How to Master International Relocations

This September I'll be moving across the world for the record third time in my life.

For a little bit of context:

Move No. 1: Cooper City, Florida, 2001 | Back to Israel in 2005

Move No. 2: New York, New York 2011 | Back to Israel in 2013

Move No. 3: San Diego, California, 2017 

I've become quite knowledgable on how to make international relocations as smooth as possible (even though the first time was when I was 11 - I still watched my mom do it and remember it all with extreme detail - after all, I take after her when it comes to my OCD-level organization).

Moving anywhere (but especially internationally) is much more than the actual act of packing up your stuff and physically relocating, the emotional toll it takes on you is quite a thing. I would prescribe deep breathes and two glasses of wine daily to keep your sanity along the road to relocating. 

As much as this move to San Diego has me excited beyond belief, I'm also TERRIFIED. As I wrote in my post on Facebook that announced to the whole of my digital world that I'm moving: I'm 80% excited, 20% terrified. Healthy. Add to that the fact that if I think too hard about saying goodbye to my loved ones here I'll go into a crying spree that will have people looking at me funny, as well as the fear of utter failure, and this girl isn't sleeping all that much these days. 

HOWEVER, if you think that fear of falling on my face, spending every cent of a loan I took to make this relocation happen, and being away from my mom and dad is what's going to keep me from making this move - you're dead wrong. 

At first I was scared from just how little I knew about my destination, not to mention the daunting list of everything I needed to do to make this move a reality, but with extensive research of my new location (job market, salary expectations, cost of living, etc.) and keeping things hella organized, I calmed down and got shit done. 

So how did I do it? 


I made a giant list of what I needed to do to leave the place I am currently in as neatly as I possibly could. I had the following items on my list:

  • cancel credit card
  • cancel cable + internet
  • give work notice
  • sell my furniture (or find a company to ship it to the new destination, depending on what you're plan is)
  • get temporary medical insurance (big one, guys!)
  • buy more suitcases 

You get the picture.

Now sit down and make a list just like this one for yourself. While the list is going to be long, there are many items that will be able to be checked off very easily (i.e. just calling the cable guy and telling him you're moving). 

Once you have a list of everything you need to do, organize it by the date it needs to be done by.

Writing everything down and organizing it by date will help you calm down too (at least it did for me since I was freaking out). Once everything is laid out in front of you, you are less likely to forget something important and begin with the first task on the list.  

After you finished making the list of pre-departure things you need to get done, make another list of things you need to do when you get to your destination. Yeah, yeah, I know, another list! But trust me, this will save you from seriously screwing things up. 

My post-landing list has things like: 

  • get a sim card
  • buy/lease a car
  • find apartment (I'm lucky enough to have family to stay with for the first couple of weeks so this one isn't as urgent as if I needed to find an Airbnb - that would have then been on my pre-departure list!)


If you're moving without a job lined up, I would recommend sending your resume out about two weeks before you move to get some feelers out there - ya never know! Also,  make sure to use sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn to see what the job market is like at your destination. The most important piece of advice I can give you on getting a job in a place you have yet to arrive in - NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK! 

I'm speaking for experience here. Networking is how I landed a (super fantastic) job in San Diego a whole two months before I arrive. These days there are Skype interviews and other mediums of interviewing from afar. If you are being set up to interview through a networking resource, there's a much higher chance that something will pan out from afar than with a standard resume sendoff. 

If you're anything like me, you'll want to get things done like yesterday. Read this piece about being a patient professional when you're an impatient control freak to help you with that one! 

Oh and remember - everything is going to work out, be positive. Always.