The moving process is one of the least enjoyable activities in life; yet, we still find ourselves moving quite often. Yes, it was a given during college but even after college? We moved 7 times within a span of 7 years – 3 times in Minnesota, 3 in Florida, and 1 to Leiden, Netherlands. Now that we’ve had our counting exercise, let’s talk about some tips and our moving experience to the Netherlands.
Here’s a list of tips from our personal experience:
- SHIPPING/LUGGAGE TRANSPORT – (1) max out your freebies on the plane and (2) if you can wait, send a large box via USPS as it ends up being a lot cheaper.
- CASH/DEBIT CARDS/ATMs – You will get the best deal on currency conversion rates by using ATMs. Also, you need to be ready to use ATMs as finding places in the Netherlands that take swipe cards is difficult. I recommend signing up for a US debit card through Schwab Bank – NO ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP FEE, NO ATM TRANSACTION FEES, AND NO FOREIGN EXCHANGE FEES!!!
- COMMUNICATIONS – buy an unlocked, GSM phone (one that takes sim cards) so that you can utilize prepaid sim cards immediately when you land
- COMMUNICATIONS – with Wi-Fi being free in most places here, download free apps like Viber or Line or Google Talk so you can call or text your friends and family that are international (as long as they have the same apps). Note* I am not an iPhone user so no Facetime for me
- COMMUNICATIONS – if you need to call businesses in the US, you can use Skype for free when dialing toll-free numbers
- APPS FOR TRANSPORTATION: 9292 app for your train and bus journey planner
- TRANSPORTATION: Public transportation users get an OV-Chipkaart (card where you can load money to pay fares for trains and buses)
The process of getting a work visa and registering was a difficult process even with the help of my company. It took a few months but it finally happened. Note* getting a work visa is a lot faster than any other visa.
What to bring? We sold a majority of our belongings to eliminate the need for storage costs so that we could start over with only bare essentials. We brought our clothes, some toiletries, and electronics (4 luggage pieces total). The baby brought his clothes and diapers for the flight and first weeks (2 small luggage pieces). We also had 2 more large boxes we wanted to send over. These boxes contained baby supplies and some kitchen supplies (my grandma’s peppers and etc.). It would have cost us $600 USD to bring it over on the plane…not cool. Fortunately, we discovered USPS was the best option (cheaper) so we shipped the boxes and received them 1 week later.
After arriving, we resided in a hotel for 3 weeks – 1 room for 2 adults and a baby…yup. If you come to the Netherlands in the September time frame, be prepared for rain! The rain was infrequent but was still troubling as we did not have a vehicle. Using public transportation sometimes becomes a little difficult with a baby and stroller.
Once we were able to find a place and move out of the hotel, things became easier. All I can say is we are thankful for IKEA! Now we are in the process of really settling in…will update you with more about the city we live in and the other cities around us that we frequently visit.
Until next time!