How to move to another country in a year?

The idea of writing an article about “How to move to another country?” was inspired by my personal experience. In 2013, I moved from Saint Petersburg to Cancun, Mexico. In between, I traveled solo around Spain and visited Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, and Madrid. My unforgettable solo travel experience resulted in an even more exciting experience in Cancun, where I lived for nine years. I came here with a one-way ticket, 3000 dollars in my bank account, and I knew no one there. 

I didn’t know I would stay there for so long; I wanted to experience traveling solo and learn about different cultures. I was planning my trip from the perspective of a short-term stay abroad that still took a long time to plan. Nowadays, with the experiences I had, I would plan it differently, but we can’t change the past and only have one life to live, so I’m satisfied with how it happened. 

where to stay when moving abroad

Do you want to move to a different country permanently or temporarily? If you answered – permanently, a good rule of thumb is to visit the country and city you plan to move to before the big move. One thing is reading articles and watching videos, where people share their own (subjective) opinions. Another thing is experiencing it on your own. 

how to plan and move abroad

I didn’t have a chance to travel to Mexico before my big trip because my finances were minimal. I could have done it only once and made it work. And I did. Today, having all that experience behind me, I write with certainty if you want to move to another county forever, better visit it for a short stay before packing all your belongings.  

How to move to a different country step by step. 

Here is a basic list of things to consider when moving to a different country. 

  • Decide where you want to move 
  • Research the country, the city you plan on moving
  • Find out the price of living, apartment/house rent, food prices
  • Set a timeline for moving to another country
  • Find out the visa requirements and apply for one if needed
  • Prepare insurance and health care documents
  • Check out all the tax obligations
  • Prepare all the documents
  • Buy the tickets
  • Plan your finances 
  • Arrange shipping of your things 
  • Think through the housing situation 
  • Plan your work or business in advance
  • Hire a local guide to show you around for the first couple of days 
moving to another country

That’s a smart way to plan to move to another country. In my story, it looked a little different with fewer checkpoints but nonetheless with a lot of running around, saving money, and dreaming big. And it took me seven months to plan my move. Following is a list of my checkpoints:

  • Researched about the city I wanted to move to
  • I worked and saved as much money as I could
  • Sold out all the personal belongings that I didn’t need in a new country
  • Purchased all the necessarily one-way-tickets
  • Booked hotel for the first week
  • Learned basic Spanish
  • I announced my plan to move abroad only to several close friends and parents. 
  • I boarded a plane and enjoyed all my adventurous

The first time I admitted to myself that I wanted to move to another country was at the end of 2012 when I was finally over my divorce. I needed a fresh start or at least an adventure. And having an example of several of my friends who moved to Thailand a year before, I was easily inspired by the same idea. Though I hadn’t been to Asia, I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want to move there because, at that moment, I got interested in Spanish culture and started learning their language, the third one for me. My choice of traveling in Spain and then moving to Cancun was influenced by a romantic story, which I described in the article “How did traveling solo with a one-way ticket changed my life.” So when I arrived in Cancun, I had only one red suitcase, a backpack with a camera and a Sony Vaio laptop. I didn’t have medical insurance because it wasn’t required to enter Mexico, and I never had it while living there. Some would call it irrational, but healthcare in Mexico is not as expensive as in the USA, and I didn’t have time to think about that because I was too focused on growing my photography business in Cancun. 

how to move to another country

When I arrived in Cancun, I stayed at the Hotel Suites Gaby for the first week and then moved to a small apartment rented to me by two amazingly kind Mexican women. I found that apartment walking around the streets nearby the hotel and paying attention to the sign that said “Se renta” (translated for rent). That’s a very common way to look for an apartment in Cancun. Two months later, I moved to Playa del Carmen, a small town an hour away from Cancun. There I lived for six years, then in 2020 moved back to Cancun, where I rented an apartment in Malecon Suites with a beautiful view of the hotel zone and lagoon. If you are thinking of moving abroad to Cancun or Playa del Carmen and need a reliable real estate agent, email me, and I will gladly share their contacts with you.

how to plan moving abroad

Benefits of living in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

  • Low cost of living
  • Good food
  • Access to the beach all year round
  • The slow pace of life (sometimes too much)
  • Cheerful local vibes. That includes siesta and fiesta, dancing salsa, friendly hugs, being called “amiga” (English translation “friend”) by the majority of locals, and a chill-out mood penetrating all the surroundings. 
  • No need for winter clothes, which automatically helps to save money
how to move abroad step by step guide


  • Taxi. This topic deserves a separate article, which I will write later. In short, if you plan on moving or traveling to Cancun or anywhere around the Riviera Maya, be ready to deal with local taxis. As of 2023, there is no Uber, and the only available taxi apps don’t work properly. So, when you are downtown, you are forced to hail a taxi on the street or use local public transport unless you have your own car. Taxis like to overcharge tourists who don’t speak Spanish, and some vehicles are very old and smell “not nice,” to say the least. 
  • Noisy. Dogs barking, loud music, and many parties don’t help with silence. So, when choosing an apartment for rent in Cancun or Playa del Carmen, make sure to check the neighborhood.
  • “Mañana” (translation – “tomorrow”) is a way of life. Sometimes tomorrow is not the day that comes after today. Maybe it will happen tomorrow, maybe now, nobody knows. That’s part of the culture and thus has to be accepted. That’s why, while living in Cancun, I always tried to plan my leisure and work activities with a possible delay in mind.
  • Extremely hot in summer, especially in July and August.

What to do when you move to another country? 

The list of things to do when you move to a different country will be different depending on the purpose of your move and whether you do it alone or with your family. It’s always great to have a family support changing country of living, but it’s also possible to do it on your own. I was 31 when I moved abroad to a country I’d never been to. It was adventurous and exciting and helped me expand my life perception. It took me almost a year to get used to a new lifestyle, understand communication, and how to move around. 

where to move abroad

Starting my photography business several months after coming to Cancun helped me keep my mind busy and adapt faster. Based on my experience, I would say that the most important is to get connected to a local community, where you can make friends and learn some insights about the local lifestyle. This will add to a smooth transaction after moving to another country where everything is new. 

Here is a list of activities that can help you get used to a new country and create welcome vibes in your new chapter of life. 

  • Find ex-pats communities and connect; use Facebook or
  • Maintain communication with your family and friends
  • Freelance or work remotely
  • Volunteer to stay connected with the local community 
  • Explore the surroundings 
  • Learn a new skill, for example, how to build a website, which is useful in our digital era. 
  • Visit local art centers and libraries that unite people seeking creative activities. 

That’s all for this article. If you have any questions about moving abroad or need inspiration, comment below, and I will be happy to cheer you up and share useful info. 

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