What you really need to consider before moving abroad

Moving House

Regardless whether you’ve been offered a relocation at work, or if you’re just sick of home and plan starting a brand new life abroad, it’s easy to get sucked in to all the dreamy positives that such a move can tempt you with.

However, what’s not not quite so easy is to look into the future and predict what potential troubles or issues you might encounter later down the line.

Moving abroad can and probably will be the best thing you ever decide to do, but there are certain things which you need to consider which you naturally can’t foresee happening until it actually does. In that scenario, instead of being able to deal with said problem before you’ve made the commitment to leave, you’re now stuck with it in another country or continent.

Thankfully though, having lived away from the UK for long enough to have experienced many of these potential little hiccups myself, I’m able to share some with you here in the hope you don’t have to learn the hard way.

1. What’s your destination really like?

Local Thai Market in Phuket Thailand - Photo by Kim Seng

If this sounds like an obvious suggestion, that’s because it is. However, I’ve still met many people who’ve relocated their families and their lives to a place they’ve never before visited, and who ended up not at all enjoying where they lived.

Moving to another country is a life changing decision and no matter how many photographs you view online, you can’t get a true idea of a place until you physically visit.

If that really isn’t an option (and I wholeheartedly recommend you make it an option) at least speak to a fair few people who are currently living in said destination, and ask them detailed questions about the local area, living conditions, local authorities, public services, and the general ‘feel’ and atmosphere of your potential new home.

2. Will you have cheap and easy access to your money?

Foreign currency - Photo by Philip Brewer

Despite some banks back home regularly and boldly claiming to be “worldwide” and “local”, it can often end up being extremely expensive to draw out cash with many of the local high-street banks when you’re abroad. It can cost up to £10 a time in bank and ATM fees which quickly adds up!

A lot of them will also require semi-regular contact to keep letting them know you’re not in the UK, otherwise they’ll block your card on theft suspicion grounds.

Not being able to access your cash when you need it is difficult enough when in the comfort of your home country, without the added hassle of being in a country you’re foreign to.

Do your research and chose a bank who offer low withdrawal rates or special deals for those living abroad. Also, ensure things like Paypal accounts and online banking details are fully verified before you leave. Can be troublesome to do these things abroad.

3. Will you have a postal address straight away, or at all?


For those moving to lesser developed countries you need to consider that it may take a while for you to get a postal address, or you might not even have one for the whole duration of your stay.

You can always use your business address or ask a local establishment you get friendly with to receive mail for you, but it’s something worth considering before you head out.

For those who need to post property home or abroad, it’s highly recommended to use a price comparison site like to get the best shipping deals.

4. Are you sure you can leave your favourite thing behind?

Fish and chips - Photograph © Andrew Dunn

For a lot of people, moving abroad is going to mean giving up some of the things they love most. Whether it be a season ticket at the football, fish ‘n chips, favourite TV Show, or more likely something much more serious like your friends and loved ones.

If you’re not really sure how you’re going to cope without these things or people, perhaps test out being without them for a week or two, and see how it feels. If you can’t manage that length of time, then let’s face it, you’re probably going to struggle with forever!

5. Can you legally work in the country you’re heading to?

Photo by Jeff Nelson

For those without good enough jobs where their company takes care of all visa and work permit documentation, you need to make sure you’re not going to have any legal issues crop up whilst trying to earn money in your new home country.

Most countries don’t allow any kind of employment whilst on a tourist visa, whilst some other countries and individual provinces have more lax rules about tourists working during their stay.

Thoroughly research before you leave and don’t get caught out. Once you’ve dealt with police abroad you’ll quickly realise the bobbies we’ve got back home are some of the fairest and nicest around! Take from that what you will.

About author

Poppy loves personal finance almost as much as she loves her two cats, Tif and Taz.