Before we talk about your move abroad, you should know that this page may contain affiliates. However, I will never recommend resources which I do not find helpful or useful to myself. For more information on what this means please see my Disclaimers and Policies page.
Are you feeling overwhelmed since making the decision to move abroad? There can be a lot to do before moving anywhere so it is normal to feel that way. To make this process easier, here is a complete relocation checklist of many things to consider before taking off. This post itself is organized by category.
Note: This list is tailored for Canadians moving to Australia but may help provide guidance for other nationalities.
- Start by making yourself a personal to-do list of things that you want to accomplish before you leave. For example, I really wanted to organize my bookcase. While this may not be important for you it was important for me.
2. Re-direct mail if appropriate.
3. Cancel any memberships you might have: Gym, magazines, etc. If you will not be able to access it out of country then you do not need to continue paying for it.
4. Cancel your utilities.
5. Plan for your cell phone- either cancel your plan or see if your service provider will hold your number for a small fee. If you plan on using your current phone abroad then have your service provider unlock it (Unless you bought an unlocked phone).
6. If you have a pet, find someone to care for them and budget for some expenses before you leave. For example, if you leave $250 for an unexpected veterinary bill now, it will be less stressful than when you are on the road. Plus, if this does not come up then you will have a little extra money when you return.
7. Sell vehicle & cancel insurance.
8. Sell or giveaway belongings. Extra travel funds!
9. Store any belongings you want to keep.
10. Give your current employment ample notice that you will be leaving. This is especially important if you may want to use them as a reference or be re-hired once you return. Do not burn bridges.
11. Clean your place up! If you plan on returning to the same house after your trip, make sure your personal space is clean. It is nice to come home to.
12. Make sure that your driver’s license won’t expire when you are gone. If it does then replace it before you go. On that note…
13. Get an International Drivers Permit- AMA offers these. They are valid for up to one year and may be especially important if you are planning on driving after moving abroad. So far this has not come up in Australia but if you plan on travelling else where during or after your time it could be useful.
14. Having a will can help ensure that your belongings make their way to your preferred person in the event something does go awry in life.
Financials Before You Move Abroad:
15. Save $5000 for support funds.
16. Notify your bank. This is always important if you are travelling but especially important when planning on living abroad as you will need these funds to get settled until you open a bank account in your new city.
17. Consider getting a small amount of local currency. While exchange rates are always better on the ground, having a bit of cash will help you if you run into issues with your card.
18. If you have student loans through the Canadian government you may be eligible to put them into repayment. This essentially means you won’t have to make payments for six months. At which time you would re-apply. Of course, having no debt is the best option.
19. Pay off your credit card if you can.
20. Calculate mandatory expenses before you leave and consider leaving the funds in your bank account separate from your $5000. This may help relieve stress on the road as your earned funds will likely be deposited into your Australian bank account.
21. Eye exam & order contacts or new glasses if relevant.
22. Dental exam, if you have coverage currently or can afford it. Especially if you have coverage through your current employer.
23. Have your yearly physical. Fill any prescriptions that you take regularly. If it is something that cannot be filled for a full year, consider asking for a doctor note to take with you. Unexpected health concerns can cause issues with a move abroad, so it is best to attempt to resolve these ahead of time.
24. Visit the traveller’s clinic to get up to date on vaccinations. This is especially important if you plan on visiting any other countries on your trip. This should be done in advance as some vaccinations can be a process.
Packing Before you Move Abroad:
25. Start by creating a packing list in advance. Packing will go much smoother if you have already spent a few weeks thinking about what to take with you.
26. Pack essentials in your carry-on. For example, prescriptions, contacts, anything that you could not live without for the first week if you had to. Plus, any electronics that you don’t want getting lost.
27. Packing for a year is a bit difficult. If you have not worn something in the last year of your life anyway, you definitely won’t need it there. Plus, if you do pack inappropriately, you will always be able to pick up clothing appropriate for the conditions in your new country. For example, if you do not pack for cold weather and then find the climate leaves you longing for a sweater, odds are good that you will be able to find a sweater there. Underpack!
28. Your adaptors will not work overseas. Pack a converter.
29. Something small that reminds you of home; whether it is a framed photo of your family or friends. It might help if homesickness hits.
30. Print out all communication that you have had with the Australian government and bring this on the plane with you. You might not have WIFI at the border to pull this up on your phone.
Before You Go:
31. Renew your passport, if necessary, before applying for visas.
32. Apply for your Working Holiday Visa (Or relevant visa).
33. Book flights. Skyscanner is my number one go-to,
34. Take note of your layovers and ensure that you will not need a visa to stop there. A friend of mine had the unfortunate experience of not planning for this and was not allowed on her plane to Australia as one of the layover countries required her to have a visa.
35. Book accommodations for the first few weeks. If you’re like me and do not have much of a plan, this is still vital because once you land and are victim to jetlag, you will crave the place to stay. Make sure they have air conditioning & Wi-Fi. You’ll need both.
36. Arrange travel insurance. World Nomads is what I have gone with as they offer coverage for a variety of workplaces.
37. Copy important documents- banking information, your passport, etc. Keep a digital copy and a hard copy.
Being Connected When you Move Abroad:
39. Throw yourself a going away party.
40. While social media does keep us connected. It may be helpful to write down names and phone numbers of the important people in your life, should something happen to your phone.
41. Join some online communities- there are a variety of Australian Backpacker Groups on Facebook. You will have to apply to most of them.
Last minute purchases:
- New SD card for pictures. Some electronics are more expensive abroad.
- Osprey Packs Farpoint 70 Travel Backpack or your backpack of choice.
- Socket converter, the plug-ins are different in Australia.
- Reef safe sunscreen. Sunscreen is shockingly expensive for a country with high skin cancer concerns (At time of writing I have not had the chance to thoroughly review any products so I will not be making a recommendation yet).
- Is there a product you cannot live without? Check to see if you can get it there and if not buy some before you go.
Is there anything else that might help you move abroad? Feel free to leave it in the comments.