Fail to plan, plan to fail or so the saying goes. As much as I try to act like I’m one of those super organized girls – my attempts are normally a bit half asked. You know, like I buy the fancy Filofax but don’t write anything in it. That said, when I knew I was jumping ship to the states I did take a bit of time to get my life in check. The majority of the stuff is self explanatory – cancel your rent, inform your parents of move etc, but there are a few things that I wish I had pre-empted and planned for. Likewise there are the odd things I did (albeit unknowingly) prepare for which meant I was extra smug when they paid of.
So because we all love a list…
1) Holiday health insurance – this one was a bit if a fluke but holy mother of Beyonce am I glad I had it. Although I was on my husbands health insurance we weren’t able to enrol me until my SSN had arrived. 48hrs into arriving in the states I needed to go to hospital with suspected DVT- luckily I had yearly worldwide holiday insurance with my bank which meant I was covered for emergency treatment and didn’t face a pricey bill. Advice: Even if its just for a few days – make sure you have some sort of health insurance.
Whilst we’re on the subject of health…
2)Stock up on any prescriptions! Especially contraception (a monthly supply costs around $50 in the states) additionally get any outstanding check up and tests done a few months in advance allowing yourself time for the results and any subsequent treatment. Similarly ask for a copy of your medical notes – very useful if you do have to follow anything up post move.
3) Get your phone unlocked – when you first arrive in the states you won’t have any credit history meaning getting a phone contract will be nigh on impossible. Instead opt for an affordable pay as you go monthly contract (mine worked out $50 with tax for unlimited data and calls). If you don’t want to shell out for a new handset make sure you get your phone unlocked in the UK (it’s much harder to do so in the states) Call up your phone provider and they will put in a request with your phones manufacture. A week or so later you will get a text to say its unlocked. Easy peasey. I’d recommend this over the dodgy street vendors as they will charge much more and have to send your phone away.
4) Go shopping – specifically for beauty supplies. If you use specific European brands and products in the UK likely hood is they’re going to be more expensive here in the states or not available. Want an example? Batiste dry shampoo retails for around £3 a can back home, over her I’ve seen it being sold for $9. That said if you forget – Boots have a U.S. Site and free delivery for orders over $25. 3 for 2 anyone?
3) Change your address. Make sure any UK based correspondents have your parents or a friends address. It’s especially important to let your employer know this before you leave as this is where they will send your P45 form which is essential if you need to claim a tax refund for the year.
5) Get photocopying – make sure you have a copy of essential documents like your passport, visa and marriage certificate. I’d also recommend leaving copies with a close family member or friend just in case.
5) Finances – yes it’s yawn.com but worth it. If you have any outstanding credits cards pay them off, or make sure you have a direct debit set up with enough money in a UK account to cover you for a few months. Money transfers can be pricey and crappy exchange rates can really screw you over. Don’t let the banks transfer your money – use sites like http://www.transferwise.com instead.
6) Student loan – if you have one and aren’t going to be working for a while let them know. Then they won’t keep trying to contact you (because they will). Similarly inform when you start working again. Any of those rumours about not having to pay payments if your abroad are a lie and you could face a lump sum payment.
I will think of more!