Anyone whose already spent time living or travelling abroad will know that there is an enormous amount of pre-planning involved. With my departure to Melbourne happening in just 6 weeks time, I’ve been putting my organisational side to good use by writing countless lists, notes and spreadsheets to ensure I feel prepared for the move. As a borderline control freak, it’s important that I feel on top of everything and avoid any last minute panics (particularly those that happen at the airport)!
Since deciding to move abroad at the beginning of this year, I’ve been adding to my to-do lists almost daily. This has made the trip feel both more real and more exciting. I wanted to share my pre-departure to-do list to give an idea of how I’ve been getting more organised over these past 3 months, however you can always spread this out over a longer time frame to make it more manageable if needed.
- Passport – Check your passport is valid and has at least 6 months remaining from the time you land in your end destination. Mine was set to expire in June, so the first thing I did was renew my passport. Make sure you do this before you organise your visa as otherwise you’ll need to transfer the visa from your old to new passport and this can take time.
- Visa – Depending on what visa you’re travelling on, this may be something that you need to organise and pay for yourself. I’m going to Australia on a Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) which is a visa open to British Citizen’s between the ages of 18-31.
- Book Flights – By far the most exciting part of the process is booking your fights, or in my case a one-way ticket. My tip would be to do this after you’ve organised your visa (to make sure there are no issues on that front first), but doing it as far ahead as possible means you’ll get cheaper deals. Always check flight deals on an incognito browser tab or delete your cookies so that prices don’t go up based on your searches.
- Sell Sell Sell – As mentioned in my recent How To Pack Your Life Into One Suitcase post, you’ll have a very restricted weight limit which means you’ll find many of your belongings will need to be donated or sold. I’d recommend starting this process early as it’s much more manageable to do these things little by little and some items can take longer to sell. I’m using Depop and you can check what I’m selling here.
- Prepare CV – If like me you’re planning on working whilst you’re away, you’ll need to make sure your CV is up to scratch. I’ve been working in Digital Media for the past 7 years and am therefore looking to continue my career in Melbourne. I’ve been reaching out to as many of my Melbourne-based contacts as I can, as well as arranging calls with recruiters to make finding a job is as quick and seamless as possible.
- Rental Notice – If you rent a property you’ll need to make sure you give enough notice of your intention to leave. For most places this is just a month but check your contract and make sure you give enough time so that you’re not paying for any longer than is necessary. I moved out of my flat this weekend and am now living with my sister for 6 weeks to save as much money as possible before I go.
- Research Suburbs – Despite travelling with my Australian boyfriend, the move is new for both of us as he’s from Brisbane originally which means he’s not a Melbourne expert. Researching the different areas we could live, and the likely areas I might be working (Southbank and CBD) means I’m able to get a feel for the city and an understanding on where might be good for us to rent initially.
- Book Arrival Accomodation – When you first land in another country, particularly after a long-haul flight, it’s advisable to have your accomodation sorted – if only for the first few days. We’ve booked a gorgeous Airbnb in Melbourne for 3 days after we land, before we head over to the Gold Coast for a 3 week holiday. Airbnb often have weekly or monthly discounts so if you need to stay for longer periods this can really help cut costs.
- Open a Bank Account – Depending on what country you go to, you may be able to open a bank account before you arrive. Australia makes this process really easy as you’re able to open an account up to 3 months before you arrive which will minimise any delays getting paid once you start work. I opened my Australian bank account last week and just need to turn up with my passport when I arrive to pick up my bank card.
- Unlock Phone – One of the first things you’ll need when you land in a new country is a working phone as you’ll want to let family and friends know you’re safe, as well as make and receive calls in order to secure a job or property. If you have a contract phone, you may need to buy out of your contract before you go. I was lucky as my phone contract ends in May so I just asked my provider to unlock my phone which took 10 days, and now I’m able to buy a sim card when I arrive and use my phone with no issues.
- Change Mailing Address – As you’ll no longer be living in the UK, you’ll want to make sure any post you do get is sent somewhere safe that you’ll be able to access. Where I can, I’ve ticked the ‘online’ box to minimise the amount of post I’m likely to receive, however for anything else I’ll be having it sent to a family address. Royal Mail do a good postal redirection service that will automatically forward any mail from your old address to your new address (UK only) for a small fee (approximately £30 for 3 months).
- Cancel Bills – Once you’ve moved out of your home you’ll need to cancel any utilities or internet bills, as well as things that you won’t be using anymore like your gym membership. For utilities, you’ll just need to provide an up to date reading before you leave the property, however for other bills there may be a delay so make sure you leave at least a month to investigate this to make sure you’re able to cancel in time.
- Copy Important Docs – One of the many little wisdoms my Dad taught me was to make copies of important documents and to have both physical and online copies of these documents with you. These typically need to be things like your birth certificate, passport and bank statement copies – anything you might need to help get you up and running when you arrive.