For many, moving abroad is a dream thought of for many years before it finally gets fulfilled. For others, it is a spur-of-the-moment decision made because of a breakup, lucrative job opportunity, or just the yearning for a new adventure. Long-distance moving will be either a rewarding or disastrous experience that is generally dictated by the amount of preparation that goes into the event. Although there are dozens of things you will need to take care of, below are five tasks that should be your primary focus.

Make Sure You Have Enough Money to Move Overseas

If you are moving abroad for a job then maybe your expenses will be taken care of, and you won’t need a lot of money saved up. If not, you must have enough money to comfortably make the move. Destination, desired housing, transportation, cost of long-distance movers, and the type of lifestyle you want will dictate the amount of money you need.

Carefully Choose Long Distance Movers for your International Move

Moving abroad demands that you put some serious thought into the long-distance movers you hire. The potential for hiccups along the way is very high. These professionals should be carefully selected. Keep in mind that even moving to Canada will require long-distance movers permitted to transport belongings over the border.

Handle Your Paperwork

Few people are fully prepared for the vast amount of paperwork required for long-distance moving out of the country. A few things you may need include a valid visa or work permit, passport, health certificate, and vet and quarantine papers if moving with pets. In some cases, you may also need to hire an accountant who specializes in international insurance and taxation. Pensions may be affected, and your tax status could change. One of these professionals can help you avoid dealing with an unfortunate financial gap.

Health Considerations and Regulations

Regardless of where you move, health and medical regulations will need to be considered. In some cases, the differences are slight, but in other cases, they can be quite significant. You will need proof of vaccinations, which can be a job getting a copy of all in itself. You may also be required to get boosters or additional vaccinations. A few questions to make sure you know the answer to include:

  • Will you be covered by your current health insurance provider, at least for a short time until you can get a new one?
  • Do you have backups for medical appliances, contact lenses, eyeglasses, etc.?
  • If you are taking prescription medication, will you be able to get a refill right away?
  • Can any prescription medications you are currently taking be transported with you?

Get Your Finances in Order

It is not enough to have the cash to cover long-distance moving abroad expenses. For a smooth move, you need to put forth a little effort to have all your finances in line. Cross-border banking clearances may take a while to confirm. Have a bank picked out for a local account, and do the necessary paperwork ahead of time. Your current bank may be able to help you with this. If not, the U.S. State Department will.

You will need to also determine which credit cards you can use internationally. Some will charge you extra fees. Contact the cards you will be using and let them know you are moving, so someone doesn’t decide to freeze your account because of abnormal charges. You should also talk with a tax accountant, so you know where you need to file after you relocate. This will help prevent unnecessary problems down the road.