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10 Things Expats Wished They Knew Before Moving Abroad

News & Blog


Moving to a new country is an exciting time! There are new places to discover and a whole new culture to absorb. But don’t forget you will be living and working there, like normal, so knowing things before moving abroad can help you to settle in quickly.

These ten top tips for moving abroad will help prepare you for your move abroad, plus make sure you visit our Country Guides for more in-depth by-country detail, including UK expat tax advice.

1.Visit your destination before moving there

A good piece of moving abroad advice is to visit your chosen destination at different times of the year (if you can). If you’ve only visited your new destination once, or just in summer, make sure to try and visit as often as you can and at different times of the year so you can experience it in all different climates and seasons. This will prepare you for any time of the year when it comes to moving there and help you pack the right clothes – no point in only having t-shirts if it snows most of the year!

2. Sort your paperwork

Get all the paperwork you need printed off and have multiple copies of all of them. Birth certificate, passport, legal documentation and visas, as you’ll not only need these on arrival, but you will also need them for applying for jobs, schools and buying/ renting a home. Having multiple copies in one folder will ensure you know where they are and have access to them when you need them rather than struggling to find all the relevant docs – take a look at our Country Guides for more detailed visa information for the country you are moving to.

3. Use social media!

It is such a great tool to use when moving to a new country, you can join local groups, connect with new neighbours, and keep in touch with family and friends that are back home. 

4. Be flexible

Do as much research as you possibly can on where you want to live, where you will work and how to get there, where the nearest and best schools are in relation to where you will be based. You should also be open to the possibility of moving if you find the area to not be suitable after you’ve already moved. Also shipping your belongings takes time so pack your essentials so they are with you when you fly over. 

5. Less is more

Don’t take every single item with you when you move, if you haven’t used it in 6 months throw it out as you probably won’t use it again in the next 6. Also, it may be more cost-effective to sell your furniture and buy new items after you’ve moved, as you can then get a better grasp of the space you have.

6. Learn the lingo

Learn the language is so important to helping you settle in, even if its just some basic words and phrases to get through life. If the country isn’t English speaking, then you’ll find it difficult when you don’t understand what people are saying. Learning the language will also help when driving as you’ll understand road signs and directions.

7. Think about accommodation

The best option may be to rent for a short while before deciding on where to settle. This gives you more chance to explore the areas where you would want to settle down. Why not use GMS Xtra’s serviced accommodation service. staying in an apartment gives you that great feeling of home when you are travelling to new locations for work, projects, short- or long-term visits or relocating to start a new adventure in life.

8. Keep up to date

Make sure to read up on the current events happening, what the political climate is like and if there are any national holidays that you will need to know. If there is an election coming up or political unrest you may want to move to a safe area or wait to move.

9. Be open to new experiences

Be open to a new culture and way of life. If you’re moving to a new country, the chances are the culture may be very different from what you’re used to, the best way to get acclimatized is to immerse yourself in the local culture such as festivals, markets, food, and art.

10. Get your international currency sorted as early as possible

One of the most important things many expats struggle with is moving money abroad. Lots of expats wished they knew more about how to cost-effectively transfer money before moving abroad as rates are constantly changing and it can be difficult to find the right rate, at the right time and then choose how to exchange your money. But don’t worry – we can help with that! Global Moving Services have partnered with Global Reach, a leading currency specialist, to help you maximize your currency transfers. Global Reach has a track record of happy customers and holds Feefo’s Platinum Trusted Service Award offering:

  • Competitive rates of exchange for your one-off and regular transfers.
  • Locking in an exchange rate for up to two years for property purchases.
  • Personalised service with transfers tailored to your individual needs. 

These are just 10 things that expats wished they knew before they moved abroad – for more detailed advice, view our Country Guides for detailed information on moving to a specific country, including the US, Singapore and Australia.

GMS ships all over the world and offers a full range of moving options and various associated services, all designed to simplify the complexities of moving to another country. Let our team of professional moving consultants discuss all aspects of your move with you and build a comprehensive move plan that meets your budget.

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