The Hidden Costs of Moving Abroad

Thursday, 27 Apr 2017

Unexpected costs

The costs of moving abroad are rarely at the forefront of our minds when choosing a place in the sun. We all love the idea of moving overseas to somewhere sunny and exotic, where life is just so much better than at home. Places like Spain, Italy and Australia seem to shine in comparison to home on a cold, drizzly day. However, it would be unwise to throw caution to the wind and jump on a plane tomorrow. Moving abroad can be expensive, and you may not have considered some of the costs involved. Send My Bag draws your attention to ten unexpected costs of moving abroad to protect you from any nasty shocks.

  1. Travel costs. Of course you will have to pay for transport to your new country of residence. But, you will also have to spend money on preliminary trips to scout out the area and to find a property. Plus, you will inevitably want to visit your family at some point, so you will need to consider whether you can afford a trip home every year.
  2. Shipping costs. You will need to transport your possessions abroad, too. Using shipping companies can be expensive, and the transit time can be very slow. You could consider using Send My Bag’s luggage delivery service, instead, which is quicker than sea freight and sees your luggage delivered straight to your door. It also means you don’t have to hire the services of a customs agent. Read Send My Bag’s ‘How it Works’ page to find out more.
  3. Customs taxes and duties. Not all countries provide duty free allowances for personal effects, so fees may be levied when sending your possessions abroad. Even if you are not charged customs taxes on your personal items, you may still be required to pay local inspection fees if your shipment is stopped and searched.
  4. Transporting your pets. If you have pets to bring with you, you will have to pay for their ‘airline ticket’, too. There are numerous other costs to consider, as well, such as handling fees, health certificates, vet bills, and quarantine fees. In fact, the cost of transporting your pet across the world is likely to run into thousands.
  5. Replacing appliances. Due to differences in voltage and the electrical plugs used on appliances, your old items could become defunct in your new country of residence. Even if using a plug adapter, they may still not work abroad, or not as efficiently as they would at home. This means you will very likely have to buy new appliances.
  6. Visa fees. Depending on the country you plan to emigrate to, you could be faced with steep visa fees. For example, to obtain a visa granting entry to Australia as a skilled worker, you would expect to pay $3600 AUD as a base application charge. Some countries might also require you to undergo a medical in order to obtain a visa, which will only add to the cost of moving abroad.
  7. Higher cost of living. The grass is always greener until you realise your salary doesn’t reach as far as it did back home or your pension pot won’t last anywhere near as long as it would at home. Make sure you research the cost of living in your new home town to see if your resources will suffice. If you are moving with work, ensure your salary matches any higher living costs.
  8. Bad exchange rates. If you are moving abroad, chances are you will want to transfer your funds into a local bank account so that you can pay for things like a mortgage and utility bills. If the exchange rate is bad at the time of transfer you could lose a lot more money compared to when the exchange rate is more favourable.
  9. Lack of pension perks. If, while living abroad, you are still paying into a pension at home, you may miss out on associated perks. If you are from the UK, for example, you may have only limited access to tax relief on your pension, or none at all. Also, if you receive your UK state pension in a country outside the EEA it is unlikely you will receive pension increases each year.
  10. Unfamiliar tax systems. You may be familiar with how your tax system works at home, but make sure you find out about the taxes levied in your new country of residence and budget for them, otherwise you will find yourself landed with bills but no means of paying them.

As well as advice on the costs involved in moving abroad, Send My Bag has many more helpful guides to moving abroad, to buying a house overseas and to working abroad.

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