GoAbroad’s Pre-Departure Checklist for Working Abroad

GoAbroad’s Pre-Departure Checklist for Working Abroad

First of all, congratulations on landing a job abroad! You’re a brave, ballsy rock star and you’re going to do amazing things wherever you’re headed on that next flight out. Not many people have the guts to do something as crazy as uprooting their lives to settle in and work in a foreign country, but that’s their loss. Working abroad is an opportunity that everyone should try once in life. It’s a chance to take a leap of faith, break out of your comfort zone, and quench that thirst for adventure.

GoAbroads Pre-Departure Checklist

If you’re nervous, just know that it’s natural. You’re juggling preparation for your (usually long-term, and sometimes one-way) travels and dealing with mixed emotions that come with every goodbye. The best way to ease those nerves is to get your ducks in a row. Make a list of things to do before leaving for your job abroad and commit to checking off every item, so when the time comes, you can jump in headfirst without hesitation.

Wondering where to start? Get organized with GoAbroad. Here you’ll find GoAbroad’s pre-departure tips before work abroad programs and a handy working abroad pre-departure checklist so you can save time on making your own and get started right away!

Why it’s important to have a game-plan before you work abroad

Working abroad is a big deal, and the prep work is more than just booking flights and a hotel. Unlike other travel abroad, most jobs abroad require a bigger time commitment, which means tying up loose ends at home. Make a game-plan before you go to make your pre-departure days easier.

Set your goals, make a list, give yourself deadlines, and get an early start! It’s never too soon to start checking off that list of things to do before leaving for your job abroad. It’s important to stay organized and focused as you work on your working abroad pre-departure checklist, so you’ll have plenty of time to relax and spend time with family and friends.

You’ll be thanking us when your list is done and you have spare time to schedule in some last-minute Chipotle runs before you leave.

People co-working at a table in a cafe
Seriously, get in that last-minute quality time and those last-minute burritos.

The important things to do before leaving for your international job

So what exactly is involved with GoAbroad’s working abroad pre-departure checklist. We’ve broken your to-do list into several categories so you can tackle one at a time. Get ready to jump in!

Close Up Shop

Unless you’re a recent grad and still living at home, tying up loose ends can be the most time consuming of our working abroad pre-departure checklist. Think about your living situation at the moment and how you’ll leave things when you move abroad.

Do you have a car? An apartment? What will you do with all your stuff, and where will you live when you touch down in your new home abroad? For a smooth, stress-free transition, consider these things early on. Here are some pre-departure tips before work abroad programs to help close up shop.

  • Host a garage sale to make quick cash. It’s the best solution to get rid of those unnecessary items that have been taking up space in your closet. Get in touch with family, friends, and neighbors who may find a treasure in the pile of your unneeded belongings. Not only will this make your load lighter when moving, but you’ll have some extra dough for splurging abroad.
  • Move the rest of your stuff to storage. Once you find new homes for the small stuff, think about what to do with bigger items you couldn’t part with. If you want to hold onto furniture, like your cozy bed, move it into storage or let your parents house it if they have the space.
  • Find your new home abroad. This is the most important part of the closing shop! You don’t want to be homeless when you move abroad. Some jobs abroad offer housing assistance while others expect you to make external arrangements. Explore your options and make sure you leave plenty of time for the apartment hunt so you can settle in right away.
  • Update all addresses to your permanent one. You’ve condensed your essential belongings to fit into suitcases and your new home is patiently awaiting your arrival. The last step is to update your addresses to your permanent one. This way, any important mail can be forwarded to you overseas, and hey, you may even get a care package from home!


Next on the working abroad pre-departure checklist is getting your documents in order. While it’s one of the more tedious things to do before leaving for your job abroad, it’s one of the most important. Without the proper visas and paperwork, your move abroad will be impossible.

With only a few essential items on this list, you’ll be good to go in no time. Make sure you give this section your full attention and set aside a day or two to double-check you have all the necessary documents in order to settle into your job abroad without hiccups.

  • It goes without saying but… GET YO’ PASSPORT! Make sure your passport is up-to-date, valid, and covers you for at least six months after your trip. If it’s expiring soon, best to renew that bad boy right away so you don’t have to worry about extra paperwork while abroad.
  • Secure the proper work visa. The best pre-departure tips before work abroad programs include touching base with your program provider or employer abroad. Reach out to get all the information you need about working visas. Keep in mind that some work visas take months to process, so best to put this at the top of your list.
  • Buy health insurance (because we care about you). Life is unpredictable, and if something goes wrong while you’re in a foreign country, you’ll want to be covered. Even if travel insurance isn’t required for your visa, buy something that covers you medically anyway so you’re prepared for anything life throws your way.
  • Book your plane tickets #Jetsetter. Passport ready? Check. Visa granted? Check. Insurance purchased? Check. Now it’s time to book those flights!
Woman holding an iPhone by a computer
We hope you checked your printer for ink and paper way before the day of your flight.


When you start any job around the world, you want to get your finances in order. Figure out how much money you’ll be making and weigh this against your rent, bills, daily expenses, and splurges to make sure you can survive on the new salary.

When working overseas, organizing your finances is one of the most important things to do before leaving for your job abroad. After all, there will be lots of extra fees involved that you wouldn’t experience at home (think travel expenses), and you’ll definitely want to have a little extra to play with so you can explore your new home and its surroundings in your free time.

  • Outline your travel budget. Grab a pen and paper and make a list of your travel expenses. This includes the visa fees, health insurance, and plane tickets, as well as any other necessary purchases to get you started before your job abroad begins. Make sure you have enough in savings to get settled before those regular paychecks start to come in.
  • Stack your new salary against the cost of living. How much will it cost to live comfortably while you’re working abroad? Make sure your rent, utilities, cell phone bills, and food are covered, and that you’ll have a bit more money coming in so you can travel. If you consider any of GoAbroad’s pre-departure tips before work abroad programs, it should be this: there’s nothing worse than having to live paycheck to paycheck when all you want to do is explore, so make sure your salary can pay for some fun!
  • Drink free office coffee to save the extra $$$. Take advantage of the perks! Raid the kitchen at your brand-spanking’ new office to see where you can save money. Drink the free tea and coffee or pack your own lunch so you can save a little to spend on the weekends.
  • Get a travel reward credit card & bank card with no ATM fees. Now, this can really save you a bit if you’re concerned about money while working abroad. As part of the working abroad pre-departure checklist, do some research on travel cards. Many different options out there can save you from international fees. If you’ll be overseas for an extended period of time, you shouldn’t leave home without one.


Hang in there, you’re almost ready! Just a few more details to cross off the working abroad pre-departure checklist so you’re fully prepared to ‘wow’ your new employers and make the most of your work opportunities abroad.

  • Update that winning resume. Whenever you’re applying for jobs, it’s important to keep your resume up-to-date. Have a look to make sure you’re highlighting key skills that will make you shine abroad, and don’t forget to add your latest employment experience.
  • Research local business culture & customs. Add this to the high priority list of things to do before leaving for your job abroad. Every country has a different work culture, some subtle and others that will cause a serious shock. Spend some time researching and reading about the local culture in your new home so you’re prepared for different work customs and can fit in discretely.
  • Print biz cards so you can network like crazy. Make your name known! If you haven’t landed a job yet, this will be at the top of your list. Network like crazy to get your name out there. The more contacts you make, the more opportunities will present themselves while you work abroad.
  • Pick out a power outfit to nail your first impression. Okay, so your suitcase space might be limited, but you’ll need to make a good first impression with new employers abroad. Pack your power outfit that makes you feel good inside and out, so you can show up on your first day with confidence.

You’re ready to start working abroad!

Office setup with computer and laptop
Ready for your work abroad adventure? With this checklist, you surely will be!

With the help of this working abroad pre-departure checklist, you can set your nerves aside and fully prepare yourself for your big move abroad. Start early and stay organized, so by the time you hop on that flight you can relax into a new adventure.

You have your loose ends tied, paperwork finished, important documents, and impressive work gear packed—so what now? You’re ready to start working abroad! Have fun and embrace every opportunity that comes your way! You won’t want to miss a single second.

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