If you and your family are going to be relocating to another country in the near future, you're probably both excited and apprehensive at the same time. Experiencing a new culture by living in another country is a life-enriching experience, and you can smooth over the bumps in the road by following a few simple strategies. Following are three ways that you and your family can transition to life abroad as seamlessly as possible.

Be Proactive Against Culture Shock

Culture shock is a very real phenomenon that affects many people who move to another country. Even those who have visited the country where they are moving to are likely to experience culture shock -- bear in mind that actually living in a country is vastly different from experiencing it as a tourist. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can prepare yourself and your family for moving overseas, such as:

  • Take a course together in the language of the country in which you'll be living before you make the move.
  • Research the city and neighborhood you'll be living in online prior to moving, including local customs regarding clothing. 
  • Once you make the move, establish local coffee shops, pubs, churches or comfortable, positive places where you can be a part of the community.

Although interacting with citizens of your new country will be an important factor in overcoming culture shock, you should also seek out groups of other Americans who may be living in the same area. Fortunately, the Internet makes this a snap -- look for social media groups comprised of those who have made the move before you. 

Register With the U.S. Embassy

The U.S. State Department has a program known as the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) run though the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Registering with STEP prior to relocating to your new country makes it easier for your family and friends in the United States to contact you in the event of an emergency, keeps you informed of possible civil unrest, and basically provides you with an extra layer of protection and support as an American citizen living in a foreign country. Even if you plan on living in the country in question for a number of years, there may be times when you'll appreciate the assistance of the American Embassy.

Don't Forget About Fluffy

Some people cover just about everything in the process of preparing for the big move -- except they completely overlook whatever hoops they may have to jump through involving bringing their furry friends to their new home. Moving to another country with domestic pets is far different than moving to another state, and every country has its rules and regulations concerning the importation of animals. At the very least, you will need to provide a certificate of health and proof of a current rabies vaccine. Your pet will probably also have to be micro-chipped. It is recommended that you begin the process as soon as you know for sure that you will be relocating to a new country -- waiting until the last minute may result in an unhappy situation.

  • Locate a local veterinarian who is knowledgeable about the necessary paperwork for relocating pets to foreign countries.
  • Check with the airlines. If your pet is under a certain weight, it can ride in the cabin with you provided it remains in an airline-approved pet carrier that fits under your seat. Larger pets may have to ride in the cargo hold, but because temperatures aren't regulated in these parts of the plane, your pet may not be allowed to board during certain times of the year when temperatures are extreme.

Getting your ducks in a row before the big move will help ensure that you and your family will experience a fabulous adventure rather than a series of hassles and disappointments. For more information, contact a company like Hollander Storage & Moving