Tips for moving country! The top stresses in life are a new job and a new house. What do you do when you are dealing with both at the same time while also factoring in a 4000-mile distance? I took a placement year during my university degree where I moved to Orlando for a year, and then after my degree, I moved to New York. Whilst I am no expert in an international move, I know a thing or two.
Ever since finding out that I had to move out of New York, I started planning on how I would consolidate the amount I accumulated. Since I moved to NYC I had accumulated a lot. From sample sales to plants, I came with one suitcase and I somehow left with four. This is including multiple trips home where I swapped out winter and summer wardrobes but I somehow still managed to end up with a small houses’ worth of possessions.
I put all near-empty cosmetics on a separate shelf so that I would use them first. Cosmetics always seem to be deceptively heavy. I also became ruthless with what I wanted to keep, asking myself questions to help prompt a decision.
- When did I last use it?
- Does it bring me joy?
- Is it worth the luggage space?
I used the same concept for clothing, all haggard work clothes I threw away or donated. If you are giving, it is a lot easier to let go of because you know that it is going to a good home. I also really got into ranger rolling EVERYTHING and then using packing cubes to keep everything organised. Not only does it really help unpack when you arrive at your destination, it aesthetically makes me feel like I have my life together.
I also used a service to send some of my suitcases home called sendmybag. It is a service that will literally post a suitcase home for roughly the same price as an oversized suitcase at the airport. This meant that my bags arrived before I did and it was a door to door service (I lived in a 6-floor walk-up so you can imagine how useful that was). You can use my affiliate code here for 5% off!
2. Think of the initial journey
The idea of dragging all of my possessions down my six-floor walk-up apartment into a Uber and slugging it to JFK was already giving me nightmares. Luckily, my boyfriend visited towards the end of my year and I sent a suitcase with all my winter wear home with him (conveniently all of the heavy stuff). It would be one less suitcase to lug around and I will be ordering an Uber XL so that all of my items will fit.
I booked with Virgin Atlantic and with the air miles that I had accrued from flying back and forth from Orlando. I managed to book a premium flight at a fraction of the cost. Now premium with Virgin is in no way first class, but it does allow you to have two suitcases to check in as luggage. Premium also has a dedicated check-in desk so that you do not have to wait in line. I booked a red-eye flight so the extra comfortable chairs and a mimosa upon arrival ensured that I arrive refreshed, and ready to tackle a new life in the UK.
3. Don’t Let It Overwhelm You
Upon hearing that my visa was not approved, I initially fell into free fall. Slipping in and out of panic and phoning my mum every day to try to gain control of my life. I am all about structure, and I need “next steps” always. When I do not know what is happening, I feel myself losing control, and I go into flight or fight.
I started with the basics, I redid my resume and started looking for opportunities. I read a book recently called Big Magic, and there was great advice for when you are scared or nervous about something. Just keep repeating to yourself “I’m excited, I’m excited, I’m excited“. Your mind switches and you start to become excited.
Start interviewing and researching where you are. For me, I became fixated on finding a car. I was sending links to friend and family for weeks and weeks before even moving. I was so desperate for everything to be in place when I got home. There is no rush, research, but do not be so hard on yourself. It will all fall together eventually.
4. Moving Country, Make Plans
Start making plans immediately, connect with new and old friends. Plan an arriving or leaving party or both. Start looking at networking events in the area. There are a lot more people in the same boat than you would realise and moving country can be lonely business. For the first two weeks when I moved and lived in Orlando, I was so panicked. In the end, I just had to force myself to sit by the pool and start talking to people. I did not give up so easily and those people have become close friends that I have seen every year since.
Just save, it is something that should be on your radar anyway. When you are moving country, you will not have the same support network as back home. You need to be ready for every eventuality because it will happen. I struggle with saving a lot, and I have to try to be very strict with myself.
For me, money needs to be moved to an account that I cannot get too. I suffer from lifestyle inflation (1st world problem, I know) but the minute I start earning more, I start spending more. It is something I try to keep it under control. I have been using apps like Qapital as well as my Monzo account. It lets me round-up for savings and moves it into a separate account.
A great post that I wrote last year on making financial decisions might help, you can find it here.
Moving abroad does not have to be scary. Just remember “you’re excited, you’re excited, you’re excited”.
I hope you enjoyed these tips for moving country and remember, Stay Fabulous!