How to Plan Moving Abroad for a Year

How to Plan Moving Abroad for a Year

Written by Owain Banfield
Written by Owain Banfield
7th December 2017 (Last updated on Monday 17th December 2018)

Whether you’ve arranged a working holiday in Australia, transferred to a foreign university, or moving for an international work placement, there are many ways to live abroad for a year. When it comes to moving your life abroad, even for a year, there are many things to consider and plan ahead of time. With the right planning, nothing will hold you back with your International move.

Here at Compare My Move, we've helped hundreds of people solve their wanderlust and move abroad. So let's take a look at some of the points you'll want to consider before you move abroad for a year.

Your Current Situation and Your Year Abroad

Moving abroad can seem like a pipe dream when you're worried about where you currently live in the UK: but things don't have to be complex. If you’re currently renting, you’ll want to align your tenancy contract to end at the point you'll move abroad: you won’t want to be paying a rent in the UK whilst living abroad! Treat your remaining tenancy duration as a sort of count-down: time to plan and prepare for your travels abroad.

If you own a house, you can secure it and get friends and family to check up on it, or arrange for a house sitter. Ideally this will be a great chance to rent your house out for a year. A steady income stream from this will help off set your mortgage payments whilst you’re abroad, you won’t have to shift your major furniture items and appliances, and your house will be in safe hands.

Leaving Things Behind During your Year Abroad

Moving abroad for a year is a great chance to start again. You'll be in a new environment and culture, so you shouldn't feel over burdened by what to do with your old stuff and belongings. Because you'll be away for a year, it’s not likely you’ll be looking to ship your entire life abroad. But you shouldn’t see your worldly belongings as a reason not to go.

If you've decided to rent out your house, then you won't have to worry about getting rid of major pieces of furniture. But if you're in another situation, this is a great chance to sell off and donate unwanted items and furniture. Plus, look into long-term storage options to keep all your belongings secure for your year abroad. Self storage will allow you to drop off your own items, but some companies will fully pick up and pack your belongings into containerised storage, and even arrange delivery for when you're back in the UK.

There are of course many items you can’t live without, so use Compare My Move to arrange an international removal company to transport your items safely and efficiently. For more information on international furniture transport, check out our guides on air freight, road freight and shipping.

Renting vs Buying for a Year Abroad

If you’re looking to stay for a year, it’s unlikely you’ll be looking to buy a house abroad as soon as you’re there. Renting can be the perfect choice depending on your situation.

Looking for a furnished flat may be more expensive, but it’ll save you from the hassle of having to buy or ship out a range of furniture, just to have to resell it at the end of the year. Even if you end up staying in your new country and purchasing a house, it’s best to have got a feel for the area through renting beforehand.

Companies like Roommates Budapest or Paris Stay are a great way of finding flatshares and short term renting options ahead of your trip abroad, letting you research and arrange your place before you leave.

Bringing Your Pets Abroad for a Year

Don’t see pets as a reason not to spend a year abroad: bring them with you! You’ll need to check the specific requirements for importing pets into the country in question, but as a general rule you’ll need to arrange a Pet Passport. This will allow your to take your pet out of the UK, then bring it back into the country again.

Pet passport include proof of ownership, rabies blood test proof, description of your pet, and vet details. Your pet will need to receive a rabies jab, booster shot, and be micro-chipped. Most major airliners will have warm and pressurised holding sections for transfer of your pets safely. For more information check out our ultimate guide to taking your pet abroad

Language and your Year Abroad

If you’re planning on living abroad for a year then learning the language is a must. Sure, you can probably get by in certain areas with just English, but if you plan on truly living within a community abroad, you’ll need at least a basic grasp of the language.

A year abroad is a great chance to get fully immersed in a culture, so its likely that your language skills will improve dramatically whilst you’re abroad. But whilst planning your trip from the UK, use apps like Duolingo to get to grips with the basics, and look for courses in your area. Any effort you put in ahead of time will be handsomely rewarded when you get to your new home abroad.

Redirecting Post Whilst Abroad

While you’re away for a year abroad, life will continue as normal back in the UK. You won’t want to return after a year abroad to a mountain of important post: you’ll want to arrange something in advance. That could be simply getting family or friends to pick up your post, but otherwise you can redirect your post to a new address.

If you haven’t already, try and go fully electronic for bank statements and other bills to cut down on your physical post. You can pay to redirect post going to a particular surname at an address, and get it forwarded to either a UK or International Address. Whilst you’re away, arrange for your letters to be redirected to a family or trusted friend’s house, or to your new address abroad.

Redirection can be arranged by post, online or at your local Post Office, and have varying costs depending on the destination address. Find below costs for redirection for up to 12 months through the Royal Mail.

New AddressPrice per Last Name

Within the UK


Non-EU Overseas (International Standard)


EU Overseas Address (International Standard)


Driving During your Year Abroad

If you’re looking to drive abroad during your stay, and you’re moving out of the EU, it’s likely you’ll need to arrange for an International Driving Permit (IDP). The IDP is accepted in more than 140 countries across the world, including the USA and Australia, but remember to check before you leave!

You carry the IDP alongside your UK licence. It costs £5.50 and is valid for 12 months, and can be bought at your local Post Office.

Visas for a Year Abroad

Sorting your Visa out ahead of time is a must if you’re looking to move abroad for a year. In most non-EU countries, if you’re planning on being there for up to a year it’s likely you’ll need a visa, especially if you’re looking to work.

Luckily, a very popular Visa option at top locations for UK travellers is for working holidays of up to a year or more.

In Australia UK travellers between 18 and 31 years old can apply for a Working Holiday Visa and work in the country for up to a year. Likewise, there’s a Working Holiday Visa of up to 23 months to work or study in New Zealand.

Check Visa requirements and plan well in advance and it’ll go without a hitch. For a full rundown of Visa requirements, check out our ultimate Visa guide.

Living in Europe for a Year

You currently don’t need a visa to live and work in European Union countries, but there are a few things to consider if you’re staying for over a few months.

At many of the top European destinations, you’ll need to declare residency if you plan on living and working for more than 3 months in the country.

In countries like Spain and Italy for example, you’ll need to register at either the closest town hall in the case of Italy, or the closest Foreign Office in Spain. After registering you’ll be issued with a residency card. In Germany, you’ll need to register within the first 2 weeks of arrival at the closest Registration Office if you plan on staying over 3 months.

UK citizens don’t need a residency card to live and work in France, but It’s advisable as the card makes administrative tasks a lot easier.

Currency Transfers

If you're planning on living abroad for a year, it's likely you'll want to exchange money regularly between the UK and your new home. You should use a foreign currency broker to make these transfers easier, with generally lower fees and exchange rates than British banks.

Compare My Move International

We hope that this article has helped you plan your year abroad, and you're feeling informed about your next steps. When the time comes, remember to use Compare My Move to get connected with up to 6 removal companies to move you to your new life abroad. Just fill in a simple form, and get connected.

For more reading, check out our Ultimate Guide to Moving Abroad.

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