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Have a To-Do List for Moving to a New Country (Will Save Your Life)


Have a To-Do List for Moving to a New Country (Will Save Your Life)

white paper with to do list written on it

So you are moving to a new country. The plan has been set, you’re ready to rock and roll. Here’s the thing. This is not my first rodeo about moving to a new country and becoming an ex-pat. We are planning to move to Spain, so I have done this a couple of times. Now we’re going on like four or five times. I know pretty well what I’m talking about and something you need is a to-do list. Today we’re going to be talking about to-do lists for moving to a new country.

I’ve found that every single time I’ve done this and at this point I have had tens or dozens of friends move to different countries because being an ex-pat this is just part of life, that’s part of your community. A lot of people move. It’s very rare that people stay too long in certain places as ex-pats, unless they’re of course married to somebody from the local country or for other reasons. Regardless, this is a pattern that I have seen across the board: To-Do lists.

Related Read: Have a Goal for Moving to a New Country

To-Do List for Moving to a New Country

There are actually several types of to-do lists for moving to a new country. It’s not just your typical do-do List. Like, I need to sell this. I need to get this. I need to organize this. I have to have all this legal work that is an obvious To-Do List, and you need to have that list. Right now we are going through our To Do List so I have noticed that we have several To Do Lists and this is what Is the common pattern that I have seen pretty much across the board of to-do lists.

kid having fun on a lake with a hanging swim

Activities To-Do Lis

This is the to-do list of what you want to do in the country that you are in before you leave. A lot of times we forget to just be tourists for the day, to explore and see the places that are right here in front of you.

22 years ago when I took off with my backpack from Manhattan I lived in Manhattan, NYC. I grew up near Manhattan, but when I decided that I was done with Manhattan. And put on my backpack, ready to take off. All of a sudden I discovered Manhattan through new eyes and I made a little To Do List of like it’s kind of like a bucket list for that location and sometimes it could be as simple as having a wine outside in a certain area or having a coffee or taking my kids to this amusement park. The local amusement park, things like that. So it’s really fun and to be honest with you, I think it’s almost giving yourself closure of the place. Because I’m sure you might return, but the point is, don’t miss out. In the meantime. So it’s really important to have those to do lists, whatever it would be in your neighborhood, your town, even that for a specific country.

And I’ve found my friends who have been here for 10 years in Guatemala going to places that they’ve never been to before, like Tikal, the Mayan ruins, or even going to Lake Atitlan. Those things that you would think of. How could you not have done it? But they’re like you know what? I never got around to it, but now that they have made the plan, they have set the date of when they are moving all of a sudden, that’s when they’re doing another really important thing that would make the move that much more fun for you and your family.

Related Read: 2 Hacks for Moving to a New Country

Kids To-Do List

Especially the kids, what is the kids To Do List because their To Do List might be totally different from yours and it would be really important to honor their list.

Ask them what you want to do before we leave. Before we start our whole new adventure, sometimes moving can be complicated. It’s a change. For every big change you need to do it as smoothly as you can. So ask your kids what their To Do List is.

three kids on a boat

Legal and Health To-Do List

The legal To Do List for the place that you’re living in and also your new location. For instance, right now we are planning on moving to Spain. So First off, the other part of our big To Do List is doctor appointments. I want to go to as many doctors here as I can because it’s familiar to me. I know these people, I know these places, and I just want to kind of go with a clean bill of health. So that’s something to do, and I find that to be as part of like that legal thing. Also like if there are any legalities that you need to finish up power of attorneys or whatever.

And then because we are moving to Spain, we have a whole new life. Legal thing to do, we have to get our non-lucrative visas and make sure that you listen to all of those episodes moving to Spain because that is all part of our move to Spain, especially if you are planning to move to Spain on non-lucrative visas or any kind of visas that you do need.


Insurance is what we need to buy, and find a place to live. You know, locking those things in after you have done all the preliminary things, such as visiting the place and all the other episodes that I have already done here. But you do need to have A to do list for that as well.

kid having fun on a water slider

What Do you need to Do for the Move?

The other To Do List is obviously what you need to do to actually move. What loose ends do you need to tie up in the country that you’re in? Whatever it could be selling your car, selling your house, paying off your help, whatever it is going on? Having a big goodbye party, whatever it could be like things that you forget that you never thought you were going to do.  For example in Guatemala, a lot of people get leather goods. Getting those leather goods done. All of those to do lists.

Why do you need a to-do list?

It’s simply to check things off.   A lot of times we forget, but having that To Do List kind of solidifies what you need to do and sometimes you’ll  have a good place to start because they can seem overwhelming. But when you put it all down on paper and start to cross things off, you’ll see that it’s not that overwhelming and it’s all doable, and that is a great place to start.

Most Important To-Do List for Moving to a New Country

So remember your To Do List the three most important To Do List that we have is the fun To Do List. What do we want to finish? Have fun doing it in this country and make sure that you ask your kids to do that too because they might have something completely different. To do List with their friends and honor that Ok. Definitely honor that.

The other To Do List is finishing up everything in the country. Whatever you need to sell off whatever legal things you need to do. Having that big party with your friends as a goodbye is part of that To Do List.

And third, also is now the To Do List for your new country. All the legalities, the visas, whatever is necessary for you to arrive in that country and be legal there. Andnot  have to scurry around worrying what did I forgot to do this I forgot to do that and not being able to stay in that country.

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