Updated on April 20, 2017
Moving to Sweden: Life Hacks
Moving to a new country comes with countless stresses and learning curves. Learning the language, navigating the city, managing your money, staying on top of the news, and converting Fahrenheit to Celsius can all lead to major headaches. Here you can read about several life savers that I recommend to anyone moving to Sweden. They have certainly made my life easier.
TransferWise. Need to securely send currency from one country to another with minimal fees? This is the best service around. Banks often add a markup to their exchange rate while advertising low fees. TransferWise transparently displays its fairly priced fee upfront and deducts it before conversion. They even give you one transfer free of charge.
Taxes for Expats. If you think US taxes are a nightmare, try moving to a new country. Since we had income in two different currencies and owned property in the States, it was a logistical mess. It cost $250 to have Taxes for Expats do our taxes, but I found it was worth it for the peace of mind that someone with expertise was in charge of the process for us. They were always helpful, transparent, and quick to respond to my several questions.
DuoLingo. Learning Swedish has been a fun new challenge for me in the past year and a half. I am proud of the progress I have made and love the feeling when I can successfully communicate with a Swede without using English. Without a doubt, Duolingo has been the most helpful tool in learning the language. By spending a few minutes per day in the app, my vocabulary has consistently expanded. If you are wanting to learn a new language or just brush up on your Spanish from high school, check it out. Lately I have also enjoyed practicing Swedish on the LingQ app.
TheLocal.se. This website is extremely valuable to anyone moving to Sweden because it provides the news for Sweden… in English! Stay on top of politics, read silly news stories from across the country, delve into Swedish culture, and even search for English speaking jobs, all in one place.
To keep up with American news, I prefer The Daily Skim.
Converter App. Kroner to dollars? Cups to deciliters? Fahrenheit to Celsius??? Ahh! Everyone moving from the States to Europe needs a good converter app.
AirBNB. Finding a place to live in a new country before you move is impractical. When making this big decision, it’s good to get a feel of neighborhoods in the city first and see a potential home in person. While searching for a permanent place to live, consider renting an AirBNB for a short amount of time. AirBNB is also an excellent service to use any time you travel.
Momondo. I was amazed when my friend told me about this flight finding website. Some of the flights I found here cost nearly half of those from other websites! I have especially seen a huge differences on the prices between USA to Europe. If you are planning to fly to Sweden in the near future, run the dates through Momondo and see if you can find a good deal.
Hopper. Know that you will be going on a trip sometime in the future? This app monitors prices for you and lets you know the cheapest dates to fly and the best time to buy.
Transit apps. I now have an entire folder on my phone with transit apps to use in Stockholm. Google Maps is always best for navigating streets and finding best routes. However, Res i Sthlm will tell you when the next bus or train will be departing from a particular stop. This can help with timing so you are not standing unnecessarily long outside in Sweden’s lovely weather. You can also use the SL app to purchase transit tickets if you are stuck in a bind.
Free books! Set up an overdrive account from your local US library. Since moving with your entire home bookshelf is rarely an option, every traveling book lover needs a trusty e-reader. However, did you know that you can borrow library books from America and have them sent to your Kindle anywhere in the world? Before you move, check out your local library branch’s webpage and see how you can sign up for this free service! While traveling, JoEllen and I always make a point to check out a Rick Steves‘ guide to the country we are visiting. We love you, Rick!
TV projector. A few days before we left Nashville, JoEllen’s parents gave us an incredible gift: a small TV projector that easily fit into our suitcase. With this, we can simply hook up our phone or iPad to project movies or TV shows onto our wall as if we had a real TV! This way you can keep up with all your favorite American TV shows through Netflix, Amazon Video, and – most importantly – keep up with who Chris Jericho has been putting on “The List of Jericho” on the WWE Network.
What life hacks have you found help you get the most out of your travel experiences? Share your advice in the comments below!