advice for moving abroad

Are you moving abroad? Read our articles first to make your removal cheaper and safer.

Public Transport Timisoara Romania

The Public Transport Timisoara consists of extensive network of trams, trolleybuses, buses, designated cycling paths, taxis and very efficient network of Uber drivers. Most Romanians from Timisoara, especially those in their 20’s and 30’s speak good English and are very helpful. The good thing about Romania is that you don’t feel intimidated or somehow discriminated here just because you speak British or American type of English (like in some other countries).  Speaking to the locals is often the only way to get the needed information about public transportation in this city. The public signage is rarely available in other than the Romanian language. Fortunately, this changes as the local authorities started preparing Timisoara to be the European Capital of Culture in 2021. (more…)

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Property renting process in Austria

Having just arrived from London to escape the rainy cold winters of the UK to spend the winter skiing in the Austrian Alps, I was lucky enough to move straight into an apartment found by a friend. Therefore, being blissfully unaware of the puzzling property renting process in Austria.

Albeit this was no ordinary apartment, it was one of the oldest buildings in the town and was collapsing to the floor. The owner was planning on getting it demolished that meant we managed to get it for steal. We were working nights and skiing during the day so it was only a place to lay our heads. She managed to get a great deal on a six months by month basis. This is highly unusual and admittedly I took the property renting process in Austria, for granted. Property rental prices can vary depending on where you live but cities are generally more expensive. (more…)

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How to get Red White Red Card in Austria

Since 2011 Austria has introduced the Red White Red Card which allows workers who meet certain criteria from non-EU countries, to live and work in Austria with the intention of permanently settling here.

This is the journey of my good friend’s Lou from Australia. Lou was one of the lucky ones to apply for the Red-White-Red Card successfully – however, this was not without the usual Austrian bureaucratic adversity.

Often known around town as “Tattoo Lou” as her entire arm is covered with a tattoo of the indigenous-to-Australia Eucalyptus tree. I found it intriguing that someone with this type of obvious patriotism would go through all the trouble of applying for the rights to live and work in Austria permanently. If Lou came from any EU country she would be able to live and work freely in Austria. (more…)

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Fly Tipping UK, a common problem in the UK

Fly Tipping UK

Figures released back in 2015 highlighted that more than half of the 10 worst areas for fly tipping UK, illegally dumping rubbish, were in London.

Topping that list was Haringey, situated in north London, with a whopping 25,000 cases being reported in 2014. To put that into perspective, this was the equivalent of one fly tipping offence for every 10 people residing in the area.

The worst thing about this set of data? It indicated an upward trend in the number of fly tipping UK cases.

What are local authorities doing?

On the back of the shocking revelations, a number of local authorities pledged to encourage residents to dispose of their rubbish and waste properly.

The National Fly Tipping Prevention Group (NFTPG) was set up to combine organisations with a common aim: to come up with solutions to the problem of fly tipping UK. Has it been enough though?

What can be done to stop fly tipping UK?

Behaviour change is something that is very difficult to mould and manipulate. It is possible, however, when the funds are put in place.

A good example of this is seen with the Hubbub litter campaign on the streets of London. Originating in Villiers Street, a busy London road, the ‘Neat Streets’ initiative looked at appealing to the general public by providing engaging activities to help decrease littering. According to results released earlier on this year, Hubbub claims the amount of litter produced had dropped by 25 per cent and total littering behaviour by 16 per cent by the end of the campaign.

Another way to deter people from fly tipping may involve the introduction of more stringent deterrents, such as fines or a point system as seen with speeding offences. A fly tipping UK enforcement initiative started over ten years ago in Buckinghamshire has saved tax payers over £1million, so it could and does work.

Both suggestions require funding from Government, as well as the structure to oversee the management of new behaviour change tools, and these are two things that don’t just materialise overnight.

With fly tipping becoming an increasing problem for residents and local authorities alike, key policy makers in Government need to step up to the plate and create a robust roadmap to help London to clean up its act.


Check here to see how much would it cost to book removals to UK.

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Moving to Germany Checklist

Angela Merkel Upstages Them All. She is tall, blonde and curvaceous with cornflower blue eyes – and yes – she’s a Barbie doll, modelled on the current German Chancellor. Mattel celebrated the  50th anniversary of Barbie with version modelled on German chancellor and she was the highlight of the German toy fair at Nuremburg upstaging the other 70,000 new toys being exhibited. “She’s simply a good role model for girls around the world” said a Mattel spokeswoman.

Germany was a founder member of the EU in 1952 and has been a member of the Schengen Area since 1985. The capital city is Berlin and the currency is the euro. It has the greatest population, and German is the first spoken language for more people in the EU than any other language. (more…)

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Moving to Austria from UK

Otzi the iceman

Undisturbed for 5000 years, his relatives live on. Otzi – entombed in ice, on the borders of Austria and Italy, lay undisturbed for over 5,000 years, yet his relatives, as proved by DNA testing, are alive today. From Otzi to Mozart, Austria is a country with a rich heritage, and a beautiful, diverse countryside, from the plains in the North to the Alps in the South. Here there is something for everyone. In 1995 Austria joined the EU, and also the Schengen area Capital city. The capital is Vienna and the currency is the euro.


Although Britain is not a member of the Schengen Area, and therefore customs formalities apply, because we are members of the EU, there is little of consequence to concern the average Briton relocating to Austria. You need not pay any import taxes or duties, nor observe any formalities concerning your personal property.

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Retirement in France for UK citizens

Many Britons have retired to France. The country is extremely popular with the Brits because of its close proximity to England. France is separated from England by the English Channel. Paris is the most populous city in France and also the capital, there is a large community of British expats in Paris, as a result The Cote d’Azur is an Anglophone or English speaking area, as well as Aix en Provence with many British expats residing there.

Similarly there are numerous Brits in Normandy probably, due to its close proximity to the southern English coast. From Stonehenge, London you can journey down to Portsmouth and board a ferry which is about 6 hours to Caen, Normandy. (more…)

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Packing Tips – prepare yourself for moving abroad

Tips for packing your house to move. Imagine – relocating from a big four bedroom house – FULL OF STUFF- to a one bedroom flat in a foreign country – but living in one room in a relative’s house while the flat is being built! That is what faced me – quite some challenge!So – I devised a removal plan, packing tips in several quick steps!

Step 1


There is no point in packing what you do not need! Be honest – be brutal.

Throw everything from the attic downstairs and hire a skip. If it’s been in the attic for years it has no relevance to your life in the future! Empty the shed, greenhouse and the garage into the skip – if there is room.

Get friendly with the guys at the recycling center – they helped me empty my car many times!

Supermarket cardboard boxes have one purpose – to be filled with stuff for Oxfam. I think they came to dread my frequent visits.

Ensure you eBay account is running smoothly – and give yourself time here to take great pictures – borrow a camera if necessary.

Take bulky items to Impact Housing or Age Concern.

Be nice to your neighbours – mine allowed me to fill their paper recycling bins over and over again!

Step 2

Involve your removal company. Mine provided me with the correct size boxes to fill with books, which were safe for the men to carry. They advised me about storage options and they saw potential snags – like the heavy old piano.

Step 3

I needed to sell my house before moving. I found an estate agent whose plug line was a “fast sale”. I never regretted my choice.

Step 4

Painter decorator – Oh! He was lovely! New carpets on the stairs and the house began to look the relaxed, serene place it certainly was not. (Magnolia is the cheapest option here)

Step 5

The house sold I could start packing the house properly for moving.

Step 6

Packing house for move

This was when I really started to organise things so that when I open the crates in another few months time I might be able to find things. I decided to have a traffic light system.

Green for “open me now”
Amber for “open me soon”
Red for – “I am important – open me when you are ready”.

I used coloured tape as that didn’t easily come off the boxes and could be easily seen by me and the removal men. If I had been moving straight into a ready built house I would have done this differently – and used the different tapes for the different rooms, but my barn conversion was still at the barn stage.

The few boxes for specific locations could be labeled at side, front and top. Luckily the piano hasn’t to go upstairs. The kitchen equipment is also clearly labeled as I don’t want pans in my study.

I didn’t make lists of the box contents – I’ll know what’s there when I open them – but you could do this, and either number the boxes to refer back to your notebook, or stick the list on the box.

Delicate things – ornaments and some chine/glassware I wrapped in bubble wrap – lots of it. I kept these boxes together, and told the removal men. I did put a big Fragile notice on just two boxes but I reckoned the removal men would treat everything with due care.

The pictures I left to the removal men as they have thick blankets, I did prop them up together. I also taped together the shelves of several bookcases, and cleared the door ways.

So now all that was left was the small case for the car, a few books, the cat, the dog, and the kettle. I am pleased to say that the day of the removal went smoothly, packing the house to move had been hard work – but quite illuminating.

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What not to do with piano removal

When we relocated abroad, we found that preparing our piano removal was one of the most daunting tasks facing us. We have an old – and exceedingly heavy – upright piano. It probably weighs almost half a ton and is top-heavy to boot. Even a small spinet style of piano weighs around 300 pounds. It was also highly polished, and easily marked or scarred. Added to which our piano had sentimental value, which made transporting it a challenge. We knew that the piano removal would be one of the first tasks when the truck arrived. Being so heavy it needed to go into the container first.First we needed to ensure that there was a way out of the house to the lorry. Getting the piano through the French windows was easy enough – but the garden gate was too narrow – we had to take it off its hinges! We knew the removal men would have a wide dolly, as there was quite long gravel path. We made sure we discussed the piano removal in detail with them – and they had to supply extra manpower for this one item, as 100 pounds is all they should be expected to lift.The day came – and it was raining! We locked the lid, and wrapped it in padded blankets, supplied by the removal men. We taped the blankets in position, making sure the corners were very well protected. A plastic sheet went on top. The men gathered mostly at one end and slid the dolly underneath; very slowly they maneuvered it through the door and into the garden. Through the gate and then over the gravel to the van. Fortunately the van was equipped with lifting gear so it wasn’t too difficult to balance the piano and finally remove the dolly and strap the piano in.

This took some time, and even with the dolly, the men needed a break. It was lucky there were plenty of people around to relieve each other.

I was just glad I didn’t have a grand piano. Piano removal on this scale requires the experts. Most removal companies do not offer this service as it is specialized – and not that commonly needed, since grand pianos take up such a lot of floor space most house do not have room for them. Even a baby grand will require special help and equipment. The keys have to be locked down and they are moved on their backs, not the sides. A board is required to rest it on. Legs have to be removed and carefully padded and packed, and the whole unwieldy thing gently and slowly rolled along to the truck.

What not to do with piano removal

1. Do not drag the piano around on its castors – use a board or dolly – or if it’s small enough carry it, with sufficient manpower.

2. Never try to catch a falling piano. It will be damaged – but better that than you sustaining possible serious injury.

3. If stairs are involved, leave it to the professionals. And ensure there is plenty of room for them to jump out of the way if necessary.

4. Grand pianos of any size are much better left to the experts. They are very easily damaged, and clumsy to move. And they can weigh well over a ton.

5. Don’t forget to make sure the insurance cover is sufficient. If you are insured the piano removal will run smoothly – it you neglect this – something will go wrong (ref: Sod’s Law)

6. Don’t try to move your piano with too few people.

7. Don’t even think of moving a large grand piano if the exits are too small. The piano is moved on its end, not its side – so measure it – and the doorways.

Piano removal should not be undertaken lightly, but with forethought, patience and care (plus plenty of muscle power) it can be successfully achieved.

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Important – removals checklist before you move to another country

Once I decided to relocate, I knew I had to prepare for moving abroad. The administrative tasks were quite daunting, so I prepared a removals checklist – and cheered whenever I could cross off a job done.

Top tip

Keep a special notebook, and computer file (backed up!) Also an e-mail file. Note who you spoke to and when, and what about. File all correspondence.

My Check List

1. Sell my house.

2. Find a reliable removal and storage company.

3. Notify HMRC.

4. Bank accounts

  • Keep UK bank – leave enough money for storage and transport of furniture
  • Open a bank account abroad
  • Possibly open an international bank account to avoi currency exchange fees

5. Pensions

  • Notify providers
  • Ask for a pension Health check

6. ISA and savings – get professional advice.

7. Prepare for moving abroad by getting together the information to inform your new country about all your assets.

8. Medical matters

  • Apply for European Health Insurance card for short term medical cover.
  • Inform my GP – and if possible get a copy of their computer record.
  • Get a copy of hospital notes – PCT – cost about £50.

9. Visit the vet about 3 months before the move and ensure rabies vaccination, microchip and all vaccinations up to date for your pets relocation. They need their own passports.

10. Driving licence – ensure up to date. When I move get the European licence.

11. Check the rules of the road. Make sure I have the requisite items I have to legally carry in the car.

12. Ensure my will up to date – and be prepared to make another one out in Belgium as intestate rules may differ.

13. Sort out the actual move – buy tickets, prepare pet carriage and define route.

14. Inform utilities company that you are preparing to move abroad.

15. Inform local authority -I actually got a rebate!

16. Arrange for post to be forwarded.

This was my list – and it did seem adequate, although the preparation for moving abroad was quite a complicated business. I was often glad of my little notebook, to remind where I had got up to in my preparation for moving abroad.

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Belgium Medical Care

Belgium Medical Care

Belgium medical care is extremely good, and easy to access, once you know how. If you need immediate medical care get permission before you go get – form SR2
or SR1 if you have not had time to get permission. These can be obtained from
the European Cross Border healthcare Team NHS England

Fosse House, 6 Smith Way
Grove Park, Enderby
Leicestershire, LE19 1SX

But do check  if they receive your application.

Before you leave the UK

You will make life easier for yourself if you prepare your medical file before leaving the UK.

Your GP will have a summary of your computer records – ask him if you may have a copy. Medical records, by law, are accessible to you.

If these notes cover a few pages, use a marker pen to outline the important milestones, or make a brief summary. Ensure you have list of your medication – and a reasonable supply. Make a copy of these to give your new Belgium doctor. If you take part in any government health schemes, like routine breast examinations, make sure you know when they are next due.

If you have complex hospital notes you can obtain them – it costs £50 at present unless it is within 40 days of being written up when that information is free. Your local PCT is the contact here. You need to take original documents with you to collect them. If you intend to ask for the notes by post, you will need to get you documents verified by a person of standing – which may be easier to do in the UK where you are known. You will need two types of identification from:

  • birth certificate
  • passport
  • driving licence
  • medical card
  • hospital smart card – if applicable.

You also need proof of address – one of the following: (more…)

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Moving to Belgium with a dog

In 2010 over 4,000 people living in 100 different countries were surveyed about their family life by HSBC International, and Belgium came out top of the poll for a great lifestyle, better education for the children, a feeling of greater safety and a more active, outdoor life. Community spirit is high, the social life is good and there are plenty of opportunities.

Belgium was a founder member of the EU in 1952, and is a member of the Schengen Area. The capital is Brussels and the currency is the euro.  There are three regions – Dutch-speaking Flanders (60% population), French-speaking Wallonia in the south and bilingual Brussels. A small German-speaking minority live in the east. The landscape varies from the flat coastal plains with a coastline of 67 km, and the hills and forests of the Ardennes in the south.

Belgium Customs

Although Britain is not a member of the Schengen Area, and therefore customs formalities apply, because we are members of the EU, there is little of consequence to concern the average Briton relocating to Belgium. There are no restrictions on the amount of currency you may bring in; medication must be for personal use only. Alcohol and tobacco are not restricted, although large amounts may be questioned. Coats, fur and leather shoes made from protected animals will need special authorization. (more…)

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