7 Moving Abroad Checklist: From Dubai to Singapore

Moving Abroad Checklist: From Dubai to Singapore

Moving from Dubai to Singapore has been a whirlwind adventure, sprinkled with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of panic, anxiety, and laughter. Moving abroad is an emotional rollercoaster!

My moving abroad checklist from Dubai to Singapore may have been more of a “learn-as-I-go” guide, but isn’t that what makes life exciting?

Hello Lovelies! If you’re here, you’re probably either planning a move abroad or you just enjoy reading about my misadventures (lucky you!). Well, let me tell you, my recent move from the glamorous sands of Dubai to the lush greenery of Singapore was a rollercoaster ride of excitement, panic, and plenty of laughter.

So, grab a cup of your favorite tea (I’ve upgraded from Dubai’s gold-infused coffee to Singapore’s Teh Tarik), and let’s dive into my 7 Moving Abroad Checklist – with a twist of humor and a sprinkle of personal anecdotes.

Moving abroad checklist


1. Visa Woes and Oh-No’s

Oh, the joys of visa applications! It was well taken care of by my husband’s employer and we had to just play the waiting game. It all began with me Googling “How to get a visa for Singapore” and stumbling upon more acronyms than I could count – EP, PR, S Pass. I was halfway through writing a letter to my cousin who lives in Singapore when I realized, “Hey, maybe I should ask if it’s feasible to make a move from Dubai to Singapore?” After a heart-pounding call and some friendly advice from Didi (my cousin), I finally got my paperwork straightened out.

Pro-tip: Don’t let Google be your only guide on this journey. Get an expert who can help you out with Visa woes or call the Embassy to know the procedure, document checklist, and timeline.


2. Packing or Playing Tetris?

With my visa secured, I faced the monumental task of packing up 11 years of my life in boxes. Dubai to Singapore – it sounds like a breeze, right? Not when you have to choose between your collection of designer dresses and your growing collection of books that are more dearer to you than any other material possession. I swear, fitting my life into those boxes felt like playing Tetris on expert mode. There were moments when I contemplated shipping my furniture by drone. Alas, the Tetris champion in me prevailed, and everything fit snugly (well, almost).

I took the help of the shipping company that helped me in packing my stuff in boxes perfectly so that things didn’t get ruined during the transit. It is crucial to get quotations from International movers and packers 3 weeks in advance so that you can get the best deal, negotiate add-ons, and know about storage facilities, and whether they have packing services or not.

Pro-tip: Ask them about the timeline and how will they take care of the customs. Every country has a different custom rule, and you should be well aware of that.



3. The Tearful Goodbyes

Ah, goodbyes – the universal symbol of a move abroad. I had to say goodbye to a place that was extremely kind to me, let me enjoy my life to the fullest, and gave me some wonderful memories. Of course, I cried like a baby as if I was leaving for Mars instead of a mere five-hour flight away. But then, as the plane soared above the Persian Gulf, the pre-flight anxiety gave way to the anticipation of a new adventure. I had my trusty box of tissues ready, though. You know, just in case.

Living an expat life comes with the price of saying frequent goodbyes. But what you get in return is also valuable – experience of living in a multicultural, and multilingual community that is ready to embrace with open arms.

Pro-tip: Try to keep “Goodbyes” short!


4. Jet Lag Shenanigans

Let’s talk about jet lag. My body clock was so confused that it tried to convince me it was still nighttime when I landed in Singapore at 7 AM. I roamed the streets like a zombie, looking for a place that served black coffee. I’ve become a pro at turning day into night and vice versa. Coffee and naps are my new best friends.

Pro-tip: Try to forget your old time zone, adjust your body clock by shifting sleep-wake time and if nothing works then caffeine comes to the rescue.


5. Grocery Store Mysteries

Navigating the local grocery store in Singapore was like entering a foreign dimension. I found myself staring at durian like it was an alien species, and I nearly mistook pandan leaves for something I could brew into tea. It’s all part of the fun, right? I’ve embraced this adventure in culinary exploration and let’s just say, my taste buds are having a party!

Download apps like Foodpanda, Grab, and Deliveroo to get groceries and food at your doorstep.

Pro-tip: Do not get into a currency conversion spiral – there are high chances you’ll slip into depression.


6. The Challenge of Public Transportation

Dubai has its share of traffic jams, but Singapore is a whole different ballgame. The MRT system here is efficient and well-connected, but mastering it felt like solving a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded. I once ended up on the wrong island trying to get to the Botanic Gardens!

However, I’ve now embraced the MRT and even started a game of “Spot the Tourist.” Hint: They’re the ones taking selfies with the MRT map.

Download Apps like Grab, Zig, and TADA for taxi booking and ride shares.

Pro-tip: Every city has its own list of apps that can help you with hassle-free commute. Research and download them. Also, don’t assume that UBER is operational everywhere.


7. Embracing the Rain

Singapore’s reputation for rain isn’t a joke. It’s like a daily surprise party – you never know when or where it will happen. I’ve learned to carry an umbrella the way Dubai folks carry sunglasses.

One rainy day, I forgot my umbrella and decided to run to the nearest store for cover. I’m pretty sure I set a new sprint record for my life. So, remember, if you hear the pitter-patter, don’t wait for an invitation – just dance in the rain.

Always carry an umbrella, water bottle, and sunscreen in Singapore. You can thank me later!

Pro-tip: Dress according to the weather of the country you’re going to live in and you will never regret it.


If you’re planning your own move abroad, remember that it’s okay to get lost, make mistakes, and laugh at yourself along the way. After all, it’s not just about the destination; it’s about the journey – and the hilarious stories you’ll collect along the way. I didn’t give out the house-hunting strategies while moving abroad as it’s a totally different ball game and it will require it’s own dedicated blog post.

Singapore, I’m here, I’m ready, and I’ve got my umbrella. Let’s do this!

Until next time, stay adventurous, stay curious, and stay amused. Till then if you haven’t checked out my life update, then click here.


Lots of Love,




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