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Top 10 Things Not to Do When Moving to Another Country

29 Aug, 2018

Turning your life upside down to move to another country is no easy task to undertake. You will need to start planning months ahead of time, gather an extensive amount of paperwork and apply for a visa, residential forms and other required paperwork that you will need to make the move. On top of that, there is a fact that you’ll need to secure a flight as well as find a reliable mover to deliver your household and personal items to you efficiently and within a budget you can afford.

Moving to another country is one of the most life-changing moves a person can make, and it’s important to be prepared for everything before you find yourself in an unfamiliar setting without the things that you need most. To make the most of your move, here are ten things you should not do when you’re moving to another country.

Bring All of Your Soaps

We all have our favorite soaps, shampoos and body washes but when you’re making a move to another country, it’s wise to leave your stash of perfume scented soaps, perfumes and other bathroom essentials behind. These items can be heavy and quite honestly, unless it is a seriously rare scent only sold one time fifty years ago, you can probably find it at a local market where you are moving, or you can just order a new one from an online retailer for less than it will cost to import it to your new home. Be sure to check online retailers as well as the local shops before you move so you will know whether to bring something or to leave it behind.

Forget Your Blankets

Blankets will be important depending on where you are moving. If you simply cannot handle sleeping without a blanket covering you up at night you should check to see if the local shopping venues have stores where you can purchase a blanket. A blanket can take up a large amount of area in a suitcase or when trying to pack things to move but a blanket can also be difficult to replace if you need a specific size or thickness depending on where you are moving. It’s wise to check ahead of the move to see if your bedding will fit on the bed you will have in the new country or if you should just try to find new bedding when you arrive.

Pack Your Legal Documents

You don’t want to pack your legal documents in a box or bag that you cannot access quickly. Important documents like your passport or visa or photo identification should always be readily available for customs officials and airport officials. Keep them safeguarded if you are staying in a hotel or when you are out and about in the new country. Legal documents are not easy to replace immediately, so you need to be protective of them at all times. Be sure to make scanned copies of your documents so if you lose the originals you will have a copy to use.

Keep All Your Money in a Bank

It's wise to keep your money in a bank as a bank will keep it safe from theft and it can help deter you from making hasty purchases. When traveling to another country however, you should try to carry some cash on you for those times you may need to grab a drink or food while out or when you might need a taxi. Banks in some countries can be difficult to access depending on the day, so be prepared to have cash in the country’s currency on hand just in case you need to buy something.

Delay Your Shots/Immunizations

It’s important to know if immunizations are required to enter a country and have them taken care of before you move. Some countries, for instance, may require shots for malaria due to mosquitos or shots for other illness to prevent communicable diseases from spreading. Nothing is worse than being in a country where you might not speak the local language fluently and finding yourself in need of a doctor or hospital and no one understanding you so you can get the best treatment for what is ailing you.

Don’t Learn the Local Language

This is very important! Before you jump the pond to move to another country, know the language that the local community speaks and if it is a language you don’t yet know, take time to get the basic greetings down and maybe know how to say a few simple things. Being able to say hello or goodbye or even how to let a taxi driver know where you need to go can seriously help you adjust to your new surroundings much quicker. Grab a book or carry your phone with a translate app downloaded to help you speak to others and soon, you’ll be able to carry on full conversations with those you meet at the local shops and around your new neighborhood. Apps like Google Translate or iTranslate are great to use on Android or iPhone.

Cut Ties with Your Contacts

It’s tempting to just pack a bag and move away without alerting friends and family to start a fresh, new life away from the stress and busy lifestyle you may have at home, but it’s very important to take your contact numbers with you and let several trusted people know exactly where you will be. The more who know where you are, the better. Moving to a new country where you won’t be familiar with your surroundings is a big deal, and for safety reasons alone, staying in touch with those you know is important. Keep a handwritten list of your family and friends telephone numbers and addresses. If you lose your phone, you may need to have things written down, so you can stay in touch.

Don’t Take Your Car

This is one that can go both ways depending on where you are moving. Moving to a busy city where everything you need is within walking distance? You might not need a car of your own, so selling it or garaging it may be a smart choice for you prior to the move. Moving to a place where you’ll need to travel many minutes or even hours to visit neighboring cities or where there is a lack of reliable public transportation, bring a car along can save you time as well as money when you need to go somewhere. If you do take your car with you, be sure to hire a reputable auto transport company or international mover to deliver it to you safely and be prepared to pay import duties and other fees to import it to your new home.

Don’t Find a Home Ahead of Time

All too often people make a move to a new country without taking time to research the cost of homes in the community they plan to live. In some countries, you will need to have a home established prior to making the move, but other places will just need your passport and/or visa when you arrive. Planning to stay long-term will require some steps to be taken to find the right place to call home when you get to the country. This can be a hotel or hostel or better yet, a condo or apartment that you have already taken time to rent before your flight over. It’s important to at least have a good idea of what rental rates are so you don’t overspend or max out your monthly budget on something you cannot afford. When you find a home ahead of time, you’ll be able to start feeling at home quickly and it will help you feel comfortable in your new surroundings.

Keep Your Mind Closed

This is a huge no-no when relocating to a new country. Keep in mind that just as your home country has its little quirks and traditional customs, every other country in the world has their own as well. Taking time to discover new things, meet new people and see and be a part of completely different cultures and lifestyles that you may not be used to are great ways to make new friends and build lasting relationships in your new community. Step out in the afternoon or evenings and find places where you can mingle with residents and try to be engaged in the local community to let people know who you are and that you’re glad to be part of the neighborhood. As an expat, you need to be able to adapt to new situations fast to fit in quickly with everyone around you.


Angela Caito is a writer who wants to live in a world where love is prevalent, her children are happy, and her waist stays thin no matter how many Oreos she eats. She loves hiking, sailing, surfing, camping and road tripping throughout the United States as well as abroad. Angela grew up in Tennessee and has worked as a freelance writer for the last twenty years. Her greatest passions in life are her two children and exploring the world. You can find some of Angela's work at Auto Transport. Auto Transport helps thousands of individuals and businesses ship cars domestically and overseas every day. Based in the States since their early days in California, they now have a presence in major cities and metro areas across the US and the rest of the world.

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