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Europe remains a fascinating place for Americans, as many move there each year to pursue the opportunities the continent’s diverse and robust economy provides or to spend their retirement years enjoying Europe’s rich culture and history.

While European customs and standards of living are often similar to those in America, there are some critical adjustments U.S. residents will need to make if they choose to live in Europe. Before saying your farewells to the U.S., consider these steps and adjustments you’ll need to make before moving to the Old World:

  • Know what your housing situation will be – European housing can be quite different from American housing. For example, in Germany, apartments do not come furnished with stoves and refrigerators, as is common in America. Make sure you understand all the ins and outs of your accommodations when moving to Europe.
  • Get your taxes in order – If you’re living and working in Europe, chances are that you’ll only have to pay taxes in the country where you reside. However, European taxes are much higher than those in the U.S., so be prepared for some sticker shock. Also, be aware that if you derive income from U.S. sources, such as rents from a house you own in the U.S., you may still have to pay U.S. taxes on that income. Working with a tax advisor experienced in expatriate affairs can help.
  • Get used to weird electrical outlets – Not only are European outlets shaped differently than American electrical outlets, they also carry a different voltage. To safely use your American electronic gear with European electrical outlets, you’ll need a stepdown voltage transformer. Stepdown converters convert 220-volt current into 110-volt current, allowing users of American electronics to use their gear without frying it.
  • Make sure your paperwork is in order – Americans can visit Europe as tourists for up to 90 days. After that, they must obtain a visa. Before making your move, make sure to obtain any visa or worker’s permit you may need.
  • Make sure Fido can come – Many countries have differing rules about importing pets, so be sure you understand the rules of the nation where you will reside regarding your four-legged friends.
  • Get a local cell phone – Trying to use your U.S. cell phone overseas is just going to be frustrating and expensive. When relocating to Europe, get an international cell phone or purchase a phone and service from a local company. It’ll make your life 10 times easier.

  • Brush up your language skills – Many smartphones have apps that will help you translate written or spoken words, but your best bet to successfully navigate your new home and make friends and connections is by learning the language. There are many great online learning programs you can use to master basic conversation in many European languages.

110220Volts provides stepdown converters, non-region DVD players, international cell phones, and other electronic gear for an international consumer base. For international travelers and people intending to take up permanent residence abroad, 110220Volts is your source for electronics you can trust.