If you are planning a move abroad, you are probably feeling a range of emotions from excitement to fear. Take a moment to ask yourself a few questions to gain a clear picture of what you want for your family.

There are dozens of factors to consider for every family. Although no time will be perfect, there are certainly times that are more practical based on everyone’s needs. From school to personal medical factors, set a timeline that works best for everyone. Don’t feel rushed. In the long run, your transition will be much smoother if you feel like you’ve picked a timeline in which everyone is on board.

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Many people move abroad in search of a different lifestyle. For families, that often means a better work/life balance. When you are considering where to move, connect with other expats and see if their stories match your vision. Living in a place is very different than visiting, and talking to locals is the best window into that experience. Facebook and other online expat community forums are an easy place to start.  

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Depending on the age of your children, saying goodbye to friends and family will be difficult and emotional. Have a plan in place to keep in touch with people back home and communicate that plan to your children. If it’s weekly phone calls, letters and emails, or trips back, having a schedule and savings to support those needs will be essential. Communicate to your children that just because you are moving, doesn’t mean they can’t maintain their most important friendships and relationships. Giving them that piece of mind will make saying goodbye a little easier.

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I know this isn’t a question you want to spend too much time thinking about just before making a life changing move abroad. But it’s important to know you have a support network or plan B should the move not work out. Whether it’s finances, work, or just not the right fit for your family, it’s important to have those conversations early and a plan in place to move back if necessary.

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Depending on ages, telling your children that the family is moving abroad could be met with enthusiasm or anger. Make sure you have a firm plan in place before making the big announcement. If your children are older and you want to allow them the opportunity to weigh in on the decision, ask them their thoughts on the timing, neighborhood, or even the country to allow them to feel included in the discussion and decision.