Moving to Europe 101
Well, isn’t this an adventure of a lifetime? Europe is a wonderful place to be in, whether you plan on visiting as a tourist or staying as a full-fledged resident. Moving to Europe has its challenges and certain things that require some getting used to. However, when you know what’s in store and are able to prepare adequately, you have nothing but joyous time to look forward to. And the following text is all about familiarizing you with the upcoming events, tasks, and possible surprises.
Taking care of things prior to your flight
Before you put on your beret and buy your first baguette, there are things at home that require some taking care of. These tasks regard legal and financial actions. The former ones include:
- Inform the tax authorities of your leave. It will most likely come down to you filling out forms that tell the authorities you are no longer tax resident in your home country. As a non-resident, for example, you are no longer obliged to pay tax on your savings accounts. Certainly, that’s some money you would like to keep.
- Sort out your current pension. In most cases, American and Canadian pensions cannot be moved. Australian residents can move their pensions to Europe after they’ve been resident 12 months abroad. Have this in mind when planning your move to Europe.
- Set up a new pension scheme. See with your new employer what can be done about your new pension plan. Know that you can set up a European Union Retirement Benefits Scheme if your employer fails to be of help.
- See what you will do with your current residence. That is, whether you are going to sell or rent it.
While the latter ones are:
- Set up a direct debit to pay off your credit card. It comes out as very useful for booking international flights and for other purchases online which may not accept debit cards.
- Renew any bank cards you might have. In addition, you ought to make sure that your current bank card isn’t going to expire whilst abroad.
- Have a word with a financial adviser. Chances are you are going to need new advice as you may have to move some of your investments around for tax & currency planning purposes.
Moving to Europe means familiarizing with the culture
While moving down the block is made easy with residential movers Miami, moving to Europe does require more effort. After you’ve taken care of all the technicalities previously mentioned, it’s time to get to know the country you are moving to. Now, since we are unaware of your future location, we will speak of Europe in general, mainly accentuating the differences it has with the USA.
Traffic and transportation
Roads are narrower and cars are smaller throughout the whole of Europe. This can take some getting used to. Europeans drive a car with a manual shift gear, as opposed to Americans, who utilize the automatic option. In addition, Europeans tend to drive less, since public transportation systems are a lot better than those across the pond. Buses, trams, and metros are all very available and reliable. And for those of you who like to take an alternate route and rent a bike, know that many places have designated bike lanes throughout the cities.
Portions you get in a European restaurant are much smaller than those in America. This stands for both food and drinks. Of course, when in the US, you can see this as getting the biggest bang for your buck. However, since Americans are getting fatter, chances are you don’t really need that much. Europeans don’t have XL sizes in groceries, foods, drinks, and, consequently, not many in clothes.
While on the matter of clothes, it’s worth noting that the Europeans dress much better than Americans in general. This rule especially applies to women in Central and Eastern Europe. It is highly unlikely you will see anyone go to a mall or anywhere outside wearing baggy sweatpants, big sweatshirt, bright white tennis shoes, out of style jeans or out of style clothes of any kind, and without makeup. It is simply a part of the culture. Both men and women pay special attention to their clothing choices.
Tips and tax
Unlike in the US, where you are more or less expected to tip, even for the long distance moving companies in Miami, Europe sees it as an action conducted at your own discretion. What’s more, while the American employee expects 18-20%, in Europe 10% will suffice. Of course, high-end restaurants will expect a greater tip, but it’s all up to you whether you decide to leave it. Also, the price that you see is the price that you get. Tax is already figured into the price of the meal, so no surprises at the bottom of the bill are included.
Methods of payment
Get used to a lot of coins! Most European countries, regardless of the currency, use a wide range of coins for their smaller units. This can become quite arduous, and quite frankly heavy. That is a lot of metal you will carry. And, while the 1 and 2 Euro cent coins don’t have that much value, 50kc coin in Prague is pretty significant. As for credit cards, Europeans tend to use them less frequently than Americans. Cash is the preferred mean of payment. In the US, you can pretty much go a whole week with using just your credit card. Europe, however, has a lot of places that are ”cash only”. However, in the restaurants that take credit cards, you will see the waiter carrying a portable credit card machine. So, no need to worry about any fraudulence occurring, since all the action is happening in front of your eyes, and not in the back.
As you can see, moving to Europe means more changes than you thought of. Howbeit, not all of them are bad. And, even though it will take some time to prepare for moving abroad, you will feel all the advantages of European life in no time. Being surrounded with history, culture and diversity no other place can offer will surely help you enjoy the whole process.