I know that moving can create big excitement as well as big stress. My family went though the process in August 2022 when we moved to Italy and fulfilled our dream of living here.
When preparing for the move, I made a list and adjusted it on the way – this helped me to get things organized and not to forget the small things. Of course, I still forgot something 😊 but at least not the big things.
I am sharing my list for you and I hope that you will find all those 8 pages useful and it will help you to plan your moving journey and accomplish the move with as much fun as possible!
In your home country
End or transfer work relationships (maybe you can continue doing your work from your new home location, check out with your employer), plan enough of time for hand-over, inform the employer in advance (based on local law and human relationships).
Make sure you keep all the valuable contacts that you may need in the future. Say good-bye to your colleagues in a good way – the world is very small.
In your new home country
If needed to look for a job – check on the regions in the new country where the profession is required, look for the employers of your choice, send application letters etc.
If not needed to look for think how to organize the daily life and what new activities to start.
In your home country
School or kindergarten – inform the institutions in advance, check out if there are no limitations on how to remove kids from the institution.
Check what documents you need to be receiving, make sure you receive them.
Plan a good-bye party for the kids – it is important for them to leave the old place and friends in a festive mood.
If kids are already bigger – check out their mental wellbeing and make sure they are ready for the move and change of their friend circle.
Involve them in the moving process as much as possible to make this a part of their journey also.
In your new home country
Find a new school or kindergarten, go, and talk to the institution, fill in all the application documents, check out what documents you may need to bring from your home country and what needs to be translated.
You will need vaccination documents from your local doctor – check if they need to be translated.
It may be needed to also bring some graduation documents from the previous years
check with the school to see if they are needed and if they need them translated.
Check on the supplies that the kids will need for new school / kindergarten- buy in advance so that the kids do not feel different when arriving at the school/kindergarten.
Make the first day a festive day – bring some treats from the home country for kids to share in their group. Think of anything about how they can introduce their home country and feel welcomed.
In your Home Country Your Current Doctor
Go for a regular checkup and think about what you may want to ask from the doctor (keeping in mind that in a new country you will not have a doctor who knows your medical history).
If you are taking some medicine regularly – ask for additional supplies to take with you for the first months while you settle in.
Go to a dentist to avoid any unexpected surprises in the first months of moving.
In your Home Country Kids current Doctor
Go to a doctor for a regular checkup.
Check on the vaccination and ask for a vaccination document that you can bring with you and translate (if required).
If kids have some regular health issues – ask the doctor to prescribe some medicine that you can give them if needed (supported by a consultation over the phone).
Take the kids to the dentist, try to fix as much as possible in your home country as here the dentist is known for the kids, in the new country it will be a stranger and it will take some time to get to know him/her.
In your New Home Country
Make sure you know before arrival where is the emergency medical support point in the city and what phone number you need to call in case there is an emergency.
Make sure you know where to go to in case you need medical support – check out the practitioners in your city, establish contact (this can be done already when you are settling in).
If you are taking a road trip or even flying to your new destination, make sure you have travel insurance for all the family.
Health insurance and registration with local health care service
When moving to a new country you will need proper health insurance, in Italy it is needed to receive the residency at the Commune.
After residency is acquired, you may be able to register with the local health care service, but it all depends on the grounds why you are in the new country.
Check out your case and make sure you have a proper health insurance that is valid in Italy once you arrive (it is needed for all family members) and you know your opportunities to register with the national health service or keep buying health insurance.
In Your Home Country
In case you own a property make decision on your next steps and plan them in advance (you can rent it out, allow some relatives to live there or sell it, or any other thing that you think of).
In case you rent a property – notify the landlord according to your lease contract, discuss about the moving out date, check if you need to do any small renovations works based on the lease contract.
Think of the utility and service providers (TV, internet, water, electricity, heating, waste, gas etc.)- whatever your decision is about the next steps with the property, it may involve some contract changes or contact changes for the utility providers.
Think about any tax implications – once you move your residency to a different country, but still keep your property in the home country, does it affect your property taxes. Maybe there is some other effect that you should be aware of.
Insurance – if you have not insured the property yet and you are keeping it, you may want to insure it now as you will not be there to keep an eye on everything.
In Your New Home Country
Based on your situation with the property, make sure you have something in place
when you arrive (either bought or rented).
In case you have planned some renovation works and you have bought an apartment – make sure you inform all other apartment owners about the works (especially if they are going to be loud ones). In a condominium it is all about informing the neighbors.
Make sure you have utilities connected when you arrive – ask for help to someone who is local if needed to choose the best service provider (in Italy there is no monopoly when it comes to electricity and gas so you can choose the provider that suits your needs best). Keep in mind that nothing happens fast in Italy – plan connection of utilities in advance.
In case you are moving with all your furniture and are arriving in an empty place – think of a list of first necessities that you need to buy to live through the days before your belongings arrive.
After renovation, small redecoration or just moving in a place, usually you will see that it is not clean at all – be prepared to either ask someone to clean it before your arrival or clean yourself.
Bring some money with you (or have enough in your account), because you will need to buy different unexpected small stuff that you never thought of.
If you want to ends with your neighbors, plan to bring something from your country as a greeting gesture – it always helps to break the first ice of getting to know each other.
In Italy home insurance is not very popular as it is usually quite hard to get the insurance companies pay in case something happens, yet, if you feel safer this way and you have a valuable property, do think of insuring it. Most Italians are buying home insurance online and not in the offices, as there you can receive a lower price.
Mail And Bills
Your Home Country
If you were receiving some mail or bills to your property address, you need to decide how you will manage in the future – you can forward the mail or ask someone else to receive it.
Your New Home Country
Italian post is not too fast, so my warm suggestion is to apply for online bills or in- App bills where possible, otherwise you risk with late payments for the utilities.
Once you register in the commune and with the new service providers, you will be giving them your new address, so here all should be o.k.
Car or any other motorized vehicle
Your Home Country
You need to decide what you plan to do with your vehicles and act based on that decision.
If you decide to sell, make sure you plan enough time for this and take care of all the documents.
If you decide to take with you to your new home country, you need to decide and take care about:
Means of bringing (will you drive yourself, someone else will drive or you will use a transport service (which, how much will it cost, how long is the delivery time))
Insurance needed (usually a normal EU insurance should be suitable, but check each case by case). I would suggest printing it out and carrying it with you just in case.
If you decide to take a car with you, go to a garage and have a proper checkup – you do not want to be looking for a mechanic in the first months after arrival.
Check on the need to have winter tires in the region that you have selected – there is winter in Italy and in most regions, you will need them, check what are the regulations in yours.
Be aware, that you will need to re-register your car here in Italy and it will take time and money. Usually, it needs to be done within 2-3 months after receiving residency, but with the non-stressed lifestyle of Italy, it will take longer time. Costs will differ based on your car model and engine type but will start at around 1500 EUR and go up.
Make sure your driver’s license is not expired.
Your New Home Country
In case you have arrived with your car (or any other vehicle), check on the process of re-registration and start it once you have obtained residency. You can use agencies to support you in the process (it may cost some additional EUR, but will save you a
lot of headache).
Drive carefully and keep an eye on the speed cameras – Italy loves to issue fines, so keep your money with you.
Park in the right places and if it is a paid parking – pay it. Usually you can see paid parking marked in blue and free of charge parking in white (at least in Umbria it is this way).
Be aware that many cars in Italy are not very new and they do not have parking sensors – parking places are usually the ones where cars get damaged most.
Your Home Country
Moving with animals does involve quite a lot of formalities and things that you need to keep in mind. Some of them are:
How to transport your animal (If you are flying, what are the requirements for taking animals with you. If you choose to transport them by land – how to do it).
What documents and maybe some additional vaccination is needed.
How to prepare the animal for the journey and not make it too stressful for it.
If you cannot take your pet with you immediately, what is the temporary solution (friends, relatives etc).
Go to the vet for a checkup – you do not want any unexpected surprises just as you arrive.
Your New Home Country
Check on the local requirements for having pets – are there any differences to your current approach, any additional requirements to keep in mind.
Look for the local veterinarian, make sure he/she is available to take care of your pet if needed. Once you arrive – make an appointment and introduce yourselves.
You may want to check out the pet food options in your new home country – especially in cases when your pet has very specific taste or requirements.
Your Home Country
You do not need to close your bank account in the home country as you can use the card for purchases in the stores or online and also to withdraw the cash (just check on the commission rates for withdrawal abroad).
Yet, if you want to close it, make sure you plan enough of time for it.
Your New Home Country
You should have opened an Italian bank account already as it is needed for obtaining residency. If not, I highly suggest opening one and select a bank that has some English-speaking employees.
A bank card in Italian bank will secure lower commissions in withdrawing cash.
At this point you may also think about opening an account in any of the big international online banks (such as f.ex.Wise) as it will simplify transfer of the money resources from one bank to the other.
Subscriptions on your Name
Your Home Country
Think of any other subscriptions that you have in your name and decide on the next steps (terminate, stop for a while etc.). Some of the ones that I found when moving where:
- Gym membership
- Subscription to some regular trainings
- Mobile phone number
- Internet (mobile and home)
- Security services for the apartment
- Sports activities for the kids
Your New Home Country
Move first and then select the subscriptions that you need (apart maybe from the mobile phone that you will need before moving). Once you are in the new location, you will understand what is best for you and will make wise decisions.
Moving process activities to be done in your home country
Informing parties involved
Think of all the people who need to be informed about your decision to move and inform them in order according to the time needed for each one of them to accept the news. Inform in advance (not 1 month before you move), the sooner you can do it, the better.
My suggestion of the informing the relatives and friends:
Start with the oldest people and the people who are closest to you or your family – they need most of the time to accept the change.
Inform them and then keep regular contact / meetings to make sure you can explain more about the actual change (sometimes it sounds horrible that you are leaving, but actually you will be coming to your home country 2x year which is the same frequency that you are meeting them at the moment, for example).
Then move to other family members and only then to not too close friends and acquaintances.
Do not forget about the friends of the kids – they also need to be informed and kids need to have enough time to still be with their friends and play before they leave.
If you will be keeping a property and will rent it out, you may want to inform your neighbors, so they let you know in case they see something happening in your home.
Planning Transport For Your Belongings
You need to decide on what you will be moving – all your belongings including furniture or only the small things (clothing etc.). Based on that you can think of what type of transport you need.
Dedicate enough time to finding the transport – it may not be that fast and not as low priced as you expected.
Calculate the approximate weight that you will have and check on how much your selected transport can carry – f.ex. a regular van of 3 tons, can actually carry only up to 1,2 tons of goods and this is nothing for a normal family (trust me, the things are much more heavier than you expect them to be).
Check the delivery (drive) time – bigger vans cannot drive during weekend and night hours so delivery will take a longer time which may mean that if you arrive first, you will be staying for quite a long time without anything.
Planning Your Own Transport To The New Home
Plan and organize in advance the way you will be moving to your new home country – is it by plane, car, or any other means of transport. Buy tickets in advance.
If you are planning to fly- check and decide on the luggage amounts. You may want to take with you a lot or nothing at all.
In case you need to stay a night somewhere during the way, make sure you book a hotel in advance.
Decluttering and Preparing Your Belongings
This is the biggest thing that you need to do before the actual move, so dedicate enough time for it.
To pack and declutter well, here are some suggestions:
If you plan to take the furniture with you (and you have calculated that it makes financial sense to do it), take only the things that:
- are not broken or torn.
- will fit in with your new home measurements wise.
- will fit in with your new home style wise.
When thinking about the household items (plates, cups, cutlery etc.) take only the things that:
- are in a full set (do not take single pieces).
- take only 1-2 sets and not more (f.ex. glasses – do not take 5 or 6 sets of them, you will not be using them anyway).
- are not broken.
- you are using s the ones that have been standing in your cabinet for ages and not being used at all.
When decluttering all clothing, bring with you only:
- items according to the weather conditions in the new home country (check out not only the temperature, but also the local style preferences).
- items that will match your lifestyle in the new country (f.ex. if you are moving from being an office worker to being a full-time mom, you will probably not need 10 pairs of high heeled shoes).
- only items that fit you (it is time to throw out those boxes of things that may fit you once you lose weight).
- only items that you actually wear (remove all duplicates or things that have been gathering dust for years already).
When thinking of all other items, keep in mind:
- take things that you will really use and that you think cannot be replaced (f.ex. paintings on the walls, books – make some solid decisions here).
- revisit all sentimental items and make decisions about them.
- if you have an item that you have not touched for a while, most probably you do not need it.
When gathering belongings and toys of kids, involve them in the process and ask them to sort out things themselves – you will be surprised about how well kids can declutter.
And a golden rule of decluttering is very simple – once you have sorted out the things that you do not need, take them away (sell or give away) and then do it once again – you will see that you can minimize your staff even more by doi this exercise twice or even three times.
This is why planning time for it is essential – 3-4 months is the best, taking in account the period when you need to sell or move out the not-needed things.
Never prepare to pack dirty things – wash everything!
Packing your belongings and making a list
Once everything is sorted you can go into the packing phase. Not to leave everything for the last moment, you can pack in rounds – starting to pack things that are not a daily necessity and leaving the ones that you use daily, for the last days.
Plan to purchase enough packaging material – boxes, plastic foil, bubble foil, scotch, markers.
Make sure you mark every box with the following information – which room in the new home it goes to, what is in it, a number that you will add to the total list.
All fragile things should be wrapped carefully – especially if you are taking a moving company and they will be responsible for transporting your goods. Trust me – they are always throwing the boxes.
Make a list of all the boxes and packages – this way you will be sure that all is delivered to the destination and will orient yourself easily in all the millions of packages.
Handling the belongings
Here is a trick – most of the moving companies offer van services but do not offer upload and unload services or the best offer an upload services in your home country but ask you to take care of the unload in the new home country.
Be smart and check out this question.
If upload/unload services are needed to be organized separately, take care of them, and make sure you are aware of the price (if handling includes some furniture the prices may be higher than you expect).
Doing the shopping
When thinking about moving your things, also do a bit of thinking of what you may need to buy in your home country and bring to the new home country. Here are some examples:
- welcome presents to the neighbors and/or people who supported you on the way.
- some specific products that you really will need till you get accustomed to the products in the new home country.
- medicine that you are used to or that may be of lower price in your home country (also keep in mind the availability thing – not all medicine is available in all countries, check it out).
- and anything else that may come to your mind.
Translating the documents
You will need certain documents to be translated into the Italian language and it is best to take care of the process while you are still in your home country. Some of the documents that we needed where:
- marriage certificate
- marriage contract (if you have one)
- vaccination passports for children
- school documents for children
- birth certificates for children
Check with your real estate agency and commune to see what you may need.
In some cases, Commune may ask for the apostille of the documents – check if your has this requirement and take care of it.
Checking the bills
Before leaving check all your bills and connections in the home country – make sure you do not leave anything unpaid behind.
Having good-bye parties
Once all is organized and you are ready to go, dedicate some time for the farewell parties with your friends and family. Even if you plan to come and visit on regular basis, those get-togethers are an essential part of your moving journey.