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Common moving mistakes and how to avoid them

It's ok, no one is perfect. We’ve all made mistakes and that’s what makes us human.


But as a fellow expat I do understand that some mistakes made when moving are more agonising than others. Relocating is already a stressful process, regardless of whether you’re migrating across the world or just down the street. There is a never ending list of tasks to complete and items to pack that leave plenty of room for error. Missing a flight, navigating new bureaucracy, or trying to find an apartment can be enough to put you off moving altogether.


To help ease the anxiety we’ve collected the most common moving mistakes and offered advice on how to avoid them:


“Oh no, I didn’t realise how many pairs of shoes I own, and now they won’t all fit in my boxes and bags”.


Ah, the classic modern day consumer, so much stuff and not the space to put it. We’ve all been there, debating what items to take with us and what objects to leave with our unwilling friends and family. If like me, you really can’t live without that rainbow print faux fur coat with the tassels, you may need to find yourself a moving company or courier service.


Hold on. Before you lose your precious things or get charged extra for bubble wrap - do your research! Make sure your items are insured for their valued price and that your goods will not incur hidden fees. Many movers provide basic insurance that probably won’t cover the cost of your designer bag. Read the small print before you pay and research the company you plan on using. Online reviews might just save your favourite garden gnome.


“Oops, I got so consumed in the packing, I forgot to consider how long my residence permit would take to arrive and the documents I might need at the border”.


Moving abroad is stressful, between learning a foreign language and saying goodbye to your friends and family, bureaucratic elements can be forgotten. For US citizens pre-Covid resident permits could take anywhere between 3-5 weeks to arrive. With a global pandemic, this process may take even longer, and could involve further policies and paperwork, like a negative Covid test and travel restrictions. Make sure to visit government webpages to double check requirements before you try to book a flight.


“I’ve finally landed in my new city… But wait… The trains don’t run after 9pm on a Sunday and now I’m stranded at the airport”.


Don’t assume that public transport runs the same as it did at home. Before booking that cheaper late night flight, make sure you have organised transportation to your final destination. It’s always a good idea to keep up to date with the local news, you never know if your new country or city has a curfew in place or is the middle of a transportation strike. And while you’re at it, search for any deals that might make your trip cheaper. Countries like the Netherlands for example offer a discounted train fare with an OV chip card and monthly subscription.


“Help! I arrived in my new city, but I can’t find an apartment”.


We all know someone who thought they could easily find an apartment on arrival. While this might be true in some places like rural Sweden or southern Italy, many cities have housing shortages which make finding your dream home difficult. To avoid cashing out for an Airbnb for a prolonged period, find a home before you arrive. This is essential in countries like the Netherlands where you are required to register your permanent address (not a sub rented room or Airbnb) at the city hall on arrival. There are lots of housing agencies and companies that can help you find accommodation.


But Beware! There are lots of scammers posing as helpful landlords and housing agents. You know what to do… research! Check out those money and time saving reviews.


Ultimately, it is better to over prepare than under prepare.


There is no such thing as being too prepared. Make sure you have plenty of time to research into all the little details to prevent future stress. As a final suggestion, I would recommend searching for blogs and YouTube videos of other people’s experiences of moving to the same location. You never know what advice or strange novelties you may need to prepare for.


This blog was written by Overseasy Intern Lizzy Patterson