Moving to Another Country? Start Here.

Moving to another country is always exciting, no matter the reason. Contrary to what you might believe from looking at Facebook, most people don't move overseas because they don't like the current candidates for president. People relocate for jobs or to be closer to the family. Men and women in the military can get stationed overseas at any time.

Will you learn new things, explore new horizons, and become a more interesting person when you relocate to another country? Sure! Will getting there be easy? Probably not. So get started as soon as you can.

If you're in the military, decide if you'll move with TMO or DIY.

For a military family, moving OCONUS (outside the continental US) is different than it is for a civilian. Decide if you're going to go TMO, meaning that you'll let the military move you, or will you try DIY (do-it-yourself). Why would you do it yourself when someone will do it for you? Because you can save money. If you move yourself, the military may pay you up to 95 percent of what they would spend to do it for you. If you have time to do some research and if you feel confident you can make the move yourself, this can be a great option. Ask around, in person and in online military communities, to see if anyone has made a similar move and can offer some solid advice. 

You should also contact the TMO (Travel Management Office) on your current base to find out more about your options.

Not in the military? Find out how much your employer might cover and what expenses will be covered.

If you're moving for work and your employer offers moving benefits, make sure you take advantage of them. You may be pleasantly surprised at what your employer will cover and you may be able to negotiate for more.

Make sure your documents are in order.

If you're in the military, it'll probably be easier to find out exactly what documents you'll need to move overseas, though it can be more complicated for your family, so make sure you have everything in order. Not in the military? Make sure your passport is updated and find out what visas if any, you need to move and work in another country.

Get organized.

If there was ever a time to get rid of what you don't need or want, this is it. You don't want to replace everything because you'll just have to buy it again, but if there are things you haven't used in months or years, they don't need to come with you. The less you have to move, the easier and less expensive your move will be.

Consider storage if your move may not be permanent.

Storage can be expensive, especially if you're storing artwork or furniture that's susceptible to heat or cold. You pay more for climate control. Your grandparents' antique wardrobe that ways a ton might be worth storing because it will be expensive to move and you may not know if it'll fit in your new space. But that freezer in the garage? Sell it on Craigslist or give it to a neighbor. And if you come back sooner than expected, buy another one on Craigslist.

If you own your home, decide whether to sell or keep it and rent it out.

If you aren't buying a home in your new location, you might want to keep the place you own now. Keep in mind that it may not be easy to effectively manage your own property from far away. Do a little research before you become a landlord.

Find out what happens when you arrive.

Don't get so preoccupied with getting there that you forget to learn about local housing and rules. You'll enjoy exploring a new culture, trying new food, and making new traditions in your new country, but you'll need to follow the rules while you're there. In addition to finding out local laws and learning about practical things like schools for your kids and which neighborhoods you might like, you'll probably want to learn more about manners and other cultural norms before you arrive.

Don't just hit the library and the internet. Seek out people in your current area who came from your new home or who have lived there. Learn from their experience and you'll be making your own memories soon.

Bon, voyage!