Preparing for an international move is like moving locally, on steroids!  So many things to do, and then some.  Set yourself up to celebrate, save time, money, and your sanity with these 6 key tips!

1) Get Clear on the Vision for your New Home
Begin with the end in mind.  What is the vision for your new home?  Beginning with the end in mind sets the foundation for key pre-move decisions like:

  • What do I take with me?
  • What do I need to ditch or donate?
  • How much help, if any, do I need to hire?
  • What do I need to buy or acquire when I get there?
  • How will I set up my new home?

To support you in discovering your vision, grab yourself a complimentary copy of the “Your Home Visioning” exercise on my home page!

2) Start Planning EARLY!!
I really cannot stress this enough.  International moving can be highly time-consuming and detail-oriented.  DO NOT underestimate the amount of time this will take.  I’m not trying to scare you – just prepare you.  I’ve seen the lists and the crossed eyeballs on the faces of clients…all the things that need doing outside of my services.

  • However much time you think it will take, add 1-3 months. Yes, that much time.
  • Pad time for hiccups, because while they may not happen, it’s possible that something will (medical issues, service delays, etc.). During one move, BOTH clients had unexpected medical issues during move preparation.  Even the best-planned moves by the most organized of folks, like my mom, can have hiccups.  If it can happen to my mom, it can happen to you!

When you start early, hiccups are less of an ordeal because you have the grace of time on your side and it’s easier to glide through to handle what needs doing.  At worst, you won’t have added enough time.  At best, you’ll be done early and have time to relax

3) Hire Professional Help – even just a little
You will thank yourself immensely for this.   I have been called “best decision ever” for the relocation process – and for an international move, help will be a thousand times your saving grace.  For my Seattle to Scotland clients, Helen at Your VA Today helped them find a rental in Scotland AND gave them a city tour when they arrived!

  • Some options:  Professional organizer, personal assistant, move manager, cleaners, packers, or movers. 
  • Hire local, hire internationally. 
  • Looking for trusted resources?  Check out my Resources page.

4) Caring for Pets aka Furbabies
You will need to take them for a health screening, any required vaccinations and they may need to be quarantined on the international end.

  • Where will you quarantine them? Is there a nice staycation quarantine for them?
  • Are you taking your baby on the plane with you or putting them in cargo (very loud and stressful for pets)? Can you put them in a pet taxi instead?
  • Do you need to do something else before you fly overseas, like drive the kids across the country to settle them at college? Consider boarding your furbabies somewhere special so they don’t have to endure the stress of a road trip AND an overseas plane ride.

5) Valuables and Important Documents
Things like jewelry, housing documents, and other important papers should probably travel WITH you.  If you are going to have trouble replacing it, or need access to it promptly, take it with you vs. shipping it.

  • Make backup copies of everything and store SECURELY, in the event you do lose your papers.
  • Take photos or videos of all valuables and send to your insurance company, as well as store the records securely.

6) Packing and Shipping your Belongings
Wrap your mind around this – almost everything you own is going on a shipping container.  Find peace with that and realize, most of it is just stuff.  Got that stomached?  Ok, great!

Now, this:

  • Your items are only insurable for breakage, etc. during transport if a pro packs them.
  • IF you are on a tight budget, consider hiring professional packers for the breakable and valuable items. Pack the non-breakables yourself.
  • Your items may not arrive in the same time frame as you. Be prepared to live out of a suitcase for a few weeks to a month.  Take everything with you that will need in that time frame.
  • Be prepared that your items may arrive AHEAD of schedule and if your new residence isn’t ready, you will need to pay to store them. Figure out ahead of time where that will be.
  • Weigh the costs of keeping and shipping vs. downsizing and repurchasing. Shipping can be pricey (unless your company is covering costs) and it may make more sense to acquire new stuff once you get there.
  • If your move is temporary, it may make sense to store your stuff and rent furniture, especially heavier and more valuable items, rather than pay to ship them or risk damage of transport over there and back again.

Was this helpful?  Let me know.  I know it can be superbly overwhelming to relocate, especially internationally.  It is my mission to change moving for you from a Top 5 Stressor to a Top 5 Blessing.  If you need help, my team and I got your back!  Simply contact us for a complimentary consult to get started!