I Packed Up My Life and Moved to the Other Side of the World—and Here’s How You Can Do It, Too!

Written by Anne Carty 

Photo and Graphic by Briggy Jones

Photo and Graphic by Briggy Jones

Recently, I made the biggest decision of my life, which was to pack up my whole life into two suitcases and move to the other side of the world to be with my long-distance boyfriend. Crazy, I know, but it was time for a change. I knew that moving abroad would be scary but also exhilarating. Big moves can be very stressful and hectic but I am here with five tips to make your move abroad go more smoothly. (Trust me, you’ll need all the help you can get!)


Research is key to making anything go smoothly, whether it’s starting a new project or packing up all your belongings and moving halfway across the world. It is important to carry out research, particularly if you might need a visa so, you will need to find out the applicable visa for your chosen country. While I was preparing for my move to gorgeous New Zealand, I did a lot of research. It took me a long time to figure out which visa was right for me. I had to do some of googling and many visits to the New Zealand immigration site. My boyfriend even rang the office to get the answers I needed that I couldn’t find anywhere else because it was such a specific set of questions. 

After I had organised my visa, and knew what I needed, I then began to do some research on flights, my baggage allowance and how to survive a long distance flight. Pinterest was a great place for me to find blog posts, so make sure you check that out. Being well-researched and prepared is crucial for your move abroad to go smoothly. 

Only Bring Necessities And Special Keepsakes 

Packing for my move was undeniably stressful. Trying to pack my whole life into a 30kg checked bag and a 10kg carry on cabin bag for my international flights was really difficult.  As I packed my two bags with all of my necessities, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to have my bags on my domestic flight from Auckland to the Bay of Islands because the weight limitations were significantly lower than on international flights. 

Do you see why research is important? If I didn’t know this I would have had to fork out a ton of money at the airport for excess baggage. 

Photo by Briggy Jones

Photo by Briggy Jones

When I was organising what to pack I did it in three piles: need to bring, don’t need to bring and might need to bring. This means I have both a pile of definite must brings and a pile of definite must not bring. These were items I can easily replace once in New Zealand. Packing only what you need will keep your weight down and in return save you money. 

My best tip for you would be to make lists, be as organised as possible and don’t stress about over packing, you’ll get there. 

Bringing keepsakes like photos and little memories will help you feel close to your family and friends, especially when you are feeling homesick. I brought many photographs and other keepsakes, such as ticket stubs and pamphlets, from the places I have visited during my travels, so I can add them to my travel journal. 

Before Leaving Try And Find Other Expats Who Live There 

Moving to a new place can be very lonely. It can be even worse if you move to a different country. You are thousands of miles away from your family and friends, which can be terrifying. It’s very important that you try and find others who have moved abroad and make some friends before you move so it’s that much easier to transition and settle into your new home. 

Social media is an amazing way for you to do this. Simply using hashtags can help you reach an audience of people you would never even realize you could reach. Twitter and Instagram are great places to find others using hashtags. Meanwhile, on Facebook, you can join groups, simply by searching  “expats” or “expat groups”, of your new country. 

Surround Yourself with People Who Support You 

Moving abroad is terrifying and can fill you with fear and uncertainty. Surround yourself with people who fill you with confidence and believe in you. There’s no point in being around people who don’t support you. Not having a support system could make you choose not to move because you feel like you can’t do it, or you’re scared because negative people have filled you with doubt that is dragging you down. 

Budget and Save Like Crazy 

It is very expensive to move abroad. To move you need to have enough money to support yourself without having a job, unless you are arriving with a job already lined up. This is another part of the research that you need to do. How much do you need to be able to support yourself? The immigration website should provide all the information that you need. To save as much as you can, you need to budget. A huge tip that I have found across many different blogs and articles is to estimate how much you will need to save to support yourself and then double that number. It’s better to have more money than expected rather than not enough to support you during your first couple of months. 

Extra tip 

Photo by Ava Doherty

Photo by Ava Doherty

Flying to a different time zone causes jet lag. I have moved from Ireland to New Zealand, which is a thirteen-hour time difference. I was very worried about being jet lagged and sleeping all day and not being able to spend time with my boyfriend. But I found something that helped me with the jet lag. 

Before my flights, I figured out when it was night time in New Zealand so I needed to sleep then. For example, Ireland to Istanbul I stayed awake, although in Ireland it was time for me to sleep because it was morning in New Zealand. Then from Istanbul to Hong Kong, I got a few hours of sleep.  From Hong Kong to Auckland, I also got a few hours of sleep when it was night time in New Zealand. So when I arrived in New Zealand at 1:30 p.m., I was awake and very fresh, instead of like a zombie. 

Moving abroad is stressful but I hope that the above tips may be able to help you. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself and not getting so stressed that it makes you ill.

Happy moving! 

With Love, 

Anne xxx  

Anne Carty selfie smiling

anne carty

Anne is from Ireland who is now made a huge move across the world to New Zealand. She is also an assistant at Quiet Nonsense and runs her own blog www.foreverthewanderer.ie with topics including travel, mental health and so much more. Anne dreams of/ is working towards becoming a professional blogger. She wants to teach people how to live happier and healthier lifestyle through the above topics on her own blog and on The Quiet Nonsense. Anne has also been creating content on YouTube so if you are more of a YouTube watcher make sure you check her out!


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