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Moving Timeline: Are You Ready for Your International Move?

If you find yourself moving to another country, the excitement might engulf you—until you really think about all there is to do in preparation. Then, you may start to feel panicked. But don’t worry; take a deep breath and put together a moving plan. It’s time to buckle down and get organized.

4-6 Months Before

The farther in advance you know about your move, the better, as you’ll need to do more than if you were simply moving locally or across state lines. If you know about the move 6 months in advance, you should have plenty of time to get your affairs in order. The first thing to do is contact the embassy in your destination country and ask for information on securing visas for you and your family. In addition, be sure your passports are all up to date.

2-3 Months Before

Research moving companies and compare prices and services before deciding on which to use. Ask friends for recommendations, and interview the companies over the phone before getting an in-home written estimate. If you are moving because of an employee transfer, see what expenses your company is responsible for and which you must pay.

In addition, decide whether you will sell or rent out your home. Contact a realtor and gain advice about the process, whatever you decide. Also, make travel arrangements for your trip, but do not reserve flights on the same day the movers are coming, as the process could take longer than anticipated and you want to be there for all of it.

Now would also be a good time to begin cleaning out your attic, basement, and shed.

6 Weeks Before

Now is the time to buy supplies and begin packing if you aren’t hiring one of your local long-distance moving companies to pack your supplies for you. Begin to sort out what you haven’t used in awhile from what you still need; be sure to determine whether electronics and appliances are worth bringing, since they may not work in the outlets of your destination country.

In addition, inform your children’s schools of the move, and begin to collect physician and school records. Visit the doctor for a checkup and get any necessary immunizations—this will vary by destination country.

4 Weeks Before

This is the week to take care of paperwork. First, check with your moving company about customs regulations in your destination country, and begin to fill out any customs paperwork required. Next, register with your government for overseas voting. Also, contact your insurance companies and inquire whether your policy will be valid in your destination country.

Hold a moving sale with all of the items you no longer use or that will not be useful in your new home. Arrange for storage if you want to keep some items but don’t want to pay to have them shipped overseas.

3 Weeks Before

This week, you should:

  • Arrange pet transportation.
  • Collect other important papers, like wills, stocks, and insurance policies.
  • Inquire at your bank whether your accounts will work overseas and how to exchange currency.
  • Confirm the time and location of your move with the moving company.
  • Begin to learn useful phrases if you’re moving to a country with a different language.

1-2 Weeks Before

Complete your packing and finish off the food in your pantry and refrigerator in time for the move. You likely can’t bring food into your destination country, as there are usually restrictions. Be sure to take time to settle any outstanding bills and return library books or videos.

2-3 Days Before

Pack your suitcases and be sure to take the time to say good-bye to friends.

The day of the move, you’ll need to be present in case the movers have any questions at all. You’ll also need to pay them, but be sure to read all documents before signing; sometimes moving companies will tack on extra fees without telling you. All in all, being prepared for your international move will mean stress doesn’t overshadow your excitement

Guest Author: David Shapiro helps long-distance moving companies and other small business owners with their online sales and marketing. If he’s not working, you can find him enjoying the mountains of Arizona or spending time with family.

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