While the thought of moving across the world is very exciting, actually doing it- not so much. I’ve probably never been as stressed out in my life, so I thought I would share the tips that helped me along the way.
I know, it sounds obvious, but my passport was almost full and I needed to get a new one in a hurry. In order to travel, you need 2 blank pages on your passport. My new one is a maxi passport with 12 extra pages (you can apply for this at Home Affairs), so I don’t need to worry about that for a while- whew. I had particularly good and quick service from Randburg Home Affairs. Just remember to check the status of your passport via the call centre because their online resource is not up to date and they never SMS you as they claim to do.
Visa’s differ according to where you go. Thankfully Singapore’s requirements were relatively light (you can get in visa free as a tourist for up to 30 days), and the school helped us with our long term student visas. I’d recommend researching all of this at least 4 months before you plan to move.
2. Travelling with Pets
This is a biggie, and it is a bit difficult to write about because again, different countries have different requirements. South Africa (or Africa in general) is a rabies area, so most countries will require that your pets are tested for rabies. If you’re even thinking about moving anywhere, get those injections done ASAP!
To bring pets into Singapore, we had to follow this process.
1. 6 months early, get microchips and rabies vaccinations done.
2. 3 months early: book quarantine space in Singapore
3. 1 month early: apply for an import permit in Singapore and book the courier company for the cats. I got quotes from a few different companies, and all of them were in the region of R8k (to fly 2 cats, 1 way to Singapore.) I then found Flying Animals who quoted me R4k. I then did the “Hasmita Background Check” (which consists of googling incessantly and even phoning people for references), and they passed it, so I booked them and am hoping for the best.
While we’ve been travelling around the world, the cats have been in Cat-A-Holics Kitty Shelter in Rosebank and they’re just the most divine people- they’ve been sending me pictures, and every time we visit our 2 kitties they seem just fine. We’re paying a long term rate of R100 a day for 2 cats, the normal rate is R160. What I love about them is that they’re also a cat sanctuary and they take in stray kitties, so having our cats there is like supporting a charity.
As you can see, this process is extremely expensive. If we had someone we trusted to leave the cats with, we would have done that. Not just because of how expensive it is, but mostly because of the trauma my kitties have to go through to be with us. I guess I’d recommend thinking carefully about taking your pets with you. I bought these Nurture Calm cat collars which I hope will help.
3. Selling your stuff
We initially used Sotheby’s to sell our properties because they offered British Airways Avios miles (the amount of miles corresponds to the sale price of the house). I thought this was pretty sweet, until the transaction was concluded and I was told I couldn’t get the miles because I negotiated the commission down from 7% to 5%. Not cool. Other than that, the service was pretty much on par with everyone else.
For my car, I tried getting a quote from www.webuycars.co.za but it was ridiculously low, so I just ended up selling it back to the BMW dealer, which was hassle free and resulted in me getting my money pretty quickly.
For all our stuff, Gumtree was my saviour. I sold everything from my kettle to my tv on the “goods” section of the site. It really is true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and there will be some person out there who will want (and is willing to pay) for everything you don’t want. Make sure to never handover an item unless you’ve been paid for it first, and always meet in a public place like a garage or shopping mall. For the stuff that was older or not in great condition, I found a great lady, Nicci, who does amazing work at a ladies home called Usindiso. She is based in Rivonia and all I had to do was drop off the stuff at her house and she did the rest. I used to give *everything* to my domestic worker, but I think it’s better to give stuff to a home so that it can be spread out. You can get in touch with Nicci at firstname.lastname@example.org
So far, everything has been smooth sailing. I guess I’m most worried about the cats and how they cope on the flight, but once they’re there it will be great.
Because we’re going to be in Singapore for 4 months, France for 6 months, and then who knows, the best plan was to store our furniture rather than moving it multiple times around the world. We also put a lot of our clothing and other random stuff like photo albums etc into storage. When we’re ready, we’ll have it all sent to our new permanent home. I’m planning to enlist the services of Ask My PA to help me with that. There are lots of options for storage. Most of them are in industrial areas like Wynberg. We’re using Xtraspace, where we’re paying around R600 a month for an 8sqm unit (surprisingly, our entire 3 bedroom flat fit here, with space to spare.) There are loads of options, just find one that is located in an area convenient to you.
If there’s anything in particular you want to know about moving, or about Singapore in particular, drop me a mail- I’m always happy to help.
We leave NEXT WEEKEND- omg!!