Moving Timeline and Checklist
Sometimes when moving to a foreign country it is easier and cheaper to simply sell your belongings before you come and then buy new when you come.
Plus you have to consider that Costa Rica is a humid tropical climate adn perhaps your previous furniture is not made to withstand tropical conditions. You will find appliances to be very similar in price and brands to the US.
Successfully making an international move can be a nightmare, so if you know you can find quality items at reasonable prices it is best to do just that.
Timeline with Checklist
Making an international move is quite an endevor so it is important to try and do it with a lot of anticipation and careful planning. If you can start a few months before you move then you should have the most success. It is important to read, check out maps, and reserach as much as you can about Costa Rica so that you can avoid Costa Rican culture shock.
Four to Six Months before Moving
- Take a trip to Costa Rica that is in part for research and in part a vacation to get to know the country and potentially where you would like to be living.
- Set a potential moving date that you can try and realistically meet.
- Make a cronogram of all the things you need to do and when you need to do them before you leave so that you can check off items as they are completed.
- Set up a reliable email account with hotmail, gmail or any other that you like. AOL is not reccommended since it tends to block any emails from Costa Rica.
- If you are selling a home you can put it on the market. If you sell fast just make sure you agree with the new owners that your moving date corresponds with the time you want to move.
- If you have items that are not yours that you have borrowed from other people this is a good time to give them back and declutter.
Three to Four Months before Moving
- Start collecting all the documentation you will need for immigration for you and your family. Many of these documents will need have to be legalized such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, criminal records etc. Check the immigration section for more details.
- If you do not have an updated will and testament you may want to contact your lawyer and make sure all these lose ends are tied up before you leave.
- Make a list of people you need to notify that you are moving and begin cancelling services that you no longer need such as newspapers.
- Try and consoladate your banking in your home country so that you can operate if possible out of one bank account. Then sign up for online bill pay and online statements. It is good to practice for a few months using the service to make sure you are proficient and there are no glitches.
- If you can renew your driver's license before you leave that is ideal so you can use it to obtain a license in Costa Rica and also use it for more time when you return to your home country.
- Investigate where you will be living in Costa Rica either temporarily or permanently. It is reccommended that you rent for at least six months before you buy. If needed take a trip down to pinpoint where you will be living exactly.
Two to Three Months before Moving
- Begin selecting items you would like to keep, have a garage sale for the items you do not want, make donations to your local charities. If you donate items make sure to get a tax receipt and give it to your tax person before you leave.
- Begin slowly packing items you are thinking of taking but do not need to use. Try very hard to ship and take as little as possible.
- Take your final trips to your local doctors and dentist for check ups. If you need to update your vaccinations this would be a good time to do so. Make sure to collect your medical records to take with you. If you need to update any of your vaccinations this would be a good time to do so.
- Make note of all your perscriptions. However, you will more than likely be able to obtain any of your perscriptions over the counter here with just the name and usually for a fraction of the price.
- If you are not going to be a permanent resident in Costa Rica you will need to solicit and international policy as you will not be able to buy into the local system.
- Start rounding up your reciepts and guarantee cards ffor your major items.
- Research what services and places are near your home such as parks, gyms, book stores, schools, churches, grocery stores etc. These can be great places to meet people and make new friends as Costa Ricans are generally very welcoming and friendly.
One to Two Months before Moving
- Redefine your exact moving date.
- You can cancel any magazine or newspaper services you have remaining.
- Select a place where you will be living either permanently or temporarily in Costa Rica, make sure you have this place reserved with a contract and some money down.
- Make sure you now have all of your immigration documents in order and in hand.
- Contact your banks and credit card companies to let them know you are moving out of the country and to set up any security measures so you can avoid glitches. Also, if you have not already make sure they have you set up for online statements and bill pay.
- Contact an international mover if you will be needing one. A very popular one in Costa Rica is ABC Movers who offer a door-to-door service.
- If you are moving with children it is a good idea to get a copy of their school records.
- If you are moving with pets you will need to start getting all your animals documents and vaccinations in order as well, please see our moving with pets section.
One Month before Moving
- Set up your mail forwarding service preferably to a Miami PO Box as mail in Costa Rica is refered to as "snail mail" and it could take you weeks to receive your mail from your home country. You can get the mail forwarding forms at your local post office.
- You can now begin cancelling all of your utilities and other services such as cable and telephone. You will need to catch up on all of your bills before you leave.
- If you need to cancel your cell phone service try to leave your phone in working order up until the day you have moved for emergencies.
Two Weeks before Moving
- If you are looking to open bank accounts in Costa Rica you will need letters of reference from your current banks they will need to be addressed to the banks you are looking to open accounts in. Get a copy of how to wire money between accounts in your home country and Costa Rica.
- If you have a safety deposit box now is the time to take your items out and close your account.
- Do an overhaul of your house, make sure you have all your persona belongings and that your house is clean and ready to leave behind.
- This time is to make sure everything on your moving checklist is complete.
- Finish final packing and check on your final travel arrangements to make sure everything is going to go off without a hitch.
- Now you are ready to MOVE!