International Relocation Services for Individuals:
A Guide on Going Solo Abroad

Are you planning an international relocation by yourself and don’t know where to start? You are not alone!

Moving solo has a lot of challenges that couples and families don’t face. Loneliness, due to lack of friends and knowledge of the local language, is the main pain point for individuals. We might not be able to offer you a friend, but we can help you with every step of your relocation.

Moving abroad solo may seem easier than having a family in tow, but this is not always the case. The weight of responsibility lies solely on your shoulders, and it can be hard to not have a companion to share the emotional toll. When relocating by yourself, it is important to prioritize your needs. Dedicating time for hobbies, making friends, and building a support system are all steps that are just as essential as physically packing and moving to your new destination. But, rest assured: relocating as an individual does not mean you are alone.

 

Getting help with your relocation can make a big difference. Our team of serial expats will help you transition seamlessly from one place to the other. With enough knowledge and experience, we have created a set of essential relocation services, especially tailored for individuals.

What are Relocation Services for Individuals?

Picture this: You are alone in an unfamiliar environment, where you do not speak the language and cannot read signs. This is a big challenge to face on your own. For this reason, it is important to assess yourself and your needs before taking the plunge into this new and exciting adventure. Moving to a foreign country alone is the adventure of a lifetime for many expats. However, setting off on this path is never easy, and if you are by yourself, the hassles of packing, shipping or applying for a visa can get overwhelming. That is where InterNations GO! steps in. Our experts take the weight of your shoulders, and help you sail through the process with the support system you need.

Which are the Main Challenges to Consider When Relocating Alone?

Relocation is a three-stage process: pre-departure, moving, and settling in. During pre-departure and moving, individuals need just as much help as couples or families. However, where solo expats need more support is in the settling-in phase.

 

Pre-Departure and Moving

Although as an individual you will likely have fewer physical belongings than a family of four, you will still face many obstacles before relocating. For instance, just deregistering from authorities in your home country will require a lot of paperwork and patience. Next up is deciding what you want to move abroad with you, what you want dispose of, and what you want to store.

 

Finances

Couples and families have more streams of income. As an individual, you might not need to ship a whole house with you, but long-distance relocation can be financially strenuous. You need to consider that you have to buy flights, possibly rent a storage unit, find a new apartment, pay a deposit, buy furniture, etc.

 

If you do need to ship belongings, you will not just have to factor in shipping costs, but also import taxes. Another factor to consider in your finances are visa fees. Depending on your country of origin and your destination, visa application costs can be pricey. You might not only have to factor in the fees, but also the costs for translations and authentications, which a lot of countries require. If your application process is denied, these costs will not be refunded.

 

Assessing and managing your finances is full of risks and challenges even in your home country. When moving abroad, you will have to think about international and/or double taxation. Take into account, that it is not uncommon for expats to have to pay taxes both at home and in their new country in the first year. Will you want to become a non-resident for tax purposes? Will you want to keep your old bank account back home? Will you set up one in your new country’s currency to save up on conversion fees? These are valid questions that sometimes you cannot answer without professional assistance. Our advice is to get your finances in order beforehand and get the help of an international tax advisor.

 

Visa Application and Work Permits

 No matter if you’re a family of four or an individual, getting the appropriate visa, work permit, and gathering all the right documentation for the application is probably the biggest pain in the relocation process.

 

Every country has countless visa types each with their own sets of rules regarding the paperwork. Expats will quickly find they have to bend over backwards to bring all the necessary documents together. Make sure you have bank certificates, tax records, medical records, and employment contracts all translated and notarized as a lot of countries require this.

 

Home-Search

The real estate market in top expat destinations, such as Canada, Australia and the US, is competitive and pricey. Searching for a home will take some time and you will need to make compromises along the way. You may even have to share an apartment with other people, as living alone may exceed your budget.

 

On the bright side, relocating as an individual means you have more flexibility. If you don’t like your new place, you can pack up and leave. Make use of that freedom to test the waters, get acquainted with your neighborhoods, and maybe even rent short-term before putting all of your eggs in one basket and buying a place.

 

Language Barrier

If you don’t speak the language of the country you’re moving to, learning the local language is a necessity. You will need to deal with repairmen, telephone providers, and people at municipal offices, to name a few. Everyday tasks can become demanding without the help of intermediaries. For this reason, learning the language should be a priority. It helps you feel more at home and stay independent. You will not have to rely on other expats or professionals to translate for you. Over time it gets tiresome and expensive.

 

Health Risks and Appropriate Healthcare

Falling sick in your home country and dealing with health insurances, treatment options, etc. is already hard. Now imagine being sick in a country with poor medical infrastructure and exposure to health risks. The quality in health care depends greatly on where you live. Because of this, it is crucial to relocate to a country that offers sufficient and good quality medical care. Consider researching countries with a high number of well-equipped medical facilities in all cities. Avoid countries affected by serious infectious diseases or medication and equipment shortages.

 

Loneliness

Do you need an active social life to thrive? If you are someone who needs a big social group and lots of distractions, moving to a secluded beach town somewhere in New Zealand would not be ideal. But this doesn’t mean you need to move to big metropolitan cities like Sydney or Hong Kong either. Find something in-between, where you can make friends, go out, but also find peace and quiet.

 

If you are relocating for career reasons, you may not have a lot of flexibility to choose a destination. However, work should never be the top priority to move. An itch for adventure, purpose, and opportunity should be high on that list. Otherwise, you will not thrive outside of your workplace and will have a hard time integrating into your new culture and surroundings. This could lead to relocation blues, a sort of adjustment disorder, that if ongoing, could turn into depression. Find what motivates you and what gets you out of bed in the morning apart from your job.

 

New Friends and Love

Couples and families don’t feel the immediate need to make friends in their new home, as they already have each other. As an individual, you will need to face the idea of being by yourself a lot, especially in the beginning. Settling in at a new job and home does not leave much time to find friends.

 

Realistically, your best bet is to move to an expat haven such as Australia, Canada, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Spain and Germany. Everyone is in the same boat. You will definitely meet kindred spirits, who have had experiences similar to you. When the holidays arrive, they will be the ones inviting you to celebrate together and you will be glad you didn’t spend them alone in your apartment. 

Many single expats also put their personal life on hold when relocating. Adapting to a new environment turns into a priority, while investing time in a relationship becomes secondary. Sometimes this happens because the move is meant to be temporary or you are simply uncertain of your future plans. Even though looking for a partner in unknown territory can be challenging, expats should not let their ever-changing lifestyle deprive them of romantic relationships.

 

But, where to meet a new love interest? Although a lot of expat communities are a great place to meet kindred spirits, they tend to unconsciously create a couple’s and family’s culture that excludes singles. You will most likely be the third wheel at a barbecue until your friend’s husband invites his single colleague especially for you. If this gets too much, make use of that freedom you have as a single person, and move somewhere with bigger singles’ communities, like Latin America and Southeast Asia.

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What Other Challenges do Individuals face?

Solo Women Alone Abroad

With the number of expats moving abroad, especially for work purposes, concerns for safety have risen. Crime threat and political violence are still a concern in certain areas of the world. For this reason, crime against foreigners and violence against women should not be taken lightly.

 

Single women living abroad often need to be wary when doing everyday tasks. For instance, when viewingapartments, waiting for a repairman, or going out alone at night, single women need to stay safe and alert while maintaining a strong sense of independence.

 

When narrowing down your destination search, include places with low crime rates and high rankings in gender equality, like Iceland, Denmark and Austria. Moving to places with a large expat community is also a good idea as they are a good support system.

 

Solo Seniors Alone Abroad

Solo seniors looking to retire abroad, need to think strategically about their finances. Can you afford to live abroad? Depending on the laws of the country you move to, you may need to file and pay taxes to that government on your worldwide income. Your pension and any other form of social security benefits are considered a form of income and may need to be taxed regardless of where you live. Some countries have a tax relief or lower tax rates specifically for retirees.

 

Keep in mind, that your home country might ask for a tax return as well, even though you no longer live there. To avoid double taxation, research countries that have treaties with your home country, or get the help of an international tax advisor.

 

Another challenge retirees face is getting a temporary residency permit  abroad without a job. A lot of countries will ask for proof of sufficient means to support yourself while in their territory, as well as a health certificate and proof of health insurance. Look into the best countries in which to retire that offer easy visa access for retirees. South America is an especially popular destination, particularly places like Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama.

 

Also, be aware that the older you get, the more you will have to rely on a good infrastructure and healthcare system. This is one of the main reasons more and more retirees choose southern European countries such as Portugal and Spain. Healthcare and infrastructure are good and easily accessible. Our retiree page, provides further details on how to retire abroad.

 

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You are not Alone: Why Choose International Relocation Services When Moving Abroad?

Leaving behind the comfort and familiarity of your home can be both challenging and exciting. Whether you are seasoned expat or a newbie in the world of relocation, moving is hard emotionally and physically. While couples have each other and can divide and conquer, moving abroad as an individual can be especially draining because you are responsible for all the decisions along the way. Long-distance relocation services will take the emotional weight off your shoulders and help you navigate the relocation process, by assessing your needs, simplifying the moving process, and anticipating obstacles.

 

 

Which are the Main Relocation Services for Individuals?

Individuals generally have fewer belongings when compared to couples or a family. If they are transferees on a temporary assignment, they will most likely pack light and keep most of their belongings, such as furniture, in storage.

 

Important for both individuals and families alike is assistance during the visa application process, deregistering in the country of origin and registering at the new destination, and solutions on international taxes and double taxation on world income.

 

Unlike couples and families, who have one another in the beginning, individuals are alone in their new home. It is understandable that they have a great need for meeting new people right away. Hiring personal relocation services will help you settle in, free up your time, and alleviate stress, so you can focus on starting this exciting new chapter by meeting locals, making new friends, and learning the language.

 

At InterNations GO! we can help you:

 

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What are the Costs?

The costs vary depending on the expat relocation services you will need. Many individuals go for the basic package. It consists of three essential relocation services, such as home finding, visa solutions, and settling-in assistance. This costs around $1,500. A premium package includes moving and storage of your personal belongings and can mount up to $4,000.

 

Basic Relocation Package: 1,500 USD

  • Home Finding
  • Visa Solutions
  • Settling-in Services

 

Premium Relocation Package: 4,000 USD

  • Home Finding
  • Visa Solutions
  • Moving and Storage
  • Settling-in Services

Examples of Personal Relocation Packages

John

John was offered a job in China. He will be moving there from the US, where he is sharing a furnished apartment. Most of his belongings will go into storage. John has always had an active social life and wants to maintain it in his new home.

What relocation services does John need?

  • Visa Services
  • Storage
  • Home Finding
  • Language and Culture Training
  • Settling-In Services
  • Membership to InterNations Expat Groups and Events

Rita

Rita wants to retire early. She was living and working in Sweden, and now she is moving to Spain. She owns an apartment in Valencia. She usually rents it out, but now plans to live there.

She likes reading and was part of a weekly book club in Sweden.

What relocation services does Rita need?

  • Moving and Storage
  • Language and Culture Training
  • Settling-In Services
  • Membership to InterNations Expat Groups and Events

Emily

Emily was promoted in her current company. She will be transferred from New Zealand to the UK. Except for some pieces of furniture, she does not have many belongings to bring to her new home.

What relocation services does Emily need?

  • Visa Assistance
  • Moving
  • Home Finding
  • Settling-In Services
  • Membership to InterNations Expat Groups and Events

How Does it Work?

On our website, you will find a form with questions about the relocation services you need. After filling it out, our experts will have a better understanding of your situation. If you do not know exactly what you need, you can contact us,  and we will assess your requirements directly during a one-hour consultation call.

 

Each relocation is different; therefore, your needs will be unique to yourself. Because of this, our packages will be tailored to your specific situation. You might need accommodation assistance, but not necessarily packing and moving. Upon arrival at your destination, you might need legal and financial guidance, but not language or cultural training.

 

Requirements for packages are as individual as the person moving, from graduates who have never lived alone, to executives at their career peak, and retirees looking for a slow pace of life. Our experts will guide you through every step and offer a tailored relocation package. This way you won’t have to research each service individually. Instead, you will find everything in one place.

Additional Services You Might Be Interested In

InterNations GO! has a range of services that can be tailored to suit your individual needs. Whether you are moving abroad alone or as a family, we assess your situation and provide expert guidance to help you make your international relocation as smooth as possible.

 

We Help You GO!

We offer guidance on visa applications and help you find a home overseas, even before you arrive in your new country.

 

We Ease You In

Once you have moved abroad, our settling-in services help you register with local authorities. We then make you feel like a local with tailored language and cultural training.

 

We Bring You Together

From school searches to pet relocation, we help you and your loved ones stay strong together.

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