Checklist When Moving to Another Country

A checklist when moving to another country is so important. What are the common problems of moving to another country? What do I need to do before moving to another country? Read this article to know what you need, before you go so that life is a little bit easier before you arrive in a new place.

I have dreamt of moving to another country for many years, maybe that’s because I’ve watched too many foreign films. ‘Dreaming’ because it did not happen until very late in my life. Although I was born in Panama (Central America), I have lived the majority of my life in America, since the age of 3. America and I got no bad blood, I just wanted to explore the world a little more. I wanted to bring my childhood desire of studying abroad into a reality.

I had just turned 41 years old when I moved to China September of 2019, to become an English teacher with the Disney English training center. I regretted not studying abroad and experiencing an enriching but sometimes frustrating life in another country, in the way that some friends described their University time.  

Anyways, a friend of mine was moving to China and her Facebook posts she showed travel throughout Southeast Asia and the photos were captivating, Jakarta, Seoul, Beijing.  I don’t think that it was FOMO, ok well maybe only a little bit. So when all things looked right, I decided to jump on the overseas wagon.

I did major research and rechecked my checklist when moving to another country, to make sure everything was perfect, well as good as it was going to be. Only to realize, that every expatriate has to go through their share of hardships.

Here are my top 7 items on my checklist when moving to another country:

Checklist When Moving To Another Country
Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash

1.  Do enough research

I mean dude! This isn’t a vacation. Some might assume that researching the lifestyle and basic documents for moving is enough. It absolutely isn’t.

Here is a checklist when moving to another country you should have researched :

Major documents – visa, passport, bills, etc.

Source of income

Food and culture


Basic language

Expenses and budgeting

Laws and rules

Cost of groceries and everyday items

Trustworthy agencies to ship your luggage

Emergency contact numbers of the country

Etc., because there could never be too much research

These essentials will help you get a good start for your journey. Ignoring the checklist when moving to another country, might be a very expensive mistake.

Checklist When Moving To Another Country
Photo by Caroline Selfors on Unsplash

2.  Don’t carry too much

I know that baby pink trench coat looks so flattering on you. But it’s literally summer in the country you are moving to. A major mistake people make while moving abroad is carrying way too many items with them.

Other than having to deal with the lack of space for keeping these unnecessary itineraries, you will also be greeted with the extravagant overage fee at the airport. So please leave behind your 12 pairs of shoes and 28 packets of your favorite snack from the home country. You can always repurchase these from retailers and expatriate groups. 

Checklist When Moving To Another Country
Photo by Adrien Aletti on Unsplash

3.  Carefully choose your living place

Like many expats I initially prioritized cheap dwellings over other conditions. Luckily, I was still picky about the right place to stay and hence, managed to find a good apartment. Read the documents and ask questions about the place you will be renting or buying.

When looking for a place to live in another country, make sure you convey all needs to the brokerage service. This includes the plumbing, water frequency, hygiene, sunlight, fresh air, etc. You don’t want to wake up to clogged toilets and leaking showers. I also did not know that we are not supposed to flush toilet paper down the toilet instead; we need to put it in a wastebasket. This caused my downstairs neighbor’s apartment to flood and caused me some embarrassment. A lot actually.

Checklist When Moving To Another Country
Photo by Darren Bockman on Unsplash

4.  Know the navigation method

Many countries have an amazing public transport system but what if you just don’t know how it works. Always figure out how travel works in the country you are moving to. Know the cost of transportation.

5.  Get used to cultural etiquette

There are plenty of things you will find out eventually but respecting the culture is a major one. In America, it is common to enter a household wearing footwear but in China, it will be considered rude. You might be required to remove your shoes.

Checklist When Moving To Another Country
Photo by Eileen Pan on Unsplash

6.  Ask for help and translation

Being an outsider, you are already worried that you might mess up the pronunciation when ordering in restaurants. Use a translator app whenever needed and ask the waiter the meaning of the dishes. As you avoid the mistake I made.

I pointed at an item from the menu and assumed I’d like it. Turns out, I’m not into entrails. No matter how good you cook an animal’s guts for me, even my people-pleasing self wouldn’t be able to eat for the sake of it.

Checklist When Moving To Another Country
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

7.  Have a backup

The hard truth about life is it’s never predictable. You thought you’d love living alone in the rainforests of Australia with your books and dog. What if it just doesn’t feel right when you move? Have your emergency funds ready, make new friends, maintain relationships back home, and have a support crew to rely on during need.

You have thought this through. If you are looking at any possible problems, it means you are just double-checking your plans. Reassuring is great but don’t let it stop you.

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Checklist When Moving To Another Country

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