Moving, it’s often deemed quite stressful. And moving abroad? Phewee, most people think that they need a long holiday after just considering moving to another country!
Many websites like to make light of the “epic fails” of a move that’s gone badly wrong, to teach families what to avoid when preparing to relocate. It’s sometimes tragic to read the ones which tug on your heart strings because nice people have gotten themselves into bother.
But we here at Indalo Transport are providing a practical solution!
As experts in the removals industry, and as a team made up of expats, we know a LOT about moving, not just from helping others relocate, but from personal experience too. People wanting to move home or become expats don’t want horror stories about moves which have gone wrong, what they need at a time like this is, drum roll, please … a Checklist!
Now it may not come across as a glamorous solution, and we’ll admit it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles on it you’d expect from a 21st-century recommendation, but this humble list will work wonders for your move, just like Bob Geldof at a Live Aid concert.
(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)
Indalo Transport’s Indispensable Free Moving Checklist
Our handy checklist covers every possible angle of making your move the dream it should be, rather than the nightmare it could be.
Click on the checklist picture above to
- open it in a new window as a printable pdf file, and
- save to your computer to print out whenever you want.
Or just read it directly in the window below.move_list201604
After you’ve used our checklist and the last box is ticked, we promise that you’ll feel relieved, happy and excited about stepping onto the plane, or driving onto the ferry to start your new life abroad.
Below you’ll find that we’ve highlighted and gone into more detail about some of the things which we consider very important when planning a move.
Obviously, we believe that one of the most important things to get right is choosing the right removal company – and we are a bit biased for obvious reasons! Read on for other important things to consider.
Plan how you’re going to settle into your new home
It may sound strange thinking about this now, but it’s worth asking yourself “How am I going to bring a sense of normality back to my life in the initial days and weeks after I’ve moved?”
This step is crucial for those becoming expats because, asking this now when you’ve got the time to answer it, means you can research your new town/city, start learning or boning up on the local language and picking up tips from other expats about how to adjust to the new and exciting local culture.
You’ll know when you’ve truly started your expat adventure once you’ve joined a facebook group or expat forum, downloaded a language app to listen to whilst you’re cooking dinner, or you’ve realised that hours have gone by whilst you were perusing the internet for blog posts in the hopes that one of them will reveal a new thrilling secret of your new hometown.
This feeling can be quite contagious and it’s a great thing to do as a family, so if you have them, get the kids involved in the planning too.
There are two certainties in life …
And yes, tax is one of them! It’s very important that you notify the tax authorities, i.e. HMRC, that you’re planning to relocate abroad. If you don’t contact them, you may have to pay additional taxes which, as an expat, you’d be exempt from otherwise.
So don’t waste money, use the government’s handy online service, or alternatively pick up a P85 form from your local Post Office and complete the required information. Don’t miss out on your tax relief!
Make sure you and all members of your family have their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
European countries require their citizens to purchase health insurance, so it’s always worth applying for a free EHIC to assist you with reduced health care costs once you’ve become an expat. This is only a short-term measure, though, you will need to take out proper insurance once you’ve settled.
Driving in a European Country
If you’re planning to pack your bags into your car, hop on a ferry and drive to meet your belongings at your new home, it’s always worth finding out what the local driving laws are for each country you drive through. Most European countries require you to have the following items in your car at all times:
- GB Sticker on the bumper of your car (unless your car’s number plate has the GB flag on it)
- 2 Safety Warning Triangles
- High Visibility Jacket (must be kept in the car, not the boot)
- 2 Breathalyzer Kits – for France only
- First Aid Kit
- Headlamp Adjusters (some newer models of car can be adjusted so their headlamps don’t shine in the faces of European drivers, others you can buy special headlamp stickers which reflect the light away)
For more information, the AA has come up with a very handy, country by country guide.
There is also an useful Indalo Transport blogpost detailing the legal requirements for Spain
Setting up an International Bank Account
It’s always worth leaving your UK bank account open, just in case you ever need to return to the country. And you can also use it if you want to buy things in the UK and get them delivered to you in Spain with our depot delivery service.
However, using your UK account to conduct money transfers and currency exchanges in your new home abroad isn’t really a viable option, and the charges can be horrendous!
Instead, we highly recommend that, before you move, you open an International bank account either online or at your local branch. Most UK banks have these types of accounts available and can easily switch or upgrade you to the benefits of having an IBA. Stay tuned because, in the coming weeks, we’ll be rounding up a list of the top International bank accounts an expat has to choose from right now.
It can also be a good idea to consider opening a bank account in the country where you are going to live, as this is a good way to take care of any regular payments you’ll need to make in your new country.
To do this, once you move, choose a local bank in the following way :- visit a few and ask some questions, in English, about their services. Open an account with the one where you get the most helpful replies, oh and don’t pay too much attention to the bank charges – in Spain, every bank has a quarterly charge just to have an account!
So there you have it, a handy checklist which you can print off and keep in your moving binder, and some very useful information on driving abroad, how to get a health card which you’re entitled to claim for free, and some info on dealing with finances as an expat.