The best relocation hacks for 2023

As thrilling as making a new country your home can be, that doesn't mean it's free of complications and frustrations. Fortunately, with a little thinking ahead, the process can be made a lot smoother.

The best relocation hacks for 2023
Moving to another country is one of life's great adventures. But moving your stuff to the EU from the UK may come with extra paperwork that didn't exist before. Photo: Getty Images

When moving internationally, the Boy Scouts’ motto applies: ‘Be Prepared’. A little research and planning ahead of time can not only save you valuable time but often a decent sum of money once you land.

Together with luggage-forwarding service, Send My Bag, The Local highlights some of the best relocation ‘hacks’ for 2023, when making your big move.

Use an eSIM

Establishing yourself in a new country means that you will need a local phone number to access many vital services. Some apps or websites won’t let you access them without one.

Fortunately, many modern phones support dual-SIM cards, meaning you don’t have to forgo your original phone number.

The current generation of phones even supports what’s known as an eSIM – an electronic SIM card. eSIMs are essentially virtual SIM cards that can be switched at a moment’s notice, depending on the plan that you require. All you need to do is use your phone’s camera to scan a QR code, and you’ve switched providers. Some  popular European providers that support eSIMs include Airalo and Holafly. 

eSIMS have the benefit of eliminating manufacturing and packaging costs, often giving you better deals. They also save you from having to go to a physical storefront to pick up an SIM card.

There’s a thousand things to do when moving abroad. Simplify things by sending your luggage ahead with Send My Bag 

Consider an online bank

As with phone numbers, you’ll often find there’s only a certain amount you can do to get established without a local bank account that has an IBAN number – the form of account number that the Eurozone uses, along with certain other countries. 

Online banks – that is to say, app-based banks without physical branches, such as N26 or Revolut – have made significant inroads throughout Europe in recent years.

The benefit of these banks for those moving to or within Europe is that most allow accounts to be opened from abroad, with a three-month window for a local address to be supplied.

Online banks often make it easier to link to overseas bank accounts back home and allow money transfers at current exchange rates, without extra fees. You’ll also likely be offered several sub-accounts within your primary bank account, meaning that saving for travel and other of life’s pleasures is easy.

Manage your utilities online

Unlike in some parts of the world, you will often find in Europe that you have the choice of a provider for electricity or gas. With a growing population of workers and students from abroad, utility providers have emerged to specifically cater to an international market.

With the understanding that few international students or workers have the time to deal with lengthy contracts in another language, they’ve taken their operations online, allowing customers to monitor their usage and control their tariff via an app, in English. A good example of this is Germany’s electricity provider, Ostrom. With much of the administration and paperwork costs removed, such utility providers can also deliver the savings to the consumers

It’s worth doing a little research before landing in your new home to identify which providers offer the best rate scheme, and the most control over what you use and how you pay. Some will require you to pay month-by-month, whereas others will ask for quarterly payments, and it’s good to know ahead of time.

The costs can pile up as you move countries. Know what you’ll pay when you send your luggage ahead with Send My Bag

Moving abroad can be overwhelming – but with a little forward planning, it doesn’t need to be. Photo; Getty Images

Save money on your shop with your phone

It’s very easy to pay far too much for food and everyday services upon arrival in a new country. You simply don’t have the ‘insider knowledge’ that years of living in a place can provide.

Many European countries have a broad variety of app-based coupon programs, such as LetyShops and Payback, that allow you to make considerable savings on your weekly grocery bill via cashing in points.

These programs often operate across different kinds of shops, from supermarkets to chemists, allowing you to make savings across your spending. A few even operate across national borders!

A few apps designed to reduce food wastage, such as TooGoodToGo, also allow you to pick up deals from local restaurants and cafes close to you, meaning that you can eat very well for very little.

Send your luggage ahead

One of the most painful costs associated with moving abroad can be those associated with your luggage. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself with substantial charges. 

One way to avoid considerable and unpredictable costs when it comes to moving abroad with your luggage is using a luggage-forwarding service such as Send My Bag, With flat rates for each piece of luggage sent, there are no unwelcome surprises and frantic repacking at the airport. You can even opt to send boxes, giving you more room for packing. 

Another benefit of a luggage-forwarding service are the complex logistics networks that they use, spanning almost every nation across the globe. These allow a far greater degree of tracking, via an app, and mean that your luggage can be delivered to the front door of your accommodation – no venturing out to the airport to pick them up and managing them on public transport.

Make your arrival in a new country as painless as possible. Have your luggage delivered to your new front door with Send My Bag 

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Moving to Denmark: The emotional challenges faced by mixed-culture couples

If you are living in a new culture or are in a relationship that crosses between cultures, you might be facing challenges you've not met before. But there are plenty of ways to tackle them, writes our guest columnist Hanne-Berit Hahnemann.

Moving to Denmark: The emotional challenges faced by mixed-culture couples
File photo: Christian Als / Ritzau Scanpix

It’s hard enough being a couple in a world loaded with responsibilities and stressors about children, finances, work, family obligations, etc. As a therapist, I often see couples of mixed cultures who have to withstand the difficulties of one or both adjusting to a new life with numerous challenges, such as having to create new social networks, learning a new language, and adjusting to new cultural norms.

The many small social cues that we become so accustomed to we take for granted, until we find ourselves in a new culture where the rules are completely different. When we are thrust into new cultural situations, we often misread the signals. For instance, small talk is generally much less prevalent in Denmark than in the U.S. This we may perceive as people being inaccessible and unfriendly.

It is similar within the “mixed couple”. Couples with partners from different countries can find themselves struggling with some of the same issues inside their relationship.

Different native languages within a couple can limit the couple’s deeper understanding of each other. The feelings of alienation or being “other” in a different culture can be transferred to the relationship and feed misunderstanding and a lack of connection.

Consider – for instance – the ongoing effects on the couple which differs significantly on levels of independence-interdependence.

One aspect of interdependence is an assumption that our partner should understand and react to our needs without being asked. A more independent person, on the other hand, may assume that the only reasonable way of behaving is to clearly communicate your needs, and to then negotiate around how to get these needs met.

Such a combination of traits can often cause confusion and disappointment when you feel unheard or misunderstood. We tend to expect our partners to at least hear us, to at least try to understand what we are communicating.

In my practice, I often see that such frustrations can lead to anger and judgment of the other.

Over time, cultural differences can wear on a couple in ways that are quite unique to the mixed couples’ situation. Even slight differences in beliefs can cause couples to repeatedly argue over apparently mundane things, like who does the dishes or who picks up the kids from daycare. Or less mundane disagreements, such as those related to religious and spiritual beliefs. Culture influences us in ways we often are quite unaware of.


There is a significant upside to these difficulties, however. Much like living abroad, living with a partner from a different culture can help you open yourself up to new possibilities and a deeper understanding and appreciation of others. Mixed culture couples must discover that the set of rules they learned growing up is just one of many.

The effort and mutual respect it takes to successfully make room for the other person’s values is often rewarded with a closer and deeper relationship that can better withstand life’s trials and tribulations.

It does require work to get there. You must be willing to look both at yourself and your partner with openness to the differences and a willingness to explore. As an expat, perhaps you already have these qualities?

If you and your partner struggle with cultural differences, here are some things you can do. Being as aware of the conflicts as possible is really useful. Only when you have identified the problem can you do something about it. This means becoming aware of your own values, as well as your partners.

I often give couples the following homework: Set aside at least one hour a week to spend together without distractions. During this hour, you are to practice listening to the other without judgment or disagreement. So, you can ask questions, you can repeat and you can reflect. This means asking questions to explore and deepen your understanding, not to voice your judgment or disagreement. Repeat what the person said, but in your own words, then wait for them to respond and add more to their message. Finally, reflect on what the other person has expressed, and see if you can express this reflection without judgment or condescension.

It takes practice and effort, but with time you can begin to change the way you communicate!

Hanne-Berit Hahnemann has a Master's degree in clinical counselling with a supervisory license from Cleveland State University and many years of experience in private practice in the United States. As an expat herself, she specialises in internationals and the challenges that come with moving to another country. She sees clients at the MacFarlane Psychology Group, a Copenhagen practice offering psychotherapy in English.


READ ALSO: Why moving to Denmark can cause feelings of loneliness – and what you can do to feel better