Moving to another country is no small feat. It takes planning and preparation and especially if you are from the US, where we do everything a bit differently, there are a few things you should remember as you are getting ready before moving to Europe.
Before moving to Europe
- Bring converters
While you can definitely buy them in big department stores, I much prefer to order them on Amazon before leaving so that I am able to use my laptop and charge my cellphone in the airport on long layovers or as soon as I arrive in the country of destination. Make sure you match the voltage as well. For high voltage items such as blow dryers, I recommend buying them once you get to Europe.
- Alert your bank
In order to avoid your card being frozen, make sure you let your bank know where you are traveling and for how long. Also make sure to check with your bank the foreign fees. You don’t want to end up paying an extra 10 dollars every time you withdraw or use your credit card. I recommend getting an international credit card without foreign transaction fees such as the Chase Sapphire preferred.
- Make sure you have your visa
Visas can take up to 4 or 5 months to process so make sure you start this process well ahead of times. Some airports will require either a visa or a return flight within the appropriate time period (usually 90 days) before allowing you to check in.
- Pack lightly
Most European countries will have pretty much everything you need so don’t weigh down your suitcase packing Snickers and Tylenol. Even if you can’t find your favorite brands in the supermarket there are usually American stores in most major cities.
In Europe they run on military time, so don’t confuse your appointment at 6 to be 6pm, which would in fact be written 18:00. Dates are also the opposite in Europe. They use the format day/month/year as compared to the American month/day/year.
Remember that Europe uses the Celsius rather than Fahrenheit measurements of weather so when it says it’s going to be 30 degrees, don’t bring a jacket.
Instead of using pounds, Europeans use kilograms. So if you are weighing your suitcase keep this in mind. Kilograms are roughly half the weight of pounds. Additionally, instead of feet and inches, they use centimeters and meters.
- Be open-minded
While Europe isn’t drastically different from the US, there are definitely distinct and unique traditions, etiquette, and customs depending on which country to move to. Make sure you watch and adapt to these cultures before moving to europe, rather than rejecting them as different. It is so important to learn from the country you are in and to keep an open mind.