.

Consider labelling bedrooms as 1, 2 and 3 etc and asking your movers to mark boxes accordingly to save time the other end.

Though expensive there are some costs that you mustn’t consider scrimping on, the big one being insurance for your household goods and car, if you choose to take it.

It can be time consuming to go through all your items in a checklist and figure out the cost of replacing them but the benefits are well worth it should your goods become damaged, lost or stolen during their journey.

Be sure to make a copy and store this checklist somewhere safe so you can use it again on any onwards moves you make and save time.

If you are worried about your furniture being damaged, be sure to photograph your favourite pieces and make a note of any pre-existing damage or markings.

Once You Arrive

Once in your host country you will need to make sure that any number and contact details you gave to your moving company are still relevant.

A working telephone number is particularly important for arranging logistics on delivery day.

If your mobile phone doesn’t work or you don’t want to use data roaming then it’s time to get yourself a new contract and update your movers as soon as possible.

Before the big day check that the company has taken care of any parking restrictions near your new property and be there way ahead of time.

If your movers are travelling via road, you may experience hold-ups but once there expect a fast turnaround.

If your boxes are marked with bedroom numbers then make sure to write them on bedroom doors to make sure the right boxes end up in the right rooms.

Don’t be afraid to ask delivery staff to lay down paper or protect door frames before moving in your goods.

You should be handed an inventory sheet and the box numbers ticked off as they come in.

Again, if you have questions don’t be afraid to raise them.

Once all your goods are safely in and unpacked your crew should take away as many of the boxes as they can before they leave.

If you can, check out furniture such as sofas, beds, chair and tables for any signs of damage. Take photos as evidence if necessary.

Moving to a brand new country where you don’t know anyone or speak the language can be a crazy, daunting, dizzying adventure.

Packing and unpacking is the least fun element but a necessary one and something you should try and make as smooth a process as possible.

Do as much research as you can, talk to as many people as you can and get as many recommendations from expats and friends as you can.

Don’t forget to use this move as an excuse for a grand declutter of your clothes and children’s toys and look forward to a fresh start and the beginning of a brand new adventure.

*This is a collaborative post*