Europe is one of the most popular continents people seek to visit or move to, known for their rich historical cultures, heterogeneous countries with numerous stories, and low-cost airlines within the continent. However, moving or living there temporarily would require you to make quite a list of preparations beforehand, so here is a checklist to help guide you on what to prepare before your departure!
1. Tie up your financial loose ends
Every country has a different cost of living, and depending on where you’ll be staying or traveling to, prior research should be conducted beforehand so you have a rough estimate of how much to bring with you upon traveling! If you can’t find enough information online, you can resort to contacting European embassies who will be more than happy to address your financial planning questions!
If you will be financially supported by other parties such as your loved ones or sponsors, make sure to keep your agreements documented along with important information such as dates, set amounts, and the terms and conditions.
If you have contractual plans instead ensure that the documented copies of your contract(s), be it for a company, publication, or freelance job, are signed by your employer or client. If your agreements are more informal, you should still at least ask for a signed letter of intent as they are key references to officials that you are an experienced professional. You should also stay contactable at all times; do check out Puhelinliittymä.net, a Finnish phone subscription comparison site to get the best deal possible.
2. Synchronise your cash flow
This task might seem daunting but you don’t have to sort out your cash flow alone! Try to stay with one bank if you can to make communication and cash transfers more seamless, and work together with your bank representative to prepare your home bank accounts to cater to your deposits and withdrawals overseas.
For those who like their accounts neatly organized, consider setting up these three accounts for their various purposes:
- Home Account: For depositing fixed amounts to cover monthly withdrawals for plans such as insurance and visa.
- Foreign Account: For overseas stay funds
- Work Account: For wages earned from work, so you have a clean record, to sum up your monthly and annual earnings for better financial planning and income tax purposes.
While in Europe, you should also get a local bank card to avoid incurring additional overseas transaction costs, which can get really exorbitant as you stack your transactions up.
Lastly, make sure that you are able to gain access to online and offline banking systems to manage your bank accounts with ease, and try to stick to one bank for your credit cards to avoid overcomplicating your transfer processes.
3. Apply for a visa
A visa is required in all European states for visitors who are intending to stay over three months. The average timeframe of the whole application process is about six months, so make sure you give yourself ample time!
Here are some documents the embassy would require to be submitted:
- A passport that would be valid up to two months after your expected date of return
- A job offer or certificate of enrolment (if you are a student)
- Your residential address in Europe
- Latest three bank statements and other proof of financial stability
You should also take note of the varying laws in each country in Europe, and contact their respective consulates if you have further legal inquiries.
While packing your personal belongings into boxes, make things for future-you easier by categorizing and labeling them clearly! Look for affordable and secure storage facilities, and that would be a load off your shoulders!
5. ‘Insure’ that you’re covered
Many unexpected troubles may brew abroad, and the last thing you want is to be faced with a new hole in the wallet or medical bill. Look into long-term health insurance and travel insurance plans, and put aside enough cash every month to account for this expenditure. You can look for insurance catered to ex-pats and travelers specifically online.
6. Healthcare is best done at home
Before you set off, get yourself fully checked at home first and stock up on prescription medication to bring along to Europe. It is very bothersome to get health procedures done overseas when you’re a foreigner and have to document all your spendings and diagnoses for insurance claims afterward, so give your doctor a ring!
7. Renew your cards
The biggest nightmare of a traveler is being stuck in a foreign land with expired cards or invalid licenses, so get them all renewed and do your research beforehand on what each state accepts!
Make sure your credit cards, health insurance card, passport, and driver’s license are valid in the state(s) you are traveling to and make copies of all of them just in case they get lost or damaged! You should also make copies of other important documents, such as your plane ticket, birth certificate, and insurance.
8. Power of attorney
If you will be overseas for over six months, this is something you should consider to sort out matters at home easily. A power of attorney is the authorization of someone to represent or act on your behalf to sort out matters of private, business, or some other legal matter and would save you a lot of trouble, such as paying a visa bill or insurance.
9. Stay contactable
You can either update important institutions of your new residential address, such as banks, schools, or government agencies, or register a new local one with someone that can collect your mail for you and inform you of any important updates.
When it comes to staying contactable while you’re overseas, we are blessed to be in a technological era where we can contact others from across the globe with a single button! It would be very convenient to have an e-mail, social media accounts, and a video call account such as Skype or Zoom for low-cost or free calling.
10. Be ready to adapt
We mean this both literally and figuratively!
Remember to bring plug adapters for the Europlugs which run on 220 volts and have two round pins as a phone with a flat battery is no fun! Every country in Europe has its own electrical usage requirements, so check them out online and prepare a universal adapter if you can!
Figuratively, you should also be ready to adapt to the local culture to really maximize your European experience! Joining expat groups can bring you lots of support with people with experienced travelers who can advise you about certain issues you might face as a foreigner. You should also look to befriend the locals and broaden your horizons and you might find that sometimes you are more alike than you are different!
Traveling always comes with lots of work, rewiring, and relearning. However, it’s also comforting to know that you’re not alone and can always turn to the Internet for guidance today. Happy travels!