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Should it stay or should it go? 5 things to consider when moving abroad

Living in a foreign country is increasingly popular. Near-universal access to the Internet allows freelancers and retirees to stay in contact from the other side of the world like never before. And businesses still require employees with international experience.

moving abroad

If you plan to move abroad, you will face the temptation to transplant your old life to your new home. But is that always the right choice? Let’s take a look at things you ought to consider when deciding what to ship internationally.

How long will you be away?

The decision is easy if you have a short-term assignment. There is little point in shipping more than the bare necessities for a six-month or even a twelve-month stay. Use containerised storage to keep your household goods safe and secure at home while abroad. Consider a furnished residence at your destination rather than investing in furniture that you will leave behind.

When you know your foreign stay will span several years, however, the definition of necessities expands. Having the family photos and the box of holiday decorations and the vinyl collection suddenly becomes much more important. A standard twenty-foot shipping container will hold the furniture and personal effects of a three-bedroom home. Include your car and other large items by choosing a forty-foot container.

What is your budget?

Planning a move to another country is exciting. Planning your budget is not. Yet a careful consideration of your means and expenses is essential. Relocation is stressful enough. Making the correct financial decisions lets you start your international life on the right foot. The cost of a move can start from £1,500 but the actual cost depends on many variables including:

·         How much will you relocate?

·         Where will you move?

·         How quickly must everything arrive?

The relocation specialists at John Mason International have a comprehensive guide to shipping costs. It will give you a first approximation of what to expect. When you need a more precise quote you can schedule an appointment with John Mason’s surveyors - or film the objects you wish to move with their video quote app!

How will right-size your life abroad?

We all form habits and one of the strongest are the routines we follow in our daily lives. You are accustomed to living in a certain way. But will you live that way abroad?

The possessions that crowd a one-bedroom flat in the centre of London will hardly fill a four-bedroom house in Los Angeles. On the other hand, even the smallest treasures from your detached house in Milton Keynes could soon clutter a sky-rise flat in Singapore.

Use the Internet to study the housing, transport, and shopping options in your destination. Better yet, contact an estate agent who understands expats’ needs. Then take a careful inventory of your present lifestyle before deciding what objects to ship and what objects to store.

Are you ready to adapt?

Living abroad will change you - that is its appeal. Plan for the culture and environment of your future home. The personal effects that accessorize your life in Britain may be inconvenient - or essential - for your life in another country.

Whilst a fashion-forward wardrobe may get little use if you embrace Malta’s island lifestyle, it will be essential should you dive into Dubai’s cosmopolitan culture and nightlife. By the same token, your winter coats and cardigans will be essential in Toronto but useless in Bangkok!

Parents will bring their own source of constant change. Shipping a playroom full of toys may keep children distracted shortly after the move. But how soon will the children outgrow and cast aside those same toys?

Is this an adventure for everyone?

The disruption and challenges of living in a foreign land can be intense. Perhaps you need a sanctuary – your own piece of Britain – where you and your family can decompress when life in a strange land becomes too much. Shipping certain of your household goods will create a familiar environment that can ease homesickness. At the same time, it will let you share your own culture with your local friends. After all, you are as foreign to them as they are to you.

Of course living abroad can be a great adventure for everyone and a chance to start with a blank slate. Use air freight for those few items you cannot carry with you. Then embrace the local culture in your new home. Furnish your life with new experiences and new treasures that you can bring back with you when you return home.

Before you take off

Please contact us if you believe information on this page is incorrect, misleading or offensive, or if something important is missing.

The International Wanderer aims to provide you with up to date and accurate information. However, content is submitted by writers/wanderers from all over the globe. Sometimes we will get it wrong. Furthermore, working holiday and other visa opportunities and requirements (or numbers allocated) may change. New working holiday agreements are constantly being negotiated between countries. We suggest that you contact the nearest consulate or embassy of the country you wish to visit to ensure you have the most recent and accurate information. For further information about this website see our Terms & Conditions.