I’ll begin this article – Our Move-Abroad Travel Checklist – with an honest confession that the human writing this (hey, I’m Xanthe) is not one for planning. I love a good plan, and lemme tell ya I can hatch ‘em with the best, but I wasn’t built for the logistics part.
My shockingly-organized existence is made possible by my partner, Frank, who keeps both our life + business on track in every way. This list is primarily influenced by the notebook that is his brilliant brain, which allows our life to roll calmly (and yet, spontaneously!) forward.
With that preface out of the way, I have another one:
We’re from Canada originally, but moved abroad in 2020 to open our first destination rental. Since then, we’ve booted around, but more recently had the opportunity to sublet a space in LA. Having a home base for the first time in a long time felt good, and of course, we accumulated a few things. Despite living mostly-minimally, spending the last while in California included subletting a space, investing in furniture, and purchasing a car.
This made the decision to let the space go and move back to Mexico to focus on our destination brand for the next few months with no return date set… a pretty big deal.
One that, of course, feels familiar.
In 2020, when we left Canada, we packed our entire life – I’m talking born + raised in our home-town amounts of LIFE – into 4 suitcases. We took our two tiny pups on the road and never looked back.
In the past two years, this will be the sixth time we’ve had to make a swift relocation to a new country, and it’s safe (and also kind of totally weird?!) to say that the nomadic lifestyle has become the norm. Our move-abroad travel checklist is a product of the lessons we’ve learned along the way.
We’ve picked up a trick or two to make the transition smoother, and we’re sharing what the to-dos in Frank’s uber-organized mind look like. Here we go:
TWO MONTHS OUT
The average person would probably have made the decision to travel around this point. Typically, we’ll spend a few weeks scouring for airline tickets before we commit – but hesitate to book *too* close to our leave date to ensure there’s ample room on the plane for our doggos. Fun Fact, most airlines only allow 2 or 3 dogs per flight, and given that we have two dogs, it’s something to consider.
Depending on your situation, your vacay may depend on vacating a premises. In our case, this meant giving 30 days notice to leave our sublease agreement.
ONE MONTH OUT
Some say “crunch time,” we say GO TIME. Pretty much everything happens within a month of leaving, due in part to us making our decisions with haste but also the fact that we have multiple businesses to stay on top of and it feels better to compartmentalize the big move into smaller bites.
At this stage, we recommend ensuring arrangements have been made on the other side of the trip. We established a car rental, made sure our team at Swim Club was ready to receive us, and other comforts to ensure the arrival is smooth.
With an impending move to another country, Uhaul won’t be helping out. We have a handful of furnishings and clothing to put into storage while we’re out of the US, so we rented a storage unit in advance to tuck it away.
Our dear, sweet (forest green, 1999) Rav 4 won’t be making the trip with us. We purchased her not long ago, so we’re reselling her on Marketplace for about the same price. Honestly, it’s a heartbreaker – but a lesson we’re learning on the road is easy come, easy go.
2 WEEKS OUT
Two words: bucket list. When you’re spending time in a city, whether it’s new to you or one you know and love, MAKE THE MOST of the final few weeks by visiting all your favourite businesses. We *obviously* created a bucket list of all the restaurants we wanted to hit, and have been making our way through it. With 8 more sleeps and a handful to go, we’re pretty sure we’ll be able to take off knowing we ate + drank our way through LA, Oh Sierra style.
Two weeks is prime-time for receiving deliveries, so we ordered a slew of specialty brands online that we won’t be able to get in Mexico. A handful of swimsuits, soccer jerseys, and productivity journals are en-route as we speak… and I may have also pillaged Sephora over the weekend for a few “staples.” You know how it is.
1 WEEK OUT
Well friend, as I write this, here we are. Exactly one week from departure, and here’s the plan: this weekend, we’ll be packing up the apartment as best we can. We’ve officially accomplished our final Trader Joe’s run, so we’ll be eating our way through that while also continuing to eat our way through the city. Monday-Wednesday will be business as usual.
1 DAY OUT
On Thursday, it’s showtime. We booked a red-eye to Cancun, so we’ll be spending the hours leading up to our flight emptying our space and filling the storage unit. When met with the unexpected questions of “what sheets do we sleep on?” and “what towel do we use” and “what about our shower curtain?” the answers are as follows:
1. We’ll wash our sheets and sleep on a fresh pair Wednesday night. Thursday, we’ll bundle them up + pop ‘em in the storage unit. They’re still clean ENOUGH, k? 2. We’re buying a designated moving-day towel and will be donating it to a good cause when we’re done with it. 3. Honestly, no fucking clue about the shower curtain, beyond showering off the premises. Any suggestions?
And on that note – we’ve got some packing to do. Follow along @ohsierracreative to see what happens, next!
January 20, 2022
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