There’s a lot of information to absorb when you’re planning a move overseas. We have put together some tips we hope you will find helpful. Our biggest tip is not to let yourself get too stressed out. Look on the bright side. The things that go wrong will make great stories to tell at parties.
See also Customs Tips
Power systems and plugs are not universal
You’ll need to check the country you are moving to and see if it’s the same. For example Australia and the USA are NOT compatible.
If the country you’re going to is not compatible, you’ll need to buy a power converter after you arrive for those electrical items you decide to bring. Be very careful when buying the small converters found in travel shops. They may not be able to handle the voltage of some of the items you plan to use. They can ruin your appliance if it requires more power than the converter can handle.
For example, an electric heating pad for bad backs was plugged into a converter purchased at a travel shop. The person was unaware that the heating pad needed more than the converter could handle. As a result the pad’s controls caught fire.
Don’t worry about plugging a USA product into an Australian outlet and destroying the appliance. The flat prongs on the plug are angled differently. In the USA they’re straight up and down while in Australia, the two prongs are angled like the sides of a “V”.
Electronic games have a compatibility issue
TV and gaming systems are not the same in all countries. For example Australia is on the Pal system and the USA uses NTSC. That means your Xbox and Playstation will not play the game discs available in the new country if they’re on a different system. This is in addition to the power compatibility issue.
DVDs are also country coded, but you can buy DVD players that will play multi-country DVDs. If you’re on a different system (PAL vs NTSC) you’ll need a multi-country VHS machine to play VHS tapes you bring with you.
Computer and Internet issues
Most computers today have a switch in the back that allows them to run on different power systems. However, you will still need to change the plug or get a plug adapter that works in the new country. Your printer, scanner, etc. will need to use a converter.
Your modem (dial-up and broadband) most likely will not work if the phone systems are also different. Australia is not compatible with the USA. So leave the old equipment behind and plan on replacing it once you’re overseas.
A minor point – Australia and the USA do not use the same paper size. The standard size in Australia is “A4” while it’s “Letter” size in the USA.
Big deal you say? No, it’s work we say. Any document you want to print from an existing file will need to be altered so it will fit the new paper size. A4 is longer and narrower than letter size. You’ll understand what we mean when you go to print something out like you’ve always done, but it doesn’t fit on the page or looks odd. Before you print those old documents you’ll need to remember to change the document setup to the correct paper size. Not a big deal, but very annoying when you forget.
One last thought on the paper issue, different paper size means the paper won’t fit your old 3-ring binder, or anything else made to hold that specific size. A very minor compatibility issue to be sure, but one to ponder when you’ve got nothing else to do.
Mysteries of Life …
A bit off topic … I’ve been pondering since childhood how you can divide the number 1 by 3, but when you multiply the answer by 3 you never get exactly 1. Now that I think about it, I ponder why people don’t use the word ponder any more. Ah, the mysteries of life.
Note: We assume no liability resulting from any errors or omissions. Translation . . . we’ve done our best to bring you accurate information. However, you should seek your own independent advice as to the accuracy of the information supplied.