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Top 10 Things You Need Before Moving Overseas

top 10 things you need before moving overseasSo you've decided to move overseas. It might be temporary or it might be permanent. Whether for business, retirement or a long-term change of pace, you're heading to a foreign country to live amongst the locals for longer stay than just a typical vacation. It's not uncommon to think you have everything planned out and are ready to go, but you might be able to benefit from just a few pointers from professional travelers and expatriates.
 
Before we begin with our top 10 things you need before moving overseas, let us cover the single most important thing you can do - research. Research the area you'll be living, the neighborhood, the main supermarkets and the central areas of the town or city. Google Maps is great for this and makes it easy to create a custom map with pinpoints of particular places of importance. Familiarize yourself with the location of the closest supermarket, hospital, police station and your foreign embassy. Get a general feel for NSEW (North, South, East, West) to make it easier to orientate yourself until you become familiar via firsthand experience. You'll also want to use the most central point in the city/neighborhood and your home's location as your two points of reference, which will help familiarize you with the larger area as you learn. When you find a new point of interest, mark it on your map. You'll learn your way around more quickly by using these methods. Also, research local customs, culture, foods, holidays, and familiarize your self with the monetary exchange rate. Learning as much as possible about your destination before you depart is one of the most important steps you can take. Now, let's take a look at our top 10 things you need before moving overseas.
 

Top 10 Things You Need Before Moving Overseas

 
1. GSM Unlocked Cell Phone
Yes, we're sure you won't forget your cell phone. It'd be hard to imagine life without it; we have the whole world at our fingertips. One mistake that many travelers make is bringing along their cell that's already on contract with a service provider from their home country. This is wrong for two reasons - you're going to be charged for roaming (if it's even available), and even without roaming costs your service is going to cost more as compared to a local service in your destination country. Instead, buy a GSM Unlocked Phone from eBay or any reputable retailer of global phones. You can even get the top brands in "factory unlocked" format which means the phone isn't locked to a service provider and only needs an activated SIM card for service. Once you have your phone, purchase a SIM card on eBay for a service provider in the country where you're heading. This prevents you from trying to activate a phone in a foreign language or searching for the best service provider once you arrive. Your phone will be ready to go when you land at the airport. There's plenty of information online for setting up your phone service with a foreign SIM card. Many eBay sellers of SIM cards also provide helpful instructions for setup as well as making payments for minutes, data plans, etc. Once you're familiar with this, you'll be able to go to any country and simply purchase a local SIM card to have a fully functional smartphone. This is a huge money saver and makes you much more flexible when traveling. Heading back home next year? No problem. When you arrive, just purchase a SIM card from a local company and you're ready to go. Global flexibility is key.
 
2. Rosetta Stone
No, not the ancient artifact. Rosetta Stone is the world's premier language learning program and is used by the top institutions in the world for rapidly and effectively learning foreign languages. It's the next best thing to a personal language teacher and it allows you to learn at your own pace. The program is extremely detailed and depending on which one you buy, can teach you from a beginner's level up to a college graduate. There are a lot of language systems that claim to be the best, but in the long run, Rosetta Stone is a proven winner. It's not cheap, but it's worth every penny. Learning the local language is critical for to day-to-day life in a new country and it's also a great way to make new friends.
 
3. Lots of Clothes
When we say lots of clothes, we don't mean 3 suitcases full. However, beware that it can often be really difficult to purchase suitable clothing in a foreign land. Often times the sizes will run differently and the styles will not be what you expected. Furthermore, not all countries sell a large amount of quality clothing due to the average income, and therefor the prices can be astronomical just for a decent pair of jeans or a high-quality shirt. If there's something important to your wardrobe, bring extra in case they're not available in your destination country. A few packages of extra socks/underwear/bras are always a good idea.
 
4. Backup ATM/Credit Cards
You really don't want to imagine what it's like when you're in a foreign country, out of cash, and take a trip to the ATM only to have it malfunction and eat your card. Likewise, it's easy to lose a purse or wallet - whether on accident or to a thief. If your card is gone and you have no access to cash, you'll be in a bad situation. Furthermore, most banks don't like the idea of sending new cards overseas and even if they do, mail is not always reliable. The best bet is to ask your bank for a second card before you depart. Keep this card in a safe space in case you lose your first. If your first card has been stolen, the backup card at least allows you to quickly access an ATM for emergency cash before contacting your bank to cancel the stolen card.
 
5. Voltage Converter and Plug Adapters
Yes, different countries use different voltage. Although it may be confusing, electricity is not universal. While North American uses 120 volts, other areas of the world use 220 volts - and it's not compatible with your North American electronics. A voltage converter will change the voltage for you so you can use your electronics and personal appliances without ruining them or running the risk of fire or electrocution. Plug adapters are another important thing since the electrical outlets are not the same in foreign countries. You can't use your electronics if you can't even plug them in, right? This travel voltage converter kit is the perfect solution as it has adapters for every country and a voltage converter perfect for personal electronics and appliances, plus a high setting for things like a curling iron or hair dryer. If you're bringing more than just the basic devices along with you, you might need a voltage converter capable of handling larger appliances. For more information about voltage converters, check out this voltage converter buying guide.
 
6. Battery Backup for Cell Phone
When you're lost in a foreign country, or need to order an Uber at 1am in a not-so-safe area, you need to have enough battery to use your phone. While it seems like our phones only run out of juice at the most inconvenient times, there is a safe and easy solution - the portable battery backup charger. here handy little devices range from the size of a Bic lighter to the size of a large cell phone, depending on the type and quality. Some will give your phone a 50% boost while the more expensive (and larger) ones can fully charge your phone 3 times or more. These can be bought in any electronics store, but you'll find the best deals and selection on eBay. Some will even fit in your wallet, making them truly easy to carry at all times.
 
7. Waterproof Document Bag
Moving overseas requires paperwork. Even for vacation, you'll still need to ensure your passport is safe and dry. When living overseas, you might discover that leaky roof has unexpectedly flooded your home during a rainstorm. Maybe you drop your backpack accidentally into a fountain, or there's a minor fire in your hotel and everything is soaked by the fire sprinklers. Whatever the case is, it's better to be safe rather than sorry. A waterproof bag is an excellent place to keep your passport, identification and any important papers of permits you may have. You can easily find a waterproof document bag on eBay, some are just simple sleeves. If you really want to protect your paper valuables, you can even put your waterproof document holder inside of a fireproof storage bag. It might sound extreme, but if you care to imagine what it's like to be in a foreign country with no passport and no proof of entry..... Let's just say it's not fun and it's not cheap.
 
8. Google Translate App
The google translate app isn't a substitute for learning a language, but it can supplement your studies with Rosetta Stone, and can also make daily life much easier. One thing that's really cool about this app is its ability to translate signs. Yes, signs. Simply shot a picture and highlight the text - the app will detect and translate the text from any photo you desire. That's a really cool thing to have, and in some circumstances can even save your life. A quick example? A sign reading "Caution, Crocodiles! Do Not Enter The Water!".
 
9. WhatsApp
If you haven't already heard of it, WhatsApp is a free messenger app for your smartphone. It can be used with data or wi-fi, making it a cheap and effective way to communicate without wasting your precious minutes. It's very popular in many parts of the world and gaining popularity in North America. Chances are that everyone in your destination country is already using it. You can use WhatsApp to make phone calls and video calls to other WhatsApp users. You can also share images, video and even documents. This is a great app to have.
 
10. Personal Effects
Whether you take medication, have a favorite perfume or are addicted to a certain cooking ingredient, it's important to evaluate your personal effects and double/triple/quadruple the amount you take with you. If you can't live without it, take plenty with you, and then some extra. Everything you're used to isn't always available overseas and if so, it's not always the same - sometimes it's not even slightly resembling of what you're used to. SO make a list of the most important things. Note allergies, medications, supplements, and anything/everything that's really important to you and check if it's available where you're heading. If a skin condition requires a specific brand of hypo-allergenic sunblock, be sure to purchase plenty because there's no guarantee you'll find what you need in your destination country. Prescription lenses are another thing that you might want to consider. Take an extra pair with you because if you lose or break your glasses, you don't want to be blindly searching for a new eye doctor in a foreign language.
 
We hope our list of the top 10 things you need before moving overseas covered a few things you've never considered, and we hope you learned a pointer or two! Moving to a foreign country is one of the most beneficial and enjoyable experiences you can have, but it's important to be prepared. You'll learn more as you go along, but a few tips can always make it easier to adapt. Have fun and safe travels!