Saturday, October 25, 2014

Moving Overseas

It’s been about 5 months since our departure from the States and things are slowly coming together, much like placing the pieces of a puzzle in its rightful place. We are definitely settling in to our new life here in Daegu.

Before heading out to our new adventure, I did quite a bit of research on how to have a “worry and stress free” move overseas. After planning and making multiple lists, I really believe there is no such thing! You can only prepare to be organized and hopefully things will be seamless as possible, but the anxiety of moving, let alone half way around the world will sink in and it will catch up with you.
Leaving the comforts of home and my family was the most difficult thing I have done to date. I think giving birth to Jensen was easier compared to relocating to Korea. I am finally able to really enjoy it here and able to see what Asia has to offer.

I read several blogs on the subject of what our new life will be like here and lots of suggestions on what I should dispose vs. keep in regards to material things. I wanted to add a few things that I didn’t read about on several blogs and on-line tips on moving overseas.
  1. Buy a brand new notebook – You will need to write anything and everything that relates to your move. It’s much nicer to have a new notebook that has nothing else written on it unless it involves your to-do list and contact info of what you need to accomplish before leaving. Electronically saving this is also another way to keep everything in a central location. You can utilize your smart phone for this purpose. I’m old school and like to write everything down.
    I opted to use a smaller notebook that can easily fit in my purse.
  2. Decide which items you want to keep – Anything with sentimental value, by all means take with you. Even if it seems ridiculous to keep due to its size or lack of usefulness, keep it. If you think you will regret it, just keep it. Hobby related items, you may want to keep depending on where you are moving. You may not have easy access to those particular items.
  3. Have a garage sale - I think it’s only natural to shed a few unwanted items before moving. There are several things to keep in mind on how to have a successful sale, but believe the number one and most important thing to do is to make sure you have exposure. You don’t even have to pay for an ad, however make sure you have clear and legible signs around your neighborhood. Utilize Craigslist and Facebook flea market/second hand groups you already have joined. If not, find them and join. Start using them for the larger and higher ticket items you want to sell. I was able to sell our washer and dryer set, also lots of Jensen’s baby items I no longer use.
    Great way to get rid of excess items and make money.
  4. Packing up – Now this will vary depending if you are moving with military support or not. I am fortunate enough to be a DoD civilian and had a moving company box everything up and ship it off to our destination. As soon as you have your PCS (Permanent Change of Station) order, make an appointment with your local transport department. For those who are moving on your own, decide if you are going to pack yourself or seek services from a packing company. Call and make an appointment once you know when you need to be out of your current lodgings. Make sure your items are insured while in transit. If you do move yourself, to save money go to big warehouse or grocery stores for used boxes. You will still need to contact an international shipping company in order to ship your belongings.
  5. Carry-on items – Pack any important documents with your carry-on. You will need to organize these in order to have them handy once you land. A good accordion file holder is good for these type of documents. This should include birth and marriage certificates, insurance paperwork, PCS orders, and anything else that you may need to in-process or present to your employer on your first day of work. Since I have a 20 month old toddler, I will also add a few items that might help with traveling with a child. A comfy blanket and favorite stuffed animal. My son loves music so we packed a nice pair of headphones for him. Anything that can keep him occupied like stickers, coloring books, and small light weight toys.
  6. Unaccompanied Baggage – This is available for those that will be PCS’ing with the military. This shipment will arrive about 3 weeks from the shipping date. Most of the things we packed was for my little boy Jensen, such as more diapers that we had stashed, toys, camping chairs that can be used while waiting for your furniture to arrive, kitchen items for cooking and eating, more clothes that you may need for work. This list may vary for others since it all depend on what you may need sooner than later. A friend shipped their golf clubs with their UB.
  7. Medications – If you and your family have prescription medications, make sure they are filled and ready to go before leaving. Do not wait ‘til the last minute to fill these just in case you will need to call your doctor to have a new prescription refilled. Don’t forget your pets medications as well.
  8. Utilities – Make sure utilities are turned off once you vacate your place. If you are fortunate enough to have sold your house or just moving from a rented apartment, you can have your utilities scheduled to be turned off the day you move out.
  9. Immunizations – Each foreign country has its own list of required and recommended immunizations. You can check with your local health department on what shots you may need before leaving.
  10. Pets – You may need to quarantine your pets depending on which country will be your new home. If quarantine is not needed, booster shots will be required and even microchip will be needed as well. Check with your airline in advance and let them know you will be traveling with a pet. Depending on the weight of your pet, you may be able to have them in cabin with you. If they are on the larger end of the breeds, make sure you have a big enough crate for them to move around and get comfortable. Keep in mind the heat embargo during the summer months and most airlines will not allow you to take your pets with you.
    Miss my Talon!

  11. Vacating – I highly advice hiring a cleaning service. We tried to clean our house before leaving and we were too tired taking care of everything else. At the last minute, we tried to book a cleaning service the day prior to vacating the premises and I could not find one on such short notice. Luckily, my Mom knew someone from church who was willing to clean for a small fee.
  12. Donate – Anything else that you weren't able to sell at the moving sale, consider donating items that can still be used. Not only are you recycling, but it is also a tax write off. I also gave away a lot of food items left in the pantry to family and friends or you can contact a local food back.
  13. Forward Mail - Don't forget to fill out a forwarding address form through your local post office. You can easily do this online and can be done in advance and indicated which day your are moving.


  1. These are all great tips for a big move! Luckily my husband and I were already living the minimalist life before we left so we just put a couple boxes in storage at his mom's house and sold the rest of our furniture to our friend taking over the apartment. Easy peasy! Now we're actually starting to discuss which things we will have to sell here before we move back! Bah, life happens fast!

    1. I wish was a minimalist. It's against my nature and I'm sort of a pack rat. I've gotten better over the years and my husband has taught me to try and not keep everything. Right before leaving, I actually got rid of too much and ended up buying the same items here in Korea.

  2. Good list! We also researched quite a bit before moving here, but no matter how much you try to plan and prepare, things can and will go wrong! We flew over with our two cats and thought we had all the paperwork according to the Korean English Quarantine page. Turns out they hadn't updated that site for the new vaccine and we were forced to send them back to the states.

    We certainly didn't tuck tail and run, though and have been enjoying our new lives and adventure here in Korea immensely! Hope that you love Daegu and welcome to Korea!!

    1. I was very disappointed that I had to leave my dobbie back home. I thought I was well prepared and even spent $600 to have her ready with shots and micro-chip and still had to leave her behind at the last minute. We are enjoying our stay here, so far. Thanks!

  3. This is a great guide for making the big move! We brought over our two larger sized dogs (after we had found a place to live to cut down on their stress levels) and it has been a bit challenging...The 'having a pet thing' is a newer concept here- especially when it comes to dogs larger than a cat. Not only was it difficult to find a place that allowed them, after we moved in many of the other tenants in our building were either deathly afraid or downright mean to us. Signs in the elevator telling us to move out, mean ajumma yelling and chasing us with sticks...No exaggeration! It has been 4 months now, and things have settled down and most people have come to tolerate them- some people even seem to like them. My advice to other larger dog owners who are considering coming to Korea with furry ones would be to really assess your situation before hand! Have fun in Daegu...I hope you guys have a blast in Korea!

    1. Wow! I knew that Koreans are not favorable towards larger breeds and never thought they would react that way. If I had my black dobberman here, she would for sure been very scary. Even back home when I would take her for a walk, some folks would cross the street to avoid passing us on the sidewalk.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this list. #1-3 were very important and unloading all of our stuff involved a really depressing trip to a bookseller where we unloaded some of my favorite titles for nearly nothing. Was truly a sad day.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I'm quite grateful that I didn't have a whole house to pack up and move. Moving my small suitcase worth of stuff was stressful enough! I do agree that the notebook thing is very important, even for single expats like me who don't need to pack up much, it helps to keep track of to-do lists and other things!

  6. This is a great list for people planning to move- I wish we'd seen it before we packed to move to Korea! We're going home in March after two years, and I think packing then will be even harder- we've accumulated a lot of stuff after two years!

  7. Great advice here! I too make lists when planning, but I've learned to make loose plans which gives way to other, sometimes better opportunities. My move seemingly took two months, but there was so much more that went into it the previous year that made for a smooth transition.