Things to know before Moving to Europe

Moving from New Zealand to Europe is exciting but challenging. It requires careful planning for a smooth relocation overseas. In this guide, we’ll explore five key aspects that individuals and families should know before making the move to Europe, along with insights into the best European countries for expats in 2024.

1. Getting Your Finances Set Up

One of the first and most crucial steps when moving to a foreign country is setting up a local bank account. This ensures that you can manage your finances effectively, receive your salary, and pay bills seamlessly.

Before leaving New Zealand, it’s advisable to check with your New Zealand bank about international services and explore options for opening a bank account in your destination country in Europe. Having a local bank account helps avoid currency exchange fees and facilitates easier financial transactions, providing a solid foundation for your new life in Europe.

New Zealand Van Lines has partnered with Xe Money Transfer, a reliable global payment and foreign exchange expert. They offer competitive exchange rates and personalised currency advice to individuals and businesses. XE is a trusted currency authority used by over 300 million people annually.

2. The Best European Countries for Expats in 2024

Choosing the right country in Europe is pivotal for a successful relocation. As of 2024, several European countries stand out as attractive destinations for expats to move to due to their quality of life, job opportunities, and overall expat-friendly environment.

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, particularly cities like London, Manchester, and Edinburgh are popular destinations for New Zealanders looking to move to Europe. The UK offers a diverse range of job opportunities, a vibrant cultural scene, and a high standard of living. Additionally, the English language and shared historical ties make it an attractive choice for many New Zealanders.


France is another popular choice for New Zealanders seeking to move to Europe. The country offers a rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, and a high quality of life. Cities like Paris, Lyon, and Bordeaux are known for their art, cuisine, and history. France also provides opportunities for career growth, particularly in industries such as fashion, hospitality, and technology.


New Zealanders looking for a warmer climate and a relaxed lifestyle move to Spain. Cities like Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia offer a mix of modern amenities and traditional charm. Spain is known for its vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and beautiful beaches. Many New Zealanders are attracted to Spain for its affordable cost of living and opportunities in sectors like tourism, teaching English, and IT.

Other Popular Countries in Europe

Other top destinations in Europe are Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden all of which consistently rank high for professionals and families. Germany boasts a strong economy, diverse job market, and excellent healthcare, making it an ideal choice. The Netherlands is known for its work-life balance, bike-friendly cities, and a welcoming atmosphere for expats. Sweden, with its high standard of living and focus on family well-being, is another appealing option for those looking to live and work in Europe.

These countries offer unique experiences and opportunities for New Zealanders looking to make a move to Europe. It’s important to research and consider factors such as job prospects, cost of living, language requirements, and cultural differences before making a decision.

3. Language and Cultural 

While English is widely spoken in many European countries, especially in professional settings, taking the time to learn the local language can significantly enhance your experience of living in Europe.

Beyond the practical benefits of effective communication, learning the local language helps integrate into the community, make friends, and understand the culture more deeply. Before deciding to move, consider investing time in language courses to ease potential language barriers and enrich your overall expatriate experience.

4. Getting Around in Europe

Understanding the intricacies of public transport in your chosen European country is essential for daily life. Europe is known for its efficient and well-connected public transportation systems, including trains, buses, and trams. Familiarising yourself with the local public transport network can save you time and money, especially if you don’t plan to own a car immediately upon arrival.

Additionally, many European countries are part of the European Union (EU), allowing for ease of travel across borders. Expats can take advantage of this freedom to explore neighboring countries and experience the rich cultural diversity that Europe has to offer.

5. Building a Support Network: Friends and Family

The process of deciding to move to a foreign country can be both exciting and daunting. To ease the transition, it’s crucial to build a support network in your new home. Expatriate communities, social groups, and networking events are excellent avenues to meet like-minded individuals and establish connections.

Utilise online platforms to connect with other expats who have already made the move, as their insights can be invaluable in navigating the challenges of settling in a foreign country.

Cultivating friendships and a sense of community is essential for both professionals and families to thrive in their long-term life in Europe.

Moving to Europe from NZ

Moving to Europe from New Zealand is a significant life change that requires careful consideration and planning. From choosing the right European country to move to, planning your finances, learning more about the new languages and culture, how to get around and building a support network, each aspect plays a crucial role in ensuring a successful transition.

By being well-informed and proactive in your approach, you can turn your dream of living in Europe into a reality.

NZ Van Lines is New Zealand’s leading international moving and storage company, and one of the world’s most trusted and respected brands in worldwide moving today. We provide relocation and shipping services to all locations in Europe from New Zealand. Request a free, no obligation quote online or call our award-winning team on: 0800 362 236.

Request a moving quote online or call our Moving Specialists on: 0800 36 22 36

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