Sunday, July 14, 2013

How to Pack to Move to Another Continent

Woo hoo!  I move to Germany tomorrow morning and will be reunited with Soldier Boy very very soon!  For real.  I can't wait.  Pretty much all I'm capable of doing at this point, is stuffing my face (with all my favourite American foods) and testing how short my already-short attention span has become.  

Anywhoozle, I've chatted with a number of ya'll about creating a post on how to prepare to move to another continent, so last night before my wigging out-themed going away party, I made a silly little vlog.  I discovered this morning that my lovely camera decided not to record everything, so I had to tack on a bit at the end (pardon my horrendous hair/face/etc.).  Here is the vlog and I've also written out my crazy moving tips, if you prefer to read them! 


1)  Hooray!  You're moving to a new country/continent!  Now what?  Figure out the rules for residency or citizenship in your new country.  Since each country or alliance of countries has their own rules for who can live in their country and how long they can stay, check with your consulate to figure out those standards.  As a US citizen, my consulate told me that I can stay in the EU for up to 90 days with a valid passport, but advised me to bring my birth certificate, social security card, proof of health insurance, bank statements, and college diplomas so when I go to the German consulate on the continent, I can prove who I am and what my skill set is (I can't get a work permit without getting a residency permit first)!

2)  Book your plane ticket!  Once you have an idea of if/how long you can stay in your country, you need to decide if you'll be getting a one-way, two-way or an open ticket.  I have no idea if I'll be able to get residency, but I bought myself a one-way ticket.  Airfare is generally exorbitant during the summer months and I wouldn't end up being kicked out of the EU until the fall, when airfare prices are significantly less expensive, so this seemed like my best option.  It also leaves things open so if I don't get residency, I can still go to England, Asia, or Australia rather than returning to the US.

3) This is the boring part...: deal with car insurance, health insurance, phone service, etc.  If you have a car, decide if you're going to sell it or store it.  If you decide to store it, switch your insurance plan to comprehensive only and cut your policy down to a mere fraction of it's original cost.  Make sure your health insurance will cover you in your new country and deal with all your other little bills.  Suspend your phone, cancel internet, and if you rent an apartment, get yourself a sublessor!  Oh yes, if you own a place, get that thing sold! 

4)  Figure out what to pack!  Most people have at least 50% more "stuff" than they need.  The thinning out process may be bittersweet, but heck... you're moving to another continent... you don't want to drag all that baggage with you!  Get active with yard sales, consigning, ebay, etsy, Amazon, Poshmark, etc. and get rid of all that extra stuff!  Donate whatever is left over!  I actually made back more than I spent on my plane ticket in the first place, so my biggest moving expense was covered! 

5)  Determine the best way to get your remaining things to your new country!  My original plan was to pack one checkable bag, one carry on bag, and ship some boxes, but then I had the breakthrough that it may be cheaper to check a second bag.  I am flying one airline from Chicago to NYC and another from NYC to Frankfurt and I had a hard time figuring out what the baggage allowance was, so I called my first carrier (and was transferred 3x and put on hold for 45 minutes) before discovering that because of the particular flight I was on, I could check TWO 50 lb. bags for free!  Yay for not having to spend any money on bags or shipping boxes! 

6) Get packing!  I am lucky that I was able to store a few boxes of the stuff I don't really need, but can't seem to let go of, at my aunt's house and everything else fits into two suitcases, a carry on, and a computer bag (and it's really strange to see everything I own so compacted).  In order to avoid overweight bag costs, I've got everything distributed as evenly as possible.  I borrowed a really fancy indestructible Tumi suitcase from my aunt that is great, but weighs 17 lbs. when it is EMPTY!  I packed my entire clothing-based wardrobe into this uber heavy bag.  My other suitcase is lightweight and a bit flimsy, so I stuffed with with shoes, bags, and liquid toiletries.  Finally, I packed books, notebooks, non-liquid toiletries and heavier work stuff into my carry on.  If my scale is correct, each bag is nearly the same weight and they are each about 5 lbs. under my limit!  Also, compartmentalizing bags has been great (since I've been packed for about a week now) and I know just where to go to find things I've needed over the last few weeks.

7)  Keep your official documents together!  I know some people say that it is better to scatter these things around so if someone gets one, they won't get everything, but I hate feeling so spread out.  I have a nicely organized folder of all my important documents that I refuse to let out of my sight! 

8) Stay calm, forget the haters (they're just jelly), be prepared for change, get ready to take risks, and make your dreams happen!  Moving to another continent is a big flipping deal!  It can be stressful if you let it, but it can be a totally enjoyable experience!  

Hope these tips help! 

Follow the journey with Blog Lovin! 

21 comments:

  1. So I have been out of the blog world for a little while... but where are you moving in Germany? I lived in Bremen (northern Germany) for 8 months and am a US citizen. I was able to get residency (but couldn't get a work permit). The biggest thing they made a deal about was me showing that I had 600-1,000 euros/month to support myself. I also had to get a letter from my husband stating that he will financially support me as well. Good luck! It will all work out!!

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    1. Oooooh! Good to know! I'll be living in the South near Stuttgart. I've been saving like crazy, so I hope that will work in my favor. I'm not married yet, but if I end up getting married within the next 90 days, all my problems will go away (though some new ones may arise...). I'll be living with Soldier Boy, who is willing to support me (if I let him... which I don't really want to do), so that may help if we don't randomly get married within the next 3 months. What was the hang up on your work permit, if you don't mind my asking? There is so much I'm trying to plan but can't do anything about any of it until I get there!

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  2. Great post!! So helpful!! I hope Germany is everything you imagine it will be!
    xx
    7thand52nd.blogspot.com

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  3. I know we haven't talked in a really long time but I wanted to let you know how happy and excited I am for you and your new start in Germany. You've always been awesome at following your dreams and i have no doubt that you'll have great fun in your new home country. All the best to you and your beau!

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  4. I know we haven't talked in a long time but I wanted to tell you how happy and excited I am for you and your new adventure. You've always been awesome at following your dreams and I have no doubt that you will see success in your new home country. Best wishes to you, your beau, and your future together!

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    1. Thank you so much! I can't wait! I leave for the airport in a few hours and my tummy is in a knot and I can't believe that this day is finally here! I'll tell ya... there were a lot of haters when I first decided to make this move, but now, I'm getting nothing but love (and I need it.... and love it...)!

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  5. Nice tips. I hope you enjoy your stay in Germany, and hope you can find a job! I have been to several towns and cities there, and loved them all. I am headed to Frankfurt this fall for work, and I am really excited!

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    1. Thank you! Fingers are crossed! The funny thing is, I've never actually been into the city of Frankfurt! On my last two trips over, I just get picked up from the airport and driven home! One of these days, I hope to see the city-proper!

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  6. Super post!! Good luck to you :)) I moved from Michigan to the UK many years ago. It was quite a change, but I love the UK and Europe :) You will be just fine, take it all in and enjoy. Try everything and experience all you can :)) It will be completely different, but you'll feel right at home in no time!! xx

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  7. This is such a helpful post!
    Fashion Ganache.
    http://fashionganache.blogspot.com

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    1. Good! I hoped the tips would be useful!

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  8. Good luck! I'm sure everything will be absolutely, completely, fabulously awesome

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    1. I really hope so! There's no turning back now!

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  9. Another tip. If you are thinking of applying for permanent residency start now. I recently got my EU passport and it took almost a year to get everything done and I was a Polish citizen to begin with!
    xo
    styleontheside.com

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  10. I wish you a very good trip, and you will see it will a great experience. great tips, but I have to say I; m glad I don;t have to move right now. Good luck!
    Simona
    www.lakenmoon.com

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  11. Hahaha you're moving to Germany?
    That's great! Last year I moved to Boston from Germany (I'm from Hannover--You should go there some time).
    Good luck to you with everything xx

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  12. Really informative post! I hope you have a very nice trip, and that everything works out great for you :)

    Love,
    http://cherrydunia.blogspot.dk/

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  13. All the best in your move and do have fun..

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