Even for people used to moving between countries frequently, these transition times are always tough. Part of me feels like we’re leaving tomorrow so I shouldn’t buy any groceries or anything I can avoid (this just leads to spending large amounts of money on unnecessary take-out). Another part feels like two months is so long, I just want to get the hassle of moving over with. The biggest part is pretty sad, though. We’ve had such a great time here in KL. Even though I’m sure we will love Bangkok just as much, it’s always sad to leave a place that has become home.
This will be our 4th move in 8 years – not too many for your average expat. I suppose it gets easier every time. So far we’ve learned to:
- Send cancellation notices as early as possible (for a lease, phone contracts, anything that requires a deposit refunded).
- Ship everything. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s cheaper to sell everything and just buy things new at the other end. All those little items add up, and shipping isn’t as expensive as you might think (though it does help that all of our moves have been paid for by the schools I work for).
- Pack your bags before the shippers come to pack up your house. Last time we just kept everything out and got royally screwed when we ended up showing up at the airport with over 160kg of luggage (we only had a 40kg allowance on Austrian Airlines).
- Don’t worry about housing until you get there. Trying to find a home online or over the phone is a nightmare – and, most likely, you won’t end up with exactly what you want (but you’ll see it about a week after you move in, and be kicking yourself for the rest of your time in that country).
- Close your bank accounts and finish any business (including taxes) in country before you leave. No one will be interested in helping you after your gone. And good luck trying to get those taxes back when you’re just a fuzzy memory…
- Be nice to everyone that could have anything to do with your move. And I mean everyone. Despite the frustrations that will inevitably ensue, you can only expect poor service when you get angry and frustrated.
What else should we do to prepare?