Moving Abroad: What to do then?

So the basics are sorted. You feel happy about the move. What happens next?

Keep open communication with the employer (if you have one or anyone involved in helping you getting there).

This is really important as it allows you to continue iron any issues or difficulties, or just to keep in touch. They have employed you, they are looking forward to have you working with them so keep the momentum going. It may help understanding any issues that will come up in your job. It may also help in keeping you excited about the move.


You will have to make decisions about the move in more practical terms and explore different options. We made a number of decisions along the way, prior to the move. We decided we wanted to arrive in Australia in a house (not a hotel) because we felt it would be easier to manage with the kids. We also decided to all come together. I could have stayed in the UK with the kids for a couple of months before everything was completed and sorted (sell of the house, secure a rental in Australia that we chose ourselves) but we felt that we wanted to be all together, at the same time, living the same adventure, settling in all at the same time. As the academic year starts in February in Australia, we also wanted the children to be in schools as early as possible in their new school year so they would miss too much and would settle in their year groups at the same time as everyone else. These decisions may be different for every family. I suppose it is just important to explore all the different options, analyse them and then the best and most informed decision at the time.

Here are some of the key decisions:

  • How do we get there? Not just for the plane journey, but also other means of transport from and to the airports. Think that you will have a number of suitcases with you and that you may not be able to take the train, or may need a bigger car to transport you to the airport. Same issues apply if you are moving to a different European country.
  • When do we need to go? Although you may have an idea of a date in mind, it would be foolish to book plane tickets before your visa arrives. Your employer may want you there as soon as possible, but there is the visa process to go through. You also may need to give your resignation and work a period notice. Also think about settlement periods with selling a house and whether you will be needed in the country for any particular reasons. It may be that you wait for the visas, with a date in mind, and then as soon as these arrive, you need to move quickly. Be prepared to move quickly. Everthing then tends to be on standby for a bit, with ifs and buts.
  • How and where will we live initially? A rented house, flat, friend’s house, relatives, hotel, youth hostel, B&B? Where? Within a specific catchment for schools? Who can help in visiting a house for you?
  • Do you feel you need to go on a familiarisation visit prior to moving? I found our familiarisation visit particularly essential to our move and the subsequent decisions we made. There was an area we really liked and we decided to focus our search for a house there. I was able to get a feel for the area, meet people and pick up lots of information for the children. I discussed our familiarisation visit in another post Familiarisation Visit: What to do and think about
  • What type of furniture do I need initially? If any? How will you sleep? On camping mattresses? In beds, borrowed or purchased? Initially we were on camping mattresses and this was absolutely fine, an adventure. Overtime, it became a problem due to comfort…10 weeks on camping mattresses is a long time. We chose to purchase a cheap double bed on a local internet site that we will resell. We borrowed single beds from friends. My little one had outgrown and was ready with a junior bed, I had sold his cot before leaving so I purchased a new bed for him not long after we arrived.  We were given sofas and bought a table and chairs from a charity shop. We lived with very little furniture for 10 weeks, an adventure. Think about furniture you want to keep or sell and then you can purchase new pieces as soon as you arrive in the country if you know it will not come on the container. We colour coded furniture in the house with stickers, green/coming with us, yellow not sure/could go and red/selling/charity shop/donations. This really helped shape our initial decisions.

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