So you’re making the move abroad –an exciting, yet stressful, prospect all in one. How will you know what to pack? What will you need to bring over? Who will you meet once you arrive in your new country? Sometimes a little guidance is all you need in order to begin. Here we provide the top 5 tips for a smooth transition abroad.

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1. Do your research, or hire someone who will.

This probably seems like an obvious thing to say, but every single expat you’ll ever meet will tell you that doing your research is the most important part of a big move abroad. If you find that you don’t have the time or energy to do so, it might be worth it to invest in hiring a relocation agent. A relocation service will help you to get settled into a new place, show you shopping centers and other important services in your neighborhood, and will even assist you in setting up a bank account and finding a good insurance company to work with.

2. Tossing your appliances, and other things.

Know what to bring and what to leave behind. Some items will be cheaper to re-purchase abroad instead of paying for the cost of shipment, such as appliances. Consider the voltage and plug variations between your current country and prospective new home: electrical items like blow-dryers and mixers not only take up space, but they also may not work with voltage restrictions abroad, so donate or sell these items before you leave. If you’re moving away for less than a year, consider renting a storage space for your larger items; however, if you’ll be gone for over 12-months-time, use the move as an opportunity for some heavy spring cleaning!

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3. Choose the right moving company.

Talk to fellow expats to find out which moving companies your companions used. Post ads of expat forums, e-mail friends, and check on websites like CouchSurfing. Once the suggestions start funneling in, call the moving companies for estimates, then further narrow down your selection by checking to see if the companies belong to trade organizations which will make them subject to regulations of your home country. Also, check how long the moving company has been in business to make sure you’re hiring a reputable, well-known firm.

4. Find ways to meet new people.

Expats agree that the best way to meet new people in a new place is to take a class or join a gym. Language lessons, art classes, sports clubs –all  are excellent environments to meet like-minded people! Relocation services could come in handy, but if you don’t want to invest in that, then take to the internet to research expat hang-outs.

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5. Settle things at home before settling abroad.

Before heading out the door with packed bags in tow, be sure you’ve reviewed little details at home before making the move abroad. Close down your US bank accounts or give them a change of address; call your financial institutions to inform them you may be using your credit cards abroad; set up a mail service at home to receive mail for you should you not plan on settling down for some time. Such services may charge a fee, but it will be worth it as you’ll be in constant connection with these stand-in mailboxes: asking them to open or scan the contents, shred or recycle unwanted letters, hold your mail for you, or ship it to wherever in the world you may be.

Of course, the most important step to fully prepare for your move abroad needs no introduction: learn the native language of your prospective country. Not only will a handy vocabulary make for a smoother move, but it will allow you to acclimate to the culture and country much quicker as well. Check out Language Trainers’ language courses and contact us to see how you can get started before saying bon voyage! to an exciting new future.

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