Holiday Customs

Monday, 24 September 2012


If you are about to take an international assignment, it is important to know that as you acclimate to your new host country, you will learn about your new host country’s holidays, festivals, celebrations and customs.  It will be an exciting part of your adventure and important for you to become acquainted.  These holidays and customs of your host country will affect your daily life and you will need to be aware of them so that you are prepared.  It will affect your ability to conduct business and manage employees.  It will affect you daily routine on whether or not you can shop for provisions or not.  It is not uncommon for a town to close to celebrate a holiday or festival, which could make it very difficult for you if you are not prepared.  Coming from many western cultures, we have adapted to keep several conveniences open, but this may be nonexistent in your new host country.  Therefore, take heed and warnings from locals.  If they say that the holiday will close things in town, listen.  

It may take some adjustment but instead of focusing on the inconveniences, think about the opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture.  Many of these festivals take on a life of its own and are widely celebrated.  Don’t be afraid to ask and learn.  Locals will see that you are making the effort and will often times include you with open arms.  Learning about these customs will also help prevent you from inadvertently offending your colleagues.  Sometimes you will not even realize what you have done.  You can get a feeling from the nuances of their reaction.  Ally yourself with a colleague who will not have a problem telling you what you did.  He or she will help you navigate the cultural landscape to make your experience more enjoyable.

Festival in_Thailand

Moving Collections

Monday, 17 September 2012


Moving collections can be tricky depending on the type of collection you are moving.  Whether you are moving a fragile glass collection, art collection, cigar collection or wine collection, you will have to take some fundamental steps to ensure that you are prepared.  First, consult your insurance policies and discuss your impending move with your insurance agent.  Chances are you will have a rider on your homeowners insurance policy to cover these items, especially high-valued items.  This is important because it will serve as a basis for your discussions with your professionals here at Starline.  They will be able to guide you and help ensure you are adequately covered for your move.  Second, make sure you have an inventory of your collection.  Note all essential information, which include dates and descriptions.  Along with that inventory, make sure you take photos of each item.  This will help you in the event you will need to make a claim.  Also, when you discuss your impending move with your professionals here at Starline, make sure to let them know of any special handling instructions.  For example, does your cigar collection require humidity control?  Does your wine collection require special temperature control?

Your professionals here at Starline are familiar with these types of specialized moves.  However, any additional information you can give will help them ensure the best quality of service and manage expectations.  They will also be able to explain any cost implications with special handling procedures.

tea cup_collection

Transportation Tips

Monday, 10 September 2012


When you move especially to a new country, the transportation options that you may be used to may be very different in your new place.  Therefore, you will have to do some research ahead of time to find what will work best.  This is important because it will directly impact the location of your new residence and its proximity to your work and other amenities.

Here are a few tips to evaluate your best option:

  • Find out the traffic in your new location.  In some countries traffic is horrendous and a car may be more of a liability than a realistic option.  In this case alternative modes of transportation may be your best bet.  Do your research ahead of time to find out what will work best.
  • Location, location, location.  The best option for you may very well be finding a location that is in proximity to everything you need including work.  Keep in mind that this may be a costly option.  Therefore, consider your budget and how much space you need.  Often times, if you are looking to live in a central location, you may have to compromise on space and/or increase your budget.  Definitely discuss this with your real estate professional.
  • Keep an open mind.  Traditional forms of transportation may not be the best option in some very densely populated cities.  In some cases, a scooter taxi may be your best bet.  
  • If you don’t have a car, you may need to get one.  If you are moving from a large city to a more suburban or rural location, a car may be the only transportation option for you.  Therefore, you will have to find out what type of car you will need and start a search for a vehicle.  If you are moving to rough terrain or where is snows a great deal, a four-wheel drive may be what you need.
  • Good luck!  Finding just the right option for you will make all the difference in a successful transition.

    scooter taxi

    Finding Pet Care

    Monday, 03 September 2012



    Your pet is a member of your family, so finding care for them after you move is an important step in feeling settled.  You want to begin by outlining what is important to you and what fits in your budget.  Once that list has been put to paper, then you can begin your search.  

    You want to start with those parameters in mind and begin your research online for providers in your area.  Once you have created your short list, interview them.  You want to get to know them and see if it is the right fit.  Make sure your pet participates too.  Your pet will let you know if they are comfortable with the situation or not.  If they have a facility, take your pet there and take a tour.  This will give you the peace of mind that you pet will be cared for the way you want them to be.  If this person is coming into your home to take care of your pet, you want to make sure you check their references and standing in the community.  You also want to make sure they have the required licenses and are bonded.  This is important whenever you bring someone into your home, to protect your identity and valuables.  

    Taking the time to do your due diligence will help to find just the right person for the job and will help you and your pet transition successfully.

    woman and_her_dog

    Making the Transition Easier on Your Spouse

    Monday, 27 August 2012


    Often times a move is due to a spouse moving for work.  In this situation, the other spouse, called the trailing spouse is left to leave his or her job, family and friends.  Although he or she may be looking forward to the new life, they may have some misgivings that will take some time to digest.  Keep in mind that when the working spouse moves for a job, he or she automatically has an opportunity to make friends, meet colleagues and have a job. Whilst the trailing spouse is left to find opportunities to make friends and get a job.  Therefore, be patient with your trailing spouse. It will take them longer to make the transition because they will have to start from scratch in their new environment.  Keep in mind that for some personalities, this will come very easy.  Whereas for others, it may pose a challenge and take even more time.    

    Make the effort to spend some quality time with your spouse and help with the logistics of the move.  A move can be very time consuming, therefore taking the time to check in with your spouse will help to keep the lines of communication open.  Try to offer opportunities to meet other couples that you know or work with to give your spouse a chance to meet others.  If you have children, school and activities for them will give opportunities for your spouse to meet parents and begin to network.  If your trailing spouse is looking for work, being supportive and helping them take steps to find that opportunity through updating a resume, practicing an interview and networking will all help.  

    A simple ‘date night’ that you coordinate will also help to keep an open dialog between you and your spouse.  It will also give you both an opportunity to get away from the tasks at hand.  Once you both have settled and made the transition successfully, it will strengthen your partnership.

    couple smiling

    Tips for Moving to a Colder Climate

    Monday, 20 August 2012


    If you are used to warmer weather and are relocating to the cold, you may have to budget to purchase some additional gear.  In addition to these purchases, you will learn to modify your behavior.  First, you want to start with doing some research.  Find out the average temperatures in your new area.  This is important because it will give you a temperature range to focus on when you buy clothing.  Winter gear will have temperature ratings noted on the tags of the items, which will serve you well in helping you determine what will work best in your new climate conditions.  You want to make sure that the temperature noted on the clothing fits within the average temperatures for the area.  Of all the gear you purchase, you want to make sure you get a good coat, gloves and snow boots.  If it seems overwhelming, ask someone, who is familiar with the area to help you.  

    After you kit yourself out in your new gear, you want to focus on your car.  Keep in mind that depending on your new location, you will have to consider winterizing your vehicle.  You will have to do it before the snow flies. Some auto shops will winterize your vehicle for you and if this is your first time experiencing the winter, you may want to seriously consider using a shop to do this for you.  They will make sure your vehicle has the ample anti-freeze it needs and they will make sure that you have special window-wiper fluid that will not freeze in the cold temperatures like water will.  Further, if you own a diesel vehicle, it is important to know that in some extreme cold temperatures, diesel fuel will gel, which will prevent the vehicle from going any where until it warms up enough to liquify again.  There are block heaters that you can purchase to prevent this.  However, before you even consider such a purchase, ask an auto shop if it is even necessary.  

    Over and beyond winterizing your vehicle you may have to consider your tires.  Depending on the average snow fall, you will have to see if you need to change your tires to all weather or snow tires.  In some cases, you may have to purchase chains.  Check with your local auto service to see if they are necessary.

    A four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive is not necessary in cold climates.  However, it does make it easier to drive in the snow.  Front-wheel drive will work well if you have the adequate tires to give you traction in the snow.  Rear-wheel drive vehicles can pose a problem.  Make sure to leave some kitty litter in your car to help give you traction in the snow.  It will help you get out, if you are stuck.

    Another tip if you are moving to colder climates is that you do not want to leave soda in your car for an extended period of time.  It may explode and make a mess in your car.  Further, make sure to dress appropriately in the cold.  If you are not careful, you can suffer frost bite.  Therefore, take the time to dress in layers to help you regulate your body temperature.  

    Moving to the cold will offer you the opportunity to enjoy a plethora of winter sports.  So get the right gear, so you can enjoy the cold and what it has to offer.

    Moving to a hot climate?  Check out this post from Highland Moving.

    winter scene

    Moving Tips: Don’t Forget

    Monday, 13 August 2012


    The most important moving tip to remember is to take care of the loose ends, before you move.  It is very easy to overlook things in the midst of the busy whirl wind of it all.  Therefore, when you are completing your list of tasks, identify the things that require your attention.  You want to brainstorm and make sure to list everything.  These items include, but are not limited to items like:

    Post Office Boxes:  You want to make sure to address this before the date of your move.  Go to the post office and discuss your options with the attendant.  Make sure you take the appropriate steps to forward or open up a post office box in your new location.

    Safety Deposit Boxes:  Take the time to go to your bank and speak to the teller.  You will have to empty out your box and turn in your key.  Don’t forget to ask for any remaining balance owed to you.  Often times you pay ahead of time for a rental period, so you want to make sure to clear that up before you leave.

    Bank Accounts:  Go through all of your financial documents and make sure to address all of your banking institutions.  If they are local, take the steps to close out your accounts.  If they are national, find out about your local branch in your new area and your banks policies and procedures for transferring your money.  At the very least, make sure to give them your forwarding address.

    Dry Cleaning:  Go to your local dry cleaner and make sure you have picked up all of your clothes.  Have them double check your account to make sure that you have not left anything behind.  It would be a shame, if you left without your favorite sweater. 

    Tailor:  Double check with your tailor if you have left any shoes for repair.  Make sure that you make arrangements to pick them up. 

    Health Records: Before leaving, you want to visit your doctor.  Make sure he or she knows that you are moving and that you need prescriptions refilled and forms signed.  This will help ensure that your new doctor will have access to your new medical records.

    Prescriptions:  When you see your doctor, ask for prescription refills.  Mention to your doctor that you are moving and that you need to have enough of your medicine to make your move and get a new doctor.  This is really important to continue your standard of care during your move.

    Vet Records:  Whether or not you are having your pet professionally transported or not, you still want to take them to see the vet.  Discuss with your vet the impending move and make sure to obtain copies of vaccinations and health records.  You also want to make sure you refill any prescriptions need to help your pet.

    School Records:  Before you leave, make sure that you have copies of school records.  If your child has any special needs or accommodations required, make sure to have these with you.  This will help you tremendously as you meet with your new school administrators.

    Birth Certificates:  If you are leaving your or your child’s place of birth, make sure to get certified copies of birth certificates.  This is important because a certified copy is important to have for various reasons.  You want to make sure to get at least two copies.  This way if one is lost you still have a back up copy to use.

    Taking the time to identify these items on your list will help prevent you forgetting to address them before you leave.  It is very busy before you move, so take the time to note things whenever you think of them in order to help you monitor the progress and ensure they are addressed.

    dry cleaning_on_hangers

    International Assignment? Visit Your Doctor Before You Leave

    Monday, 06 August 2012


    Offered an international assignment?  Congratulations!  It is an opportunity of a lifetime.  However, before you leave on your international assignment, visit your doctor.  This is critical to ensure your health and safety prior to your arrival.  It is important to get the necessary health clearance you may need to enter your new country.  Depending on where you are moving and your corporate policies, there will be different protocols.  Take the time to educate yourself on what is required.  You will have to make sure you have all of your vaccinations current and you may need additional ones for extra protection.  It is also worth your time to do some research about communicable diseases in your new country and discuss measures of protection with your doctor ahead of time.  If you are moving to a third world country, you may need to take some extra precautions.  

    When you meet with your doctor, ask him or her about standard of care and health issues and any infectious diseases of concern in your new location.  Education and knowledge is the best form of prevention.  Therefore, in order to best enjoy the opportunity of an international assignment, you want to do your due diligence ahead to be prepared.  This extra effort will allow you to enjoy your time abroad and give you some peace of mind.

    doctor and_patient

    Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Child’s New School

    Monday, 30 July 2012


    1. What are the specials offered?  This helps you understand what other classes and activities are offered beyond the core curriculum.  This will help you get a feel of the school offerings and if coincides with what you want for your children.
    2. How involved is the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) or PTA (Parent Teacher Association)?  This may not seem important but it is.  This will give you a barometer of the parental involvement of the school.  If you have a very active PTO, chances are the school is an integral part of the community.  Further, fundraising and community activities are a successful part of the school because of this support. Get the contact details of the PTO or PTA president and ask them about their school.  He or she should be able to give you ongoing plans for projects that they are working on for the school.  
    3. What is their standing amongst their peers and academic performance of their students?  Do your online research ahead of time before you go to the school to meet with administration.  With this information in hand, ask for specifics and what is the school planning to focus on based on their results.
    4. What are the special services offered?  This is important to know so that you are able to understand what services are offered for students, who need extra academic support.  Even though this may not apply to your child, you still want to understand what is available in terms of gifted and talented programs, as well as other support systems for students, who need extra help.  This will help you understand how the administration prioritizes its needs.
    5. What type of curriculum do they follow and why?  This is very important to understand.  Schools follow all types of curriculum and you need to understand what it means for your child and his or her academic success.  Ask the school what is followed and why it has been chosen.  Ask how it relates to the overall academic success of the school.

    Moving your child and starting a new school offers both a challenge and opportunity.  Taking the time to get answers to your questions will make the difference in helping you find just the right school for your child.

    school children_w_backpacks

    First-Time Mover

    Monday, 23 July 2012


    Most of you have moved sometime in your lives before you hire a professional mover.  Moving with a professional mover is a different experience than moving yourself.  Therefore, preparing yourself ahead of time will allow you to take full advantage of the experience.  Whether or not you are on a corporate relocation, you want to take the time to understand what your needs are, what encompasses your expectations and what is your budget.  Clarifying this will make a big difference in the direction of your move and help to manage expectations.  

    Moving with professionals makes your life easier.  Instead of trash bags, you will have boxes designed for your items.  You will be assigned a crew and a crew leader, who will act as your point of contact during the move.  If you have any questions, ask your crew leader.  Your crew will work diligently to get things done.  Therefore, if you have any questions, let them know right away before something is packed and in the truck.  

    Keep in mind, even though you have professionals handling your move, you are still needed at your house to give guidance and direction.  It is important that someone be there.  This will ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your crew is not waiting for you to give them information.  

    Your professionals here at Starline will do their best to make your experience as easy as possible.  Starline offers a variety of services from packing and unpacking, crating, storage and transport.  Understanding your budget and if applicable, your corporate relocation policies will help you make important decisions that will have an impact on your move.

    Moving with professionals like Starline will make your move tremendously easier.  We are here to help you.  Please feel free to contact us anytime with questions or concerns.   

    cute couple_with_boxes


    We service all of Alberta including Ft. McMurray, Red Deer and Lethbridge!

    Our Affiliates


    Edmonton International Movers
    14490-157 Avenue NW
    Edmonton, AB
    T6V 0K8

    Tel: (780) 447-4242

    Calgary International Movers
    320 28 St N.E.
    Calgary, AB
    T2A 5R2

    Tel: (403) 720-3244