The Six Steps You Must Take Before Moving Abroad
Whether you are in dream stage, or just about to jump the gun and move overseas, there are some critical steps you need to take before you book your airline ticket, even if it's for a relatively short period of time.
Get your finances in order
The first step is perhaps the most important and definitely the most difficult. Before skipping the country, make sure you have enough money to get you settled in your new home. If you don't plan on working, we advise that you work with a financial planner to determine how much you'll need to comfortably live in your new country. Before leaving, though, it's a good idea to take yourself out of debt, if at all possible. At the very least, pay down your debt to a very manageable level.
One thing many expats do is plan their destination around their finances. Nomadlist.com is a great place to find the perfect new overseas home. You can choose from several criteria, including cost of living. Hundreds of cities have a cost of living of less than $1,000 a month. Know, though, that the first few months will cost more. You can further narrow it down to other criteria like continent, weather, safety, beach access, etc. Even if you have chosen your destination, play around with Nomadlist. It's a lot of fun. Unless you have a job lined up, plan on having enough savings to cover at least six months. This should be enough to find a new place to live, decorate it, and pay for the move and travel.
Get your passport in order
If you don't have a passport, or if yours is about to expire, get a new one. Many countries require you to have a passport that will be good for at least six months after arrival. If your passport does expire while abroad, though, visit your local U.S. Embassy or consulate.
Apply for a visa
Visa requirements vary from country to country, so be sure to visit your destination country's website or even their closest embassy or consulate. Find out exactly what paperwork you need. For example, you might need proof of finances.
Arrange for healthcare coverage
While most countries outside the United States have some sort of universal health care, it doesn't necessarily cover tourists or expats. Research the healthcare system. Unless you are confident that you'll be covered in your new country, purchase travel health insurance. Most plans cost less than American health insurance. The U.S. Embassy or consulate in your destination should have a lot of information, including a list of medical providers.
Register with step
STEP is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. It gives the Embassy a way to get ahold of you in case of an emergency, and evacuation, or if family is trying to contact you. The program is free.
Once all the paperwork is in order, it's time to arrange the move and your travel. Sell or store everything you won't need in your new home. If you are traveling with a pet, check with your destination country to see what the requirements are. Contact your cell phone company and ask for an international plan. Another option is to download Whatsapp, for free texting and calling, anywhere in the world. As always, don't forget to change your address with your banks and credit card companies.