Gift Ideas for Someone Moving to Another Country

Gifts for expats and overseas travelers

This holiday season, we prepared some of the best gift ideas for someone moving to another country. The soon-to-be expats in your life will really appreciate any of the gifts here. With this in mind, these gifts are sure to bring a smile whenever they are thinking about home. Be quick as the holiday season is coming fast!

Moving Away Gifts

Before they become an expat, they need to move out of their home. In this case, a gift that functions during their move is a great way to go.

Luggage

Gifting luggage for travelers overseas

A new luggage might be the right gift this year so they can bring all their favorite goods with them overseas. Just make sure its durable for the long travels.

Travel Gifts

The expat in your life will need to travel to their new home. A gift that helps while they are travelling could be the difference between comfort and a screaming baby for 12 hours.

Headphones

headphones for traveling

Headphones may prove the perfect gift for the traveling expat. International flights are often over 10 hours long, and a good pair of headphones really makes these bearable.

Gifts for Life Overseas

It helps to be prepared for the changes in a new country. A gift that sets up the transition overseas can be great for easing them into their new life.

Power ADAPTERS

European power adapter for Americans

In the event that your expat is moving with electronic items, a power adapter is a definite necessity. In order to actually use these items, you need to be able to plug them in. An adapter is sure to be a welcome addition in any expats bag because of this.

Weather specific gifts

Expat traveling through rainy night town.

Depending on where they move, a gift for the local area’s weather may be appropriate. A nice coat or umbrella is a great gift for people traveling to cold or rainy areas. Whereas sunglasses would be a better gift for a sunny country.

The Gift of Local Experiences

One of the most common things an expat will feel is nostalgia for their old home. Send them off with some moments only found in their area.

vintage photos of experiences moving around the world

A great gift before they travel is taking them to their favorite places around town. Places like their favorite restaurant or local amusement parks are destinations they may miss abroad. Pick up a souvenir or two so they have something to bring with them as well.

Gift Cards OverseasBuy a gift card for shops overseas

Although gift cards are usually an easy purchase, buying gift cards for expats presents a new opportunity. As your loved one moves away, the stores they are used to shopping at may not be there. By taking time to find shops near them, you can ease their transition with gift cards to these new stores. Not to mention the small size allows expats to carry more essentials while they are traveling.

If none of these gifts seem right for the expat in your life, you can always help their move out with some items on our Essential Things to Pack When Moving list.

Start your international move today with Schumacher Cargo Logistics!

What You Can Expect From Your Move To France

Written by Alex Bach

Just as there aren’t cheeseburger-eating cowboys shooting guns on every street in America, not every street in France is lined with baguettes, not every Frenchman is anti-American, and not all sparkling wines are Champagne. Knowing what to expect when moving to France is crucial if you want to get the most out of your stay. Here are some of the things, both good and bad, that you can expect to find when you begin your French expat journey.

And if you need help with the logistics of your journey, we’ve helped hundreds of families relocate all over the world and can make your move to France as painless as possible.

Managing Your French Expectations:

  • The bread really is as fresh as everyone makes it out to be. Made daily, your bountiful bread options in France are going to be better than almost anywhere in the world. Ditto their pastries.
  • French women aren’t necessarily the friendliest towards female expats–possibly because they feel all their french men are out to woo them. As with any move, you should try and find a community of other expats to help cut down on the loneliness from time to time.
  • Shorter workweeks! In France, the national full-time work week is 35-hours.  If you work any longer than that you automatically get paid overtime–which you can spend on more crepes, wine, and cheese.
  • Speaking of which…the food really is just as good as its made out to be. Seriously, even the smaller, street fair could pass for Michelin-rated cuisine in America. Part of that is due to the abounding freshness of the ingredients as they joined with many other European countries in banning GMOs.
  • Speaking of “speaking,” you will need to know passable French in order to enjoy your stay in France. Remember Ted Nugent’s infamous quote from a while back “Speak English or Die,” it’s kind of like that, but with French! France’s aversion of catering to your linguistic needs (even if they speak English) is probably the most realistic stereotype you’ll encounter. But don’t think of this as a downside: the more French you learn the more you’ll feel at home and the less you’ll be treated as an outsider.
  • Lastly, moving to France will not be easy. There are a lot of hoops to jump through to get legal clearance to move to and work in France. But know that once you do you will truly be in for one of the greatest adventures of your life.

Things You Need to Know About Your Move to Switzerland

Written by Jason Lowder

Before moving to the land of neutrality, chocolate and Cuckoo clocks, there are a few things you need to know about Switzerland. Some of these things might be splendid, some unusual, and a few you should probably watch out for or keep in mind.

Moving is made of two components: the excitement and the hard work.  Let Schumacher Cargo Logistics handle all the hard work for your move to Switzerland, allowing you to focus solely on the excitement!

Things To Know Before Moving to Switzerland:

  • Switzerland has one of the best economies in the world–700 years of neutrality and the world’s most recognizable banks will do that. With that stable economy comes a great quality of living(high cost), well paying jobs, and a strong openness for foreign residents and workers.
  • You’ve got Mountains and Mediterranean Climates! A gorgeous repository of mountains and lakes, Switzerland’s close proximity to the Mediterranean also gives it a very temperate climate that makes summer and spring unforgettable.
  • Finding a job in Switzerland is competitive as an outsider. If you’re looking to make the move try and find work before you go, either with some of the larger Swiss companies or with American companies that have offices in Switzerland, they might be able to help you transfer.
  • You can also take advantage of Switzerland’s three-month grace period for foreigners. This period allows non-residents to stay in the country for three months while they try and find permanent work.
  • Income taxes are lower in Switzerland but that’s because the costs of living in Switzerland are so high.
  • Leave the guns at home. Switzerland does not feature much of the same second amendment fervor we have in America which possibly has something to do with the fact that they are a neutral country…either way, leave the guns back in the states.
  • Baby names for Swiss residents have to be taken from a pre-approved list. Don’t expect to be able to pop your baby out and name him Apple Pie Asterisk. If you do, you’ll have to request official permission from your embassy which will be a long and tedious process.

Prepping You For Your Move to Norway

Written by Alex Bach

Norway is one of the most fascinating countries in the world: they convert their garbage into fuel and even import garbage from other countries.

In summer you can schedule a midnight tee-time since the sun does not set. Also the country is considered a kingdom and they’ve even knighted a penguin. And with an excellent cost of living, moving to Norway is one of the best decisions you can make for a quality expat experience.

Economy:

Norway has an excellent economy at the moment. It would have been even better had the financial collapse not decimated the country’s retirement fund, but they’re still very well off. Most jobs offer very competitive living wages…much more than their US equivalents. The country offers free healthcare and college tuition for their residents as well.

On top of that, the US dollar to Norwegian Krone is trading very favorably to the US; approximately $0.17 to 1 Krone. As such, the US dollar will help make up for the higher cost of living.

Rent:

Rent is very affordable in Norway.  Even their most expensive 1-bedroom apartments in the city center are cheaper than in your average American city: approximately $1,600 a month, which would be hard to put you into a studio in Manhattan! And while the city can be a bit competitively priced to other American cities, the suburbs offer much cheaper solutions.

Transportation:

Norway’s public transportation system makes it very easy to get around the country. They have long-distance buses that can carry you from city to city, as well as the more traditional trains and planes. A local ticket will typically cost around $5.50 USD. Gas in Norway is about 14.74 Kroners per liter, or about $2.46 USD.

And if you want to bring your car with you, Schumacher can assist with that major move as well. Find out how we can ship your car to Norway.

Food:

Due to certain shipping restrictions, getting quality groceries in Norway is not always an easy or a cheap thing. US citizens accustomed to grocery stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods will be in for a rough surprise. So while it might cost a bit more to find quality produce and foreign items (kiwis, tea, lemons), you can still get your staples like milk for fairly cheap.

Top Universities in Spain for U.S. Students

Spain has long been one of the more popular destinations to study abroad for U.S. students. This is likely due to the popularity of the language as well as the beauty and intrigue of the historic and cultured country.

Not every university in Spain will be right for you. Each pro and con plays a big part before making a final decision. Here are some of the best schools for U.S. students to study in Spain. Notably, Americans rate these as the top universities is Spain for expats and we agree.

Prepping your visa and brushing up on your Spanish will take some time, so why not let Schumacher Cargo handle all your moving needs? We’ve helped hundreds of families and students make international moves and can get your belongings to and from Spain without hassle.

University in Barcelona Spain Skyline

Top 4 Universities for U.S. Students in Spain

SLU Madrid:

Saint Louis University is a great option for American students trying to study abroad in Spain. Not only is the University a reputable American based university ranking in the top 100 universities, but the school also allows for a 4-year degree program. Here you have the privilege of studying in one of Europe’s greatest cities while attending an “American” university–meaning troubleshooting any problems that may arise will be much easier. American universities in Spain give an easy way to transfer credits if you choose to go back as well.

Marbella International University Cenre:

Located on Spain’s southern coast, MIUC lies in the beautiful Costa del Sol. As far as scenery goes you couldn’t ask for a more gorgeous and inspired place to study. Furthermore, the school allows students to select whether they want to take courses taught in Spanish or English. This is a major perk for students who don’t want their studies impacted by their lower comfort with Spanish.

European University Barcelona:

EU Barcelona is part of the European University schools situated across EU countries. This business school in Barcelona is a great opportunity for international students. They can study in a small, intimate classroom setting with other students from the same country. The fact that it’s located in the famous Bonanova neighborhood doesn’t hurt either!

The Instituto de Empresa School of Arts and Humanities:

For a well-rounded education located just outside the major city of Madrid you can do no better that the IE School of Arts and Humanities. The school prides itself on providing a balanced liberal arts education to both undergrad and graduate students. And, again, you’re only 20 minutes away from the bustle of Madrid.

Each of these universities are great to study as an American student. The local culture will be different, but there is also an environment that is familiar with the other students.

Once you are ready to move get a free custom quote on your move to Spain!

The Cost of Living in Hong Kong

Written by Alex Bach

Living abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences of any lifetime. But depending where you go, it is not always the most inexpensive experience especially if that place happens to be Hong Kong. We’ll go over the cost of living in Hong Kong, what you can expect when you get there and what you’ll need to stay.

To get your belongings there, we can make moving to Hong Kong one of the lesser stresses you’ll have to worry about. We’ve helped hundreds of families make international moves and can help get your possessions to to your new home without a hitch.

Rent and Housing:

Hong Kong is the most vertical city in the world, resulting from the relatively tight space of the city, forcing construction to build up instead of out. As a result, the price of property in Hong Kong is not cheap. Whether you’re renting or buying, you will likely be paying more for lodging than you did back in the States. The average rent for an unfurnished apartment in the city is anywhere from $3,600 to $5k!

Utilities:

Utilities are fairly expensive as well in Hong Kong. You can expect your water bill to be around $50, your gas bill somewhere near $25 and your electricity bill ( the big one) to rest between $130 and $200. Meaning an additional $300 per month on top of the rent.

Lifestyle Costs:

Luckily many of your grocery items and restaurant dishes are going to be relatively the same as you’d find in any major city in America. Fresh baked bread goes for about $5, eggs for around $2, coffee for about $8, local milk $3. Note: Hong Kong has several options for higher level foods, such as free range eggs and Australian milk, which are going to cost significantly more money than their base level counterparts.

Alcohol:

Alcohol is an expensive commodity in Hong Kong. You can expect to pay as much as $35 for a bottle of Tanqueray gin and up to $22 for a bottle of wine. Thankfully six packs of beer, like Heineken, are only about $6 per pack.

Restaurants and Entertainment:

Luckily the cost of having fun in Hong Kong is about the same as it is in New York or Chicago. Certainly not cheap to do every night, but it won’t break your bank to go out once or twice a week. A mid-level dinner for two can be found for under $100 though not including alcohol. And a concert or trip to the theater can range from $13 all the way to $130 for premium seats.

 

Best Places to Retire in Hawaii

Written by Alex Bach

For many, retiring is all about retreating to your dream destination, your paradise. As such, retirees are looking to Hawaii to spend their golden years. Here are some of the best places in Hawaii to spend out the rest of your days. (Though take heed, Hawaii is not necessarily the most affordable place to retire.)

And just because it’s still part of the US doesn’t mean moving there is going to be an easy task. You’ll have to plan ahead and make arrangements to ship all the belongings you want to bring via ocean carrier, but giving yourself time will make the move to Hawaii that much smoother.

If You Can Afford It:

As we said earlier, Hawaii is not going to be the cheapest option for your retirement. But if you can afford it, here are some of the most desirable places to lay down your final stakes.

Kaanapali (Maui):

The beaches of Kaanapali are some of Hawaii’s most iconic and famous. As such, it’s also one of the most expensive. Expect to pay upwards of $900,000 for your retirement home.

Honolulu:

As the third-most expensive city in all of America, Honolulu isn’t going to be the retirement option for many. Still, this major city located right on a gorgeous beach that could make South Beach in Miami seem a bit insecure is the perfect place to retire if you can afford it especially as Honolulu will give you access to prime healthcare.

More Affordable:

Hilo:

This often overlooked city on the island of Hawaii is one of the more affordable places you could retire. Situated between Mount Loa and Mount Kea, Hilo offers over one-hundred miles of fantastic hiking, gorgeous rain forests, waterfalls, beaches and access to hospitals and a major airport.

Kailua-Kona:

On the western coast of Hawaii’s big island is a quiet, volcanic paradise loaded with fantastic golf courses and minimal rain fall: only about 10 inches per year, as opposed to Hilo’s 128 inches. Certainly an exotic retirement locale.

Paia:

Paia is a tiny little beach town on the northeastern side of the ever-popular and eminently-gorgeous Maui. A quiet town, Paia has a population of under 3,000 and offers a small town feel on this popular island. Don’t worry, it’s only a short 8-mile drive over to the main city of Maui, Kahului, where you can find more shopping, restaurants and hospitals.

Cost of Living in Hawaii

Written by Alex Bach

For many, the dream of living on a beautiful tropical island is, well, just a dream. Still, some have committed to besting that dream and making it a reality by moving to Hawaii. And while Hawaii will surely be an epic and beautiful adventure, take heed, it is not the cheapest of places to find yourself living.

And if you need help bringing your car or other household items from the mainland to your new island paradise, research some relocation companies that service Hawaii. We’ve shipped hundreds of cars and helped countless families make the difficult move across the pacific. Call us today about your move to Hawaii.

According to a report by Civil Beat, Hawaii has the highest cost of living out of every state in the U.S. Apparently the cost of living in Hawaii is 16-percent higher than the runner up, New York. Let’s break it down and take a look some of these costs and why they are what they are:

Incomes:

For just sheer dollar amount, Hawaii sounds like an economic paradise at first, with the median household income at almost $60k per year: which would put it ninth in the nation. However, once you factor in the high cost of living in this Pacific Paradise, you’re left with a more disappointing figure that puts it in about the middle. Similarly, the amount you’d need to make per hour just to rent a 2-bedroom house would be around $34/hour. Keep that in mind when you consider your move.

Housing:

Hawaii has some of of the most expensive property in the nation. A standard two-bedroom house can go for as much as $600,000 and condos sell for around $315,000: or about $1,600/month for a 2-bedroom.

The fact that these are islands with very real limits on the availability of space, not to mention the desire of living on the island, are all responsible for these prices being what they are.

Goods:

Consider that most of the products you will buy, outside of coconuts, papaya, and Rum, will be imported from the mainland or other countries. This means paying the most in the nation for gas, about $4.25/gallon. This means paying more for milk, about $6/gallon, and virtually anything you’d need.

You’ll have to keep these prices in mind when planning your dream island retirement.

Best Colleges for U.S. students in Germany

Written by Alex Bach

When most college students think of where they’d like to study abroad, most think of exotic places like Italy, Spain, or Hong Kong: often overlooking one of the best places for U.S. students to study in the entire world: Germany. A linguistic cousin of America’s predominant English, Germany is more accessible than many of those other countries and offers some incredible and compelling scenery as well. Here are some of the best colleges for U.S. students to study at in Germany.

And if you need some help with the moving process, Schumacher Cargo is happy to assist. We’ve assisted hundreds of people over the years make their dreams of living overseas a reality and we can help you move to Germany with ease.

The 3 Best German Colleges for U.S. Students:

Humboldt University of Berlin:

With ten percent of the school’s enrollment consisting of international students, US students should feel comfortable in this prestigious university. Ranked 99th in the world, this is a great school for the scientifically minded: in both technology, green sciences, and quantitative economics. After all, what could be be better than researching (and even working) climate science in one of the greenest countries on the globe?!

Heidelberg University:

While many colleges in the U.S. try and imitate a castle-like campus–this one actually is a castle! Formed in 1386, Heidelberg is one of the oldest universities in all of Europe, and one of the most prestigious too. This is a great university for the abroad-dedicated student who truly wants to study someplace out of the ordinary. And you won’t be alone with over 20% of the classrooms filled with international students. Though you should brush up on your German before.

The Technische Universitaet Munchen:

The Technische Universitaet Munchen, or Technical University Munich, is the school to be at if your field of study is engineering. Consider this: Germany is renowned all over the world for its engineering, and this is Germany’s most prestigious school for it. The school is so strong in the field that it has partnerships with some of the best schools in America such as Cornell, MIT and Stanford. Imagine coming back to the US and hitting the job market with that under your belt!

Best Places to Retire in Spain

Written by Alex Bach

Destination retirements are the dream of many of us. A way to relax and go on permanent vacation. And while many have chosen destinations within their own country, say from New York to Florida, several have started to look further, into a more international retirement plan: and for that, Spain is one of the best places.

Retirement is all about kicking back after a life of hard work and letting it fall on younger shoulders. Schumacher Cargo is happy to help you with with relocating to Spain from your home in the U.S.. We’ll take care of the move, so you can just take care of the retirement!

Costa del Sol:

Costa del Sol in the Andalucian province is Spain’s most popular retirement destination. Probably because it’s home to some of the country’s best medical facilities, schools and real estate. Meaning you’ll find many other English speaking retirees and professionals to help you make the transition. The lack of sales tax and a low property tax make this an economically feasible move for many.

Costa del Alhazar:

The Costa del Alhazar, or the Orange Blossom Coast, is about an hour’s drive north of Valencia and one of the most gorgeous and as-yet untapped areas of the country you could hope to find yourself. Filled with orange blossoms (obviously), almond trees and white sand beaches. The population is only around 12,000, meaning you’ll get a quiet, small town feel that’s distinctly Spanish.

Spanish Countryside:

As the big cities of Barcelona and Madrid can be very expensive, a retirement in the countryside might be the way to go for many retirees not looking to break the bank. Cities like Salamanca, Granada or Santiago de Compostela, are great spots to get city amenities without paying city prices.

Beach-side:

While the first two locations on this list certainly have an abundant beach life to offer, there are other, cheaper and more off the path places you can retire that won’t upend your bank account. Look at places on the island of Gran Canaria–which will also give you an island retirement inside an international retirement–or the less populated beach town of Menorca.