The Relocation Checklist
Moving is stressful enough without having all of your plans careening through your head like a cerebral whirlwind. It is best to write everything down so that you may achieve greater focus.
Below is a generalized version of my list. I will add to it gradually since there were some areas covered that I did not write down that I may recall later. I will also expand what is here by providing additional information on specific actions in other posts. Here are some essentials in no particular order:
ü Figure out what you are taking with you, selling and giving away. This is crucial to the decision about container size. A good company will send a representative to your home to assess what you have to help you envision the container sizes and what can reasonably fit.
ü Once you have decided on a date, contact the moving company at least 4 – 6 weeks in advance, depending on your current location. Containers take a considerable amount of time to reach their destinations and the moving company needs to be able to reserve appropriate time for the shipment. Do not give yourself unnecessary stress by waiting until too late.
ü Call at least 3 companies to get estimates and be sure they include Barbados Customs fees, broker fees, etc. in their price. Shippers know you are trying to get value for money and some may not include Barbados fees in their estimates to appear as if you are getting a bargain. Ask them about these matters upfront to avoid surprises.
Ask your chosen moving company for some boxes, Bubble Wrap, etc. Although they can do all the packing, there may be some items you want to pack for yourself such as medical records and other private documents.
– .. If the house to which you go is smaller than the last and you cannot bear to part with your possessions, research the island’s storage facilities. Two such facilities are Pro-Storage and Store All.
ü Make arrangements for alternative accommodation, just in case. You may have rented or purchased an unfurnished home, but you have to wait for your container to arrive to decorate it. The shippers will give you an estimated time of arrival, but this does not necessarily mean the container will meet this deadline. Whether it is staying at a relative, friend, guesthouse or hotel, be sure that you have a backup plan.
ü Purchase your airline tickets. Ensure your passports, visas etc. are up-to-date. Be sure to have a portfolio folder or some other method to keep all of these documents together. Ensure they are not accidentally packed away in boxes during the moving melee. You would be surprised at the kinds of things movers put in boxes when you are not looking.
ü Research policies on what items are duty-free and the requirements for importing motor vehicles. I will expand further in another post. It is also a good idea to have your car fully serviced before travel. This is not only as a safety and cost-effective measure, but having the car in good condition is one of the requirements for importation.
ü Research public schools for the children that are near your chosen place of abode or investigate private schools. Barbados has over 70 public elementary or primary schools and 23 public secondary schools. There are also a number of private schools so you have a myriad of options. I will expound on this further in another post, but until then, explore your options by talking with persons within your Barbadian support system and by calling the Ministry of Education for information. It is possible that you may have to provide documents to prove your child is a Barbadian citizen so he/she may benefit from free education.
ü Inform your children’s current school that you are leaving. Get copy of school records if required.
ü Real estate: If you are returning to your own home be sure to refer to your tenants’ lease agreement and give adequate notice. If you are looking to rent or purchase, there are a number of real estate agencies at your disposal. Again, contact information will be provided over the course of this site’s development. Until then, a good resource is www.cariblist.com, which advertises available properties for rent or sale under varying categories.
ü Especially if you have good, up-to-date health insurance, make appointments for physicals, dental, ophthalmology etc. before leaving. Be sure to have up-to-date vaccinations, and request all medical records from physicians.
ü Stock up on prescription medication and any personal care products. There are certain brands that you like that may not be readily available in Barbados. Of course, this is not to say that you may not find viable alternatives.
ü Make job enquiries. The labour market in Barbados is currently skewed in the employers’ favour. Finding work is not easy in this current economic climate where lay-offs have become too common. Start your search early and be diligent.
ü Be sure to alert the following about your move/ change of address and ask about refunds where appropriate. Some companies will not give you unless you ask:
o Credit card companies
o Utility Companies:
§ Cellular Phone
§ Lawn Service
§ Security Company
o Car Insurance
o Health Insurance
o Water Delivery
ü Try to get your new abode’s utilities in your name as soon as possible and your Barbados driver’s licence. This makes opening a bank account in Barbados easier, since you need to provide proof of residence in order to open an account if you have none there already.