A friend sent to me these days a link with some tips for international relocation and it's very interesting and helpfull for people that are traveling or moving abroad. The tips are written by Jan Chipchase, the director of Frog Design - a global design innovation company, that has lived in Los Angeles, London, Berlin and Tokyo. Now he's living in China and here are the tips:
1. You don’t need a job or apartment lined up to make the leap. Sure it might mean sofa-surfing or taking career diversions – these are the tangents that reveal and shape the new you.
2. International relocation is the ultimate excuse to have a brutal clear-out. Give away, sell or recycle everything that that you haven’t used or appreciated in the past year. Sure the odd item that didn’t make the cut will be missed – but this is easily outweighed by the pleasure of finding a new home for things and the psychological pleasure of letting go. In fact I’d go one step further and argue that the practical/emotional jolt that comes from ‘missing’ something helps reinforce its value, which in turn shapes future actions/consumption. Missing things is a Good Thing.
3. Heart first, then wallet: first figure out where you want to go, the logistics and money to make it happen will stretch and contract to your budget.
4. Never apply for a single entry visa when multiple entry is an option. Any additional cost is easily outweighed by the flexibility it provides.
5. If your reason for relocating is for a new job negotiate a moving allowance. Your new employer will show their love/respect by paying for the costs of your move: airline tickets; shipping or airfreighting your possessions; accommodation and transport for the first month and support in applying for the necessary permits are all standard fare and tend to be fixed depending on your base salary. For shipping I highly recommend Unigroup they turn up, pack everything, ship door-to-door and unpack at the other end. Since you’re wondering – shipping a 20 foot container across the Pacific (enough space for a minimalist family’s worldly possessions) takes ~6 weeks and costs ~4kEur.
6. Keep a digital scan of all your important documents and adopt an easy to remember naming strategy. Scanning documents is a pain in the ass, and scanning documents that have already been scanned but cannot be found is the equivalent of doing jail-time with a pretty face – painful. The benefit of having scans on hand becomes immediately apparent just prior to the move – when your stress level is at its highest and everyone wants a copy yesterday.
7. Backup your most important stuff to the cloud. Dropbox is ideal for everyday data, if you’re looking for something more heavy duty consider Amazon S3 plus an uploader like Transmit.
8. Maintain at least one bank account in the country you’re leaving, because frankly its a bitch to open accounts when you’re ‘abroad’ and at some point you. will. need. it. The exception to the its-a-bitch-to-open rule are the premium banking services offered by the larger banks geared up to service international clients – allowing you to set up an account prior to departure and pick up your new, local cards on arrival. (I use and am reasonably happy with HSBC Premier)
9. Take/capture your own identity card photos – this frees you from finding a working photo-booth in a hurry. Today’s home bubble jet printers with glossy photo paper are fine for passport photos.
10. And finally – once you’re settled, upgrade your residents status as soon as possible. In many countries your right to be resident and move freely in and out of the country become easier over time – assuming you complete the right forms. Should you wish to relocate to another country and re-enter after a period of time (not unreasonable given the network for friend and acquaintances you’ll build up over time) the process becomes that much easier. The lack of ‘residency’ (in its many forms) can also hamstring you if things go sour – for example if you’re in the US on an L1 visa you have 2 weeks to pack up and leave when the contract ends. Far better to control your own destiny.
What relocation tips would share?
Monday, May 03, 2010