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Advice for getting settled after relocating to the United States of America
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Getting settled in America

Many people find moving to the United States of America to be a huge adventure, and a dream come true. After all, America is the setting for countless films and TV shows that we see in the UK, and it has a fairy tale atmosphere to live up to. Preparation and being aware of what life in America is really like is a key ingredient to ensuring a happy and smooth transition to your relocation.

What to expect when you arrive in America

Chances are strong that you'll arrive before your belongings do, due to shipping times. Be sure to pack separately the items you'll need when you first arrive in the USA and take them with you when you travel.

Your experience of living in America will vary considerably depending on where you settle. Someone living in the north east, such as New York City or Boston will have an extremely different lifestyle than someone in a rural area, or somewhere like Florida, Texas or even California. Take some time to read up on where you'll be moving to, it will help you hit the ground running when you arrive.

Medical insurance and healthcare

Healthcare costs in the United States are expensive. Most people obtain insurance through their employer (you usually need to partially pay for your insurance premium, and your employer pays part), and it is now a requirement for all residents to have some health care coverage in place. For more information about health care coverage, who qualifies to register (and pay for insurance) under what's commonly known as Obamacare, visit

Coverage - and cost - will vary by the plan you select and the insurance company. Additionally, health care plans sponsored by religious organisations, including hospitals and institutions of higher education, are not required to pay for birth control methods, so you'd need to pay for those yourself.

Learn as much as you can about the health care system and insurance in America before you go, so you're not making a quick decision about your healthcare insurance when you arrive. This will help you select the best insurance for the needs of everyone in your family. The American health care system is world-class, but knowing the options, rules and costs of insurance and health care will help you have a good start to your new life in America.

English or American?

Americans speak English, but it is a very different flavour of English than you're most likely accustomed to. Similar to the UK, dialects, accents and slang will vary widely among regions in America, and it may take a while for your ear to be trained to understand what you're hearing. Don't worry, that's normal, and soon you'll at least be understanding everyone! Even Americans themselves struggle with understanding people from different regions of the country sometimes.

You'll also find that many Americans will be taken in by your accent, and strangers may approach you simply because they've heard you speak and are fascinated by your British accent.

Driving right

One thing that is difficult for some to get used to are the differences in driving in America versus the UK or Europe. In the US, you drive on the left side of the car and the right side of the road - and traffic rules are sometimes very different, such as right turns on red. It is strongly suggested you have a couple of driving lessons to adjust to the differences before you start to drive regularly in America.

You'll also have to take a driving test, which is not nearly as difficult as the UK test, and these tests will vary state-by-state. Most American cars are automatics, but you can take your test in any kind of car you'd like - it will have no impact on your drivers license.

Public transportation in America

Outside of the big cities in the USA (New York, Chicago, Boston, etc.) public transportation is not very widespread, especially outside of commuting times. If you don't want to drive in the US, be sure to check out the public transportation options - and hours of operation - near where you're thinking of making your home. Outside of the large cities, shopping, doctors, dentists, etc. are generally designed for those who drive, even the local convenience store may not be very convenient if you don't have a car.

Aboard the yellow school bus

The American public (and private) education system is very different from the UK. Before you choose your home, investigate the school districts in the areas you're considering living in as your child will most likely attend the local school (even if it isn't the most suitable for their interests or academic level).

Yes, those big yellow school buses you've seen American TV shows and films are the norm for transporting students to and from school in the USA, even for teenagers in high school.

How can we help with your move to America?

Ring us on 01785 251161 and our international removal experts will be glad to assist you.

Alternatively, you can contact us or use our online booking to set up an appointment for your home removal survey - both services can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, meaning you can contact us when it suits you.

Additional information - United States of America

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