Hi all (y’all). I have been very vacant from my blog recently just due to life (pffft) getting in the way. Mike and I are in the process of packing up again and moving to London. Two transatlantic moves in a year, I am definitely going to go grey by the time I reach 30. The kind of grey that ages you 40 years, rather than the lovely “I meant it to look silvery” type.
SO I do feel like I can now, confidently, impart some wisdom about moving country (even in a short space of time). Here is my little checklist, so you don’t (hopefully) end up like me and reaching for a paper bag every five minutes.
First things First
Do you need a visa for your move? Because if yes, I would get on that NOW, or maybe – like – yesterday. Applying for visas is a notoriously difficult process ESPECIALLY if you are moving to the US of A. I don’t know if you watch the news, but they’re definitely not welcoming immigrants with open arms at present (yikes).
Personally speaking, I have only ever applied for an H4 visa; which I discussed briefly in an earlier blog post. This was mind-boggling enough, so my advice? Give yourself more time than you originally schedule to set up visa interviews/applications etc.
GREAT. Now you have a beautiful stamp/piece of paper that cost you a wonderful amount of £400+ that ticks a box to say that you can legally enter the country. Your next step, if your company is also not planning this for you, is to look at flights.
Be realistic about when you can fly out. If, like us, you have a small two bedroom flat that is populated by mainly £30 furniture that you have zero emotional attachment to, fab. We did manage to pack up and fly within 2 months (we even squeezed in a wedding in that time, easy peasy lemon squeazy). By realistic, I mean if that last sentence does not describe you and you instead have a four-bedroom house, sentimental furniture galore and 10 years of junk; 2 months will probably not be long enough for you to move and keep (some) of your sanity. Especially if you own your house and require to find tenants/sell. Leave yourself time- moving is exciting but not at the expense of every single ounce of your sanity. Some flight sites that I love to use are:
For advice on when to book (timing really does matter) and scoring the cheapest deals, check out blogs like Smarter Travel.
Once you have your flights booked, spreadsheet your next moves (I love a good spreadsheet) and move through the rooms in your current home one by one. It’s also a good idea to order an abundance of boxes, bubble wrap, tape (the industrial strength type), fragile stickers, aaaaaaaaall the bin bags, etc. I find Amazon next day delivery amazing for that sort of stuff but order asap so that you can start the packing process immediately. Don’t hang off until the last week thinking ‘well I might need to use this before we leave’ NO, don’t do that to yourself. Worst comes to worst, you can order paper plates/cups, skip the microwave rice and eat takeaway for a week. Just do NOT leave packing till the weekend before, I still have nightmares about the weekend before we left.
Working through room by room, have a keep it, store it and chuck it pile. Be strict, don’t move onto the next room before you finish with one.
Long term storage is surprisingly expensive so if you are like us and a pair of 20-somethings scraping by to their next paycheck, it’s not a realistic option (in my opinion). However, it is an option that is there click here for some advice on storage. Do you maybe have some friends or family that would store things for you?
Be STRICT. You really don’t need your university notes from 4 years ago (Emma). Also, don’t be that person that leaves their mattress/sofa/whole life on the pavement hoping someone else will pick it up. Yuck. Google your local council – sometimes they will schedule pickups for large items. Other options are: sell it on facebook marketplace/craigslist/Gumtree OR charities such as Goodwill/British Heart Foundation will schedule pickups for large items too. Also, if you really have no other option, break it down and pack it up into the car, drive to the nearest dump/landfill centre and offload there. You have zero excuses to be that person.
DO buy a luggage scale (here’s one we invested in). I think I mentioned it previously, but we arrived at the airport to find we were 20kg over our limit with a charge of £10 per kg over, sob sob sob. Bubble wrap the breakables and be ruthless about what clothes you are taking. If the destination is 42 Celsius the majority of the time, you don’t need 6 woolly coats. Remember, little things like cutlery, pots and pans etc can be bought cheaply over there (I can vouch for the Amazon home essentials!).
NEXT: If your new employer hasn’t set you up with a swanky new pad, or you aren’t lucky enough to have friends/family/a sugar daddy with a flat in your destination country, read on in my next post for accommodation chat …