Tips for Moving Abroad for a Year -

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Tips for Moving Abroad for a Year

Moving abroad can be an exciting yet nervous time. Potential adventure is on the horizon but there’s also plenty to assess and plan.

Last month we gave an outline on what you should consider when looking to relocate permanently. Is it any different though if you are looking to just experience life overseas for a short period?

The reasons you are moving abroad may play a large part in what you need to do prior to arrival. If you are going for education purposes, it will be somewhat different to if you are moving for job reasons.

One factor that doesn’t change is the need for international healthcare, of which we will go into later. For now, let’s look at what else you will need to be fully prepared for a year abroad.

Decide where you want to live abroad

If this isn’t a work or education-based move, the world is your oyster. It is important to carry out the relevant research first though. Are you looking for year-round sun or maybe a snowy retreat? Do you plan to hold down a job for 12 months or just want to immerse yourself in the culture? Maybe you want to do a bit of both.

Before settling on an idea, look at the climate, the culture, and the job prospects. Consider the cost of living, the distance from home and the healthcare. You should investigate all of these from a shortlist of potential places you have drawn up.

Once you have weighed up the pros and cons of each destination, settle on one and begin the adventure.

Which ever options you choose, you need a place to stay so, firstly look at the renting options. What requirements does your chosen country have?

It is likely you will need your passport, bank statements, references and maybe more when trying to secure a property. Creating copies of these (where allowed) will keep you one step ahead when it comes to submitting paperwork for places that others are no doubt also applying for.

In addition to this, check if there are certain visa requirements that you may need to fulfil to enter the country.

Additional property considerations when living abroad

If you have moved abroad with no job secured, you may find it harder to find a property. Some rental agents look for proof of employment as a guarantee you are earning enough money to pay the rent. Others will not. Should it be the case that employment is required, you may have to consider hotels or hostels to start off with.

Only pack what you need for living abroad

The fact you are returning after a year means that many of your bigger belongings can stay back home. Consider hiring storage facilities or looking at family members that may be able to look after it for you. If you are in a lucky enough position to be able to keep your home whilst living abroad, nothing will need to change. If you are ending a tenancy agreement, chances are you will have many items to either store, sell or keep.

  • If there are larger furniture items that you will need to take with you, investigate international shipping. Just keep in mind that whilst shipping by sea is cheaper than by air, it does take longer. You will have to factor in the arrival dates of your belongings with your moving in date/arrival date for your new home. We would recommend a consultation with a few international couriers to get an idea of costs, ETAs and customs documents.
  • Speak to your airline to find out luggage capacities. You may be able to load more than one suitcase, meaning fewer items left behind and fewer items potentially being shipped.
  • Will you be taking your car? If so, much like the furniture, you will need to check things first. Does your current insurance cover international shipping? How much does auto shipping cost? What insurance will you need once there?

Prepare all your documents and secure a visa for living abroad

Earlier we mentioned the need for certain paperwork to help you secure a property whilst living abroad but prior to that, there are several other things that you will need. Look at the following to ensure you are fully prepared before and upon arrival:

  • Do you need a visa? Each country has varying requirements, and this can lead to confusion. The best option is to speak to the embassy of the country you are travelling to. You may also find information via your own government website. There will be fees involved and they can vary on the type of visa you are applying for and the country you are visiting. You should look at securing a visa as early as possible. Without one, you will find your entry to the country rejected.
  • Check your passport. Does it have an expiry date that is reached after you return? Is it valid now? Should it be due for expiry or have already expired you will need to apply for a new one. They can take weeks to arrive, so like with your visa, complete this process as early as possible.
  • Bring your driving licence. Whether you are bringing your own car with you or purchasing one abroad, you will need to prove you can drive. Some countries will accept your home nation driving licence. Others may request you complete driving tests. Check this when doing your research.

Organise your finances and healthcare insurance

These days, many bills are paid via direct debit. This makes for easy payments, but it also makes it easy to forget what comes out when. Look at what bills will no longer need paying back home and cancel or settle them. Gas, electricity, broadband, mobile phone, all of these make for part of your outgoings. You don’t want to keep paying for them when it’s no longer necessary!

If you are only going abroad for a short time, you should probably keep your home bank account open. Many banks offer international banking, giving you access to funds back home, but you will likely need an account set up in your new country for wages and bills.

Look at the healthcare provided in the country you are visiting. Will the tax through your wages entitle you to state healthcare? Due to your short stay, are you eligible for free healthcare? These are all questions worth investigating, so it goes without saying that healthcare insurance is very important. Procedures vary in cost per country so to avoid huge bills that may hinder the enjoyment of your time away, speak to an experienced company like Expatriate Healthcare to organize cover.

Arrange for post to be dealt with

Once you come home, you are going to want to be able to open the door! A year’s worth of mail will no doubt make that a little harder!

As you are due to return, you could have someone collect your mail for you. Alternatively, you could have it forwarded to another address, perhaps your new home abroad. Just be aware, all shipping costs for that would need to be covered by you. A further option is the use of a company that you can have your mail forwarded to. They then upload scans of all the mail to a secure online portal where you can view it and determine whether it can be shredded, archived, opened or recycled.


We hope this guide has helped somewhat with your plans to try life abroad for a year. The main thing to do is just enjoy it! This is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you. If you have any questions regarding your healthcare or perhaps you haven’t yet investigated international travel insurance, we are available to help. Contact us today for expert guidance on our full variety of insurance plans and get a free quote.


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