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To do before departure

Time is ticking and you need to get ready to leave the country, here is a schedule for the last few weeks that could help setting the priorities.

Inoculations and vaccinations are a priority, check what you will need in the new location, you might be denied entry to a country if  vaccinations are not in compliance with the country requirements.

Prior to a move, prepare and keep appropriate photographs for a mini scrap book for your young children (for the transient period). Photographs are important reminders for children and will considerably reassure and settle them during a move.

Five weeks away from the moving date you can start making the countdown.

Minus five weeks

  • Arrange with at least three different moving companies to visit your home and obtain quotes from them.
  • Select your mover and meet him/her representative to discuss dates, costs and methods of payment. Do not overlook the terms of the contract and the insurance policy for inspecting your belongings when they arrive and how to make claims if any damage or loss has occurred.
  • Provide the moving company with your new phone number (if you have already arraged for one in the new location) and any phone number where you can be reached while in transit (either a friend's phone, old neighbors, a place of business or relatives with whom you'll be in contact).
  • Direct debit(s). If you have any of these outstanding, ensure which property they refer to and adjust if necessary, keeping the company involved informed of any action you take.

    If you are selling a house and moving to a place where the postal service is not completely efficient, try and make provision for final bills etc. You may be charged, face legal action or incur logistical problems receiving credits for over-payment on your part.

  • Make sure your passport and that of any family member is current, if not, this is the time to renew it. In fact, if you are not a citizen of the country you are leaving, renewing it from a consulate or embassy of your country may require some time.
    Check your visa status and make sure you will have it, if needed, by the time you leave.
  • Check any treatments you or members of your family are due for - it is often easier to carry on treatments  in a place with which you are familiar rather than having to deal with even more logistical pressures in a new and unfamiliar place.

    Any health checks, bi-annual, annual, mammograms etc. Again, these are easier in familiar surroundings.

    Any dental treatment that may be necessary is better dealt with prior to a move.

  • Ensure you have all the addresses and contacts of people you may want to contact during a move - you may think you know all your friends' house addresses and telephone numbers, but removed from your familiar surroundings, it is surprising how hard even simple tasks become, so the more organized you are with this sort of matters, the less stressful situations become when faced with other pressures.
  • Ensure provision of adequate funding into any account that you may be using more than usually during a period of transience.

    Ensure Provision of funding in new location. Your first month or two is always tight on funding due to deposits being paid out, registration for schools, entry to clubs etc.
    Checking accounts take time to issue either cheque books or credit cards, so you may be heavily reliant on cash, which in turn can give security problems in some places.

    Wills should be updated, taking into account the change of ownership if appropriate and where possible. Even if you don't deal with the finer details, at least you should have made general provision for expected changes, so that if one of you should die, action can be taken as you intended it, rather than leaving anything in the hands of either government or country officials who neither know, nor are aware of your wishes.


Minus four weeks

  • Here is a short list of contacts that need to be notified of your new address(please refer to "People and services to inform of the move" for a complete list):
    - Banks/credit unions and finance institutions (wherever you have accounts, loans or investments, credit cards,  pension schemes, stocks and shares)
    - Colleagues and business connections
    - Family and friends
    - Health clinic, hospital, doctor, dentist
    - Insurance companies (car, home, property, life, health, etc)
    - Landscaping and garden services
    - Maintenance and housekeeping services (heating/AC, pest control)
    - Neighbours
    - New tenant or owner of the house you will be leaving
    - Newspapers and magazines (cancel any subscriptions)
    - Post office (for redirection of mail, in some country the postal service may offers a kit to simplify the process)
    - School, college, kindergarten
    - Sport clubs, associations and organizations you are a member of
    - Utilities and public - Verify what is needed to arrange to disconnect service (gas, water, electricity, garbage) and schedule the disconnection on the day after your move. You'll want to have utilities on while you're still in the house.
    - Tax office
    - Other services : verify what is needed to disconnect the service and schedule the disconnetion (including cable TV, satellite, Internet, mobile phone,  land line telephone, cable TV)) Check if you are able to use your mobile phone in the country you are moving to, it might be useful (and probably expensive too!) to have a phone with you at the beginning in the new country until your phone service is set up, if not contact the company to cancel the service. 
  • Also, make sure you update and keep copies of all your medical records, school, social security, tax and financial documentation, as well as your driver's license, auto registration and insurance records (these might be useful to receive a lower premium on a new insurance contract).
  • If you already have an accomodation in the new country and is possible to establish contract with the local utilities company from abroad, call them to ask for service to start the day before your move, so that you have at least the basic (water, electricity, gas) when you arrive in your new home.
  • If you are planning to bring major appliances, arrange a time with the moving company to disconnect and service them few days prior the packing date (or contact a technician to do it, if the moving company does not provide the service). On the delivering end arrange for a technician, if necessary (in some country, for example, gas cooker may only be connected by state approved technicians), to install fixtures upon their arrival at your new home.
    - Air Conditioners: some sealed units should be bolted down (check with authorized dealer, if it is possible if not refer to a service technician)
    - Dryers: some motors may need to be checked and secured (verify, if possible, with the authorized dealer)
    - Freezers and refrigerators: the motor(s) may have to be bolted down before moving. Do not plug it in at the new home until it has been unbolted.
    - Gas stoves: must be disconnected prior to removal by the packing company. Be sure gas lines are shut tightly and capped.
    - Electric stove: electric ranges, removable coils (and all other removable parts) must be packed separately.
    - Washing Machines: check and secure motor  (if necessary), tumbler action protected and fastened in place. Remember to have it un-bolted on the other end prior use.
  • At this time you should complete any repair work on your old home, if you already have arranged for your permanent accomodation on the other end you can have any repair, improvement or pest control treatment done done while you are not there (if you can trust someone to do the job properly), so they are completed by the time you and your shipment arrive.
  • If you wish to sell some items prior moving you have the option of advertising groups or association about the list of item to sell (you can post itthrough the school, associations, internal company websites or, now, through Paguro!) or you can plan to have a garage sale. If you choose to have a garage sale for any unwanted item, make sure to set the date no later than a week prior the move. In some countries, a garage sale is more appealing if you can combine iit with neighbours in a "giant" sale.
    If you do not wish to sell any item, but still wish not to take them with you, make arrangements for your chosen charity to come and pick them up.

Minus three weeks

  • Take inventory of your household goods (refer to "Inventory list" to have a guideline on how to proceed).
    Have two list: one for items to be shipped and another one for items to be placed in storage.
  • Make sure you have any relevant document updated (passport, driver's license, vaccinations records etc. Please refer to "documents to be updated" list for a complete list).
  • If you are planning to export your car make sure you have set up arrangements. The moving company might be able to ship your vehicle together with your household goods, but it might not be possible.
  • Enquire about the car insurance, if not necessary define the date to cancel the current one.
  • Contact your doctors, dentist and veterinarian, and ask for copies of medical records, also if you have it give them the new address.
  • Contact your children's schools, and arrange for records to be forwarded to the new school (refer to the "Education file" for a thorough listing of the documents to request prior leaving).
  • If you own anything valuable that is kept in a safety box, make arrangements to transfer them safely.
  • If you are considering having a garage sale do not postpone it, hold a garage sale now.
  • Do not leave behind the local phone books, they might be useful to get in touch with people or services from overseas.
    Book or confirm flights, hotel, rental cars and make the final personal travel arrangements for your trip.
  • Start going through the freezer and plan carefully meals and food purchases so to have as little as possible in the freezer or refrigerator by the time the moving crew arrives (unless you do not need to take them with you).
  • If possible organize to have your new home cleaned and, if necessary treated for pest control, it is better to have it done few days prior moving in.

Minus two weeks

  • If you are not planning to bring your car, cancel your insurance and ask an insurance claim record.
  • Make arrangements for your pets, find them a home if you cannot take them with you and bring them there, review the travelling arrangements and paperwork needed if they are travelling with you (contact vet for vaccination record, check the requirement for bringing a pet in the new country, some would require a microchip to be placed on your pet).
  • Find a new home for your potted plants, you cannot take them abroad.
  • Contact your bank and request sufficient cash in the currency of the country you are moving to or order traveler checks.
  • If on any special medical treatment make sure you have a month worth of medication and enquire what is the name of the drugs you are taking abroad. Doctors can find out the commercial name of medication based on the active principle of the drug.
  • Cancel any delivery services such as newspapers, magazines or food delivery.
  • Have your vehicle inspected and serviced if you're traveling by car.
  • Make a thorough check of your house and remove anything hidden in secret places, like valuables and spare house keys.

Minus one week

  • Dispose of toxic or flammable items that can't be moved.
  • Drain the gas and oil from gas-powered tools, such as lawn mowers and snowblowers; moving company will not accept shipping them if they are full. 
  • Ensure you have a forwarding address and find a safe way of having your mail taken care of, handled and forwarded while you are in transit.
  • Double check, to make sure arrangements have been made to disconnect and service your major appliances being moved.
  • Pack your "handcarried luggage" of necessary items that should go in your car/plane and not the shipment  like:
    - passports
    - visa
    - Cash (in the right currency)
    - Checkbook
    - Credit cards or travelers checks
    - First aid kit
    - Keys (old and new house)
    - Medications
    - Mobile phone (check international coverage)
    - Toiletries
    - Toilet paper/tissues
    - Towels
    - Passports and ID papers
    - Pet food (if moving by car)
    - Snacks
    - Spare glasses or contact lenses (ans lense solution)
    - Travel alarm clocks
    - Baby or child care items
    - Toys and activities for children
    - Travel itinerary
    - Water

    (see also "Hand carried luggage")
  • If you have young children, arrange for a baby-sitter to look after them on moving day. Since you'll have your hands full, the extra attention from a sitter will distract the child's attention from the turmoil of a move.  Also arrange for a baby-sitter to be available when you arrive at your new home with young children.
  • Pack your own suitcase of clothes for the move and keep it clearly out of the way of the packing crew!
  • Pay all outstanding bills and make sure the utilities company have received the disconnecting order.

Minus one to two DAYS

  • Before the packing crew arrives, empty and defrost refrigerator and freezer, clean them with a disinfectant and let them open several hours to dry, all pans, trays, crispers, shelves, or removable parts should be removed and wrapped individually. Put baking soda or charcoal inside to keep from forming bad odours.
  • Empty your safety deposit box.
  • Plan to take important papers, jewelry, cherished family photos, irreplaceable mementos and vital computer files with you.
  • Arrange in advance for someone to do a house cleaning the day after moving out. Inspect that all clothes and linen are clean (especially children clothes!) ready to be packed. Clothing with food-stains on it can spell disaster when left to mould in a container for 40 or more days.

Time to go!

  • The moving day has arrived! When the movers arrive, review all details and paperwork.
  • Review with the crew manager the inventory and confirm delivery date.
  • Try to have  someone with you to survey the crew as they pack (please refer to "Packing tips" for more in depth iinformation).
  • Place on a bed or in a separate corner the "first days kit" and make sure to mark the box with "open me first". It can contains the basic items you will need for the first few days, like kitchen utensils, bedlinen, towels, change of clothes, pillows, books, blankets).
  • Be sure to check closets, attics, drawers, basements and all outside areas before signing the mover’s documentation, because after loading the moving company takes no responsibility for any item left behind. The inventory describes the content, count and condition of your belongings before and after moving. These forms are designed to protect you.

Landing: move-in day

  • You are in the home, check if utilitie are connected.
  • If you arrive before the shipment is delivered, make sure all is clean to receive your household goods and line shelves with paper if needed.
  • Decide where you want to place the large piece of furniture and appliances.
  • Connect the utilities or check that they have been activated
    When the packing company arrives if you can place your pets in a kennel, or keep them in a room to prevent them from running away and getting agitated by all the activity.
  • Have person should check the inventory list as boxes are unloaded, while another person gives instructions to the crew on where to place items.
  • Once all items are unloaded, unpack only the "open me first" box or boxes.
    Stop and take it all in, make time to create a sense of home with your family.
  • Give yourself time to organize your belongings at a later stage, but make sure to unpack everything while the crew is there.
  • It is important that you note in writing (a verbal claim is NOT enough) any damage or loss occurred to your goods during shipment.  When you sign the delivery receipt, note on the inventory any damage to your goods or any missing item.
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