Moving abroad can be tricky, but Your Move Doesn’t Have To Be

If 2020 was the year COVID-19 halted your travel plans, 2021 (and beyond) is the year when you can start to think about travel again. Here’s what you need to know to plan a move in this “new normal”

COVID-19 has made vaccinations the new visas

In the pre-pandemic world, visas were the main concern for the majority of expats relocating abroad. But now, before you think about visas, you’ll need to consider:

  • Does your destination country accept travelers from your country of residence? If so, what categories of travelers are allowed in?
  • Is there any vaccination requirement to travel to the country? If so, which vaccines are recognized by the country’s health authorities?
  • Are the rules the same for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers (including those with vaccines that aren’t approved by the country)?
    • For example, unvaccinated travelers might be required to quarantine or quarantine for a longer period than their vaccinated counterparts.
  • What will you need to do from start to end in order to travel to the country? Are the rules likely to change on short notice?
    • For example, this may include securing COVID-19 insurance, taking a pre-departure COVID-19 test, booking a quarantine hotel, etc.

Tip: While there are a number of online resources to help with planning, remember to double check the information with the country’s embassy, consulate, or governmental body to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Travel checklist for a smooth and stress-free journey

Congratulations, you’re cleared for travel. To sort out your priorities and minimize last-minute surprises, stay organized with a travel checklist and timeline.

Here's what a good travel checklist might look like:

  • Book an appointment at the embassy to submit a visa application. Prepare the following documents:
    • Visa application form
    • Passport & copy of passport
    • 1 passport-sized photo
  • Book flight tickets (after getting a visa, which is expected to take X working days from date of application).
  • Check custom duties to determine whether it’s cheaper to ship items from home or buy new items.
  • Contact relocation companies to get quotes for shipping, and think about:
    • Packing and shipping items
    • Storing items behind
    • Donating items
    • Make copies of all important documents.

Tip: Note down every little thing and be as detailed as possible - especially with deadlines for certain tasks, as well as integrate your travel checklist with your online calendar and set reminders.

Living arrangements to live the expat life you desire

You’re one step closer to living the coveted expat lifestyle. Check what’s provided by your employer (if you already have one) in your relocation package and what you’ll need to arrange on your own.


  • Book accommodation for the first night at your destination.
  • Research the local property market and decide whether to rent or buy an apartment/house.
  • Shortlist affordable and safe areas close to work, good schools*, and public transport.
  • Find a property consultant and/or look online to arrange viewings and seal the deal.

*If you have school-going children.


  • Understand how the local public transport works and familiarize yourself with the routes.
  • Decide whether or not you’ll drive.
  • Compare the cost of shipping a car from home with buying a new one abroad.
  • Check whether an international drivers’ license can be used.

Culture and social life:

  • Learn about the local culture and norms.
  • Take language courses to pick up basic words and phrases.
  • Get essential information and tips on social media and/or online forums.
  • Join expat and local community groups to meet people and make new friends.


  • Cancel direct debits and auto-billing orders.
  • Decide whether or not to close existing bank accounts.
  • Inform the tax department in your country of residence about your move.
  • Open a local bank account after your move.
  • Seek professional advice on local taxation rules and measures to lower your tax, if any.
  • Create and stick to a monthly budget.

Education (if you have school-going kids):

  • Talk to your children about the move abroad and help them cope with the changes.
  • Research local and international schools and familiarize yourself with the application process.
  • Choose a school and make an application for your child.

Healthcare to stay fit and healthy whilst abroad

Before you fly out, you’ll also need to meet with your doctor for a comprehensive health check-up and make sure you’re up to date on all the necessary vaccinations. Next, crack on with research:

While many countries offer excellent public healthcare, subsidy schemes might be only for citizens and permanent residents, and might not extend to expats like yourself.

When you’re determining whether or not your destination country's public healthcare is truly fit for your needs, don’t forget to consider factors like wait times, language barrier, quality of healthcare, amenities, etc.

Typically, private healthcare is the preferred choice for expats, so you might want to check the costs of a standard doctor’s consultation and common treatment/procedures.

Tip: While there are a number of online resources to help with planning, remember to double check the information with the country’s embassy, consulate, or governmental body to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Health insurance to avoid breaking the bank

Does the sound of first-class private healthcare sound tempting? What if you didn’t have to pay sky-high medical bills? You’re in luck: A private health insurance plan does just that*.

As you can see, your options are endless.

Let us help you find a plan that matches your needs and budget. We have expat insurance advisors on hand to help you navigate the local healthcare system and provide support every step of the way.

*Please note that the terms and conditions may vary depending on the insurer and health insurance plan.

As the most basic type of insurance, this covers you in the event that you’re hospitalized overnight at a hospital.

This type of insurance covers you for doctors’ consultation and treatment that doesn’t require hospitalization.

Whether it’s maternity, dental, or vision coverage, “riders” are optional extras that provide additional coverage.

Jet-set and move around the world, worry-free. Worldwide coverage means you’re protected in all corners of the globe.

About Pacific Prime

Established in 2000, Pacific Prime is an award-winning, global health insurance broker with over two decades of experience helping expats and globetrotters find the right health insurance plan for their needs and budget, and supporting them throughout their insurance journey.

Ready to make your move?