The Health Challenges of Moving Abroad

Health, you, and overseas moving
Get health vaccinations before you move abroad. Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons.

Moving abroad is a big decision to make. You’ll be leaving behind all of your friends and family and stepping into unknown territory. There are a million things to deal with from packing to selling your old house. But one thing that often gets overlooked is your health. If you’re emigrating to a fairly exotic country, there are all sorts of health implications that you don’t usually have to deal with at home. If you aren’t prepared for it, you won’t end up having the experience that you had hoped for. Before you set off, make sure you’ve considered all of these things.


Health, you, and overseas moving
Get health vaccinations before you move abroad. Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons.

Getting vaccinations is the first thing you should do. There will be all sorts of illnesses that you haven’t been exposed to at home and if you don’t get vaccinated properly, you put yourself in a lot of danger. Most of the time you won’t be allowed into the country if you can’t prove that you’ve been vaccinated anyway. Use this handy form to find out which vaccinations you need. Make an appointment with your doctor and tell them about your plans to move and they will set up appointments for you. Once you’re all done, make sure you get all of the necessary paperwork from them so you can prove that you’re safe. Leave enough time to get them done because some of them need more than one cycle.

Have a Contingency Plan

If the worst does happen and you get seriously ill, you need to decide on a plan. One of the biggest considerations is whether to go home or not. If you are seriously ill you may want to be close to your family. Look into hiring a medevac service that can take you home at short notice if needs be. Or, you could stay out there but, depending on the situation, you may want to be closer to your loved ones. For your family, you need to work out what is going to happen to them if you are unable to look after them.

Get a Checkup

A checkup before traveling is wise
Get a full medical checkup prior to your move. Wikimedia pubic domain image.

While you’re still at home and you have your health insurance, you may as well take advantage of it. Go to the doctors and get a full medical checkup, you’re probably due one anyway. They can identify any problems and if there’s anything a bit more serious, you could consider putting off the move. If you don’t get a checkup, you might arrive, only to find that you’ve got lots of health issues that need sorting out. That’s going to be a huge hassle on top of everything else that you have to sort.

Understand the Healthcare System

The biggest mistake that people make when they’re going abroad is thinking that the healthcare system out there is going to be the same as it is at home. Healthcare and insurance is an incredibly complex thing to deal with, think back to the first time you tried to sort out your insurance. If you don’t get to grips with it before you go, you’ll have a hard time trying to set it up while you’re dealing with the language barrier.

If you move abroad without making these preparations, you’ll get a nasty shock when you get out there.


  1. There’s so much to keep in mind. I have no wish to leave my country, but my retirement funds will be extremely limited. So I remind myself to be open to all options. I’ve seen many bloggers who are “expats”. Then I was talking to an exec at work recently, and he was thinking about retiring to another country. It’s an enticing, romantic idea… Hugs on the wing.

    • It is a romantic thought to move abroad.. we’ve seen it in so many movies and read about it in books.. you are right.. or you could come here to Canada for a vacation and see me 😉 Hugs!

    • It’s so exciting to travel and then.. the health issues come into play if the preparations aren’t done beforehand.. thanks for stopping here to visit and chat, Shey xxoo

  2. There is a reason that we have stopped our globe trotting and returned to Ireland! To give you an idea of how much your health insurance will cost it is quite useful to fill in a quote for one of the largest companies that operates in 170 countries. Once you have that with all the exclusions for pre-existing illnesses you will be able to factor in the cost.

    Also be aware that in many countries inheritance laws are still draconian and you have to make a will if you have a property in your name as the existing one that you made in your home country is not valid. You need to put several practical plans in place as we have seen many couples in their 70s and 80s faced with bereavement and the legal intricacies of their adopted country that make it even more stressful. My advice is to make sure you do everything through a lawyer who speaks your language and is an expert in expat regulations. That peace of mind will enable you to enjoy the sunshine and culture far more.

  3. I should bookmark this… I’ll probably be moving next year and healthcare is my major major concern. It’s scary to start a “medical relationship” from scratch.

    • Oh sweet friend I hope this post is helpful as a starting point for you. In the comments on this post, also be sure to read what Sally (pen name “Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life”)
      wrote as it provides more information. Doing your research beforehand is essential. May your move be a smooth one and many wonderful times await you <3

  4. Excellent points Christy. Often people don’t take into consideration the coverage they will have in another country. That goes for travelers on vacation as well. So many nightmare stories about people who travel without coverage. 🙂 xx

  5. A very good post, Christy. Healthcare is definitely a very important consideration when you travel as the systems are different in every country. I always look into healthcare when we travel as I have two children with chronic illnesses.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.