things to do before you move abroad

The 4 Most Important Things to Do Before You Move Abroad

Once you’ve decided to leave your home country and start a new life abroad, working out the logistics can seem like a never-ending task. Getting everything set up can be hard, especially if you don’t know anyone who’s done the same thing.

We’ve put together a checklist of things to do before you move abroad to make the transition seem like a breeze. Print out and cross off this to-do list as you go. Once you’ve got these in under your belt, you can sit back, relax and start planning for the future. Let’s go!

1) Make Job Contacts

If you’re not planning to just travel, and you’re not transferring with your current company, you’ll need a way to make money as soon as you land in your new country. There are plenty of avenues to take that will help you find a job, fast: contact recruiters in the country through LinkedIn; offer services as an au pair (if you want to au pair in China, let Jessica help you here); put up ‘looking for work’ ads in the local newspaper; teach English (again, Jessica can help you with that here!); scour job listing websites for the town you plan to live in.


If teaching English abroad is your thing, Jessica can help you get started, whether it’s teaching English online while you continue to explore new countries, or teaching English on short-term contracts, one country at a time. Contact her today!


If you have some back-up cash, you might get away with ‘chancing it’, and waiting until you get there to approach local bars and cafes for work. You’ll have no problems finding a job once you’re there, as necessity and the excitement of being in a new place will mean that you lose your inhibitions and put yourself out there way more than normal.

2) Find a Place to Live

things to do before you move abroad

Again, unless you have some savings, you’re best off finding a place after you have confirmation of a job. This means you can find the best accommodation for you near where you’ll be working. This is also a good idea so that you can view places before you agree to put down a deposit. Doing this purely online is dodgy – pictures on the Internet can be misleading.

Find good accommodation through friends or other contacts if possible – it’s always best to get information from people in the know. If you’re going in totally blind, contact local estate agents or find vacancies in house-shares. Try JustLanded.com, which helps expats find housing in multiple countries.

If you want to have something arranged before you go, I recommend booking a few nights to a week in a hotel (see here for best rates) or on Airbnb (use this link for $40 off your first trip!) until you can get acquainted with the area and find something more long-term. Others recommend CouchSurfing.com for free accommodation, introduction into your new way of life from a local, and great inside knowledge on jobs and so forth from your host.

3) Set Up a Local Bank Account

The first step to start managing your money abroad is to set up a local bank account. This is how you’ll pay rent, bills and other outgoings, so it is a really important step after housing and employment. Alternatively, you could sign up for a free online checking account with Charles Schwab, where there are no international ATM fees.

If your family at home want to send you some money to get you going, use the Pangea Money Transfer app. People at home can send money straight from their bank account to yours, within 15 different countries. With just a few clicks, the money lands in your new bank account instantly. This is, by far, the easiest and safest method to transfer money from home and vice versa.

4) Learn Some Basic Lingo

things to do before you move abroad

If you’re moving where English isn’t the primary language, load up with books and apps to help you learn before you arrive. You obviously won’t be fluent straight away, but knowing basic phrases and polite greetings ensures you can strike up conversations and learn in no time.

Aim to learn these simple phrases to start:

  • Please / thank you
  • Hello / goodbye
  • How to ask for directions
  • ‘What’s the time?’
  • ‘How are you?’
  • ‘My name is…’

Try practicing these as soon as you get there, even if you know the time and where you’re going! Work out translating the reply in your head and you’ll be able to converse in a flash. YouTube is an amazing free resource for people learning languages – you can practice your pronunciation by copying native speakers.

Living in a house, flat-share or couch surfing with locals will also provide a massive boost to your new vocabulary. Consider these benefits before you gravitate towards living with other expats.


This is a guest post. This post uses affiliate links, which means that should you click through to one of my suggested sites, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

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