You've organized and packed and hired a reputable company like Hollander Storage & Moving for your big international move. You only need to decide on a moving date. Do you know the major holidays and observances of the country you'll be moving to? If you don't, arriving during one can cause you major headaches.
Here are the better known global holidays, festivals and observances.
China - National Day.
This holiday starts on October 1st and in spite of its name, lasts more than one day. It's a public holiday that's celebrated throughout China, Hong Kong and Macau. The Hong Kong celebrations only last two days.
In the rest of China, all government offices are closed from October 1-7. This affects work permits, renewals and related services. Anyone needing official documents or services should expect a one week delay if arriving right before or during this holiday.
Brazil - Carnival.
Carnival usually occurs in February, right before the start of Lent. It officially lasts for four days, but the build up goes on for a week and more. If at all possible, avoid relocating to Brazil close to this time of year. While it's a spectacle to behold, it's also a very chaotic time of year.
If you're arriving and expecting to settle in right away, be aware that even offices and stores that are open are often understaffed as workers prepare for the festivities. During the entire four days, the entire country comes to a standstill.
Most Latin American countries have some sort of carnival celebration as well. The State Department warning to be more cautious during Carnival applies not only to Brazil, but to neighboring countries as well.
Predominantly Muslim countries - Ramadan.
The dates for the month-long observance of Ramadan vary according to the Islamic calendar. If you are relocating to the Middle East, or any other country with a Muslim majority, it's a good idea to find out the exact dates before setting your relocation date.
Banks and government offices work shorter hours at this time of year. Business lunches are out of the question, since observant Muslims must fast during the day. If you can, move any other month.
Mediterranean countries - August.
Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece and France literally close shop in August. The majority of workers in the Mediterranean countries take their vacations at this time of year. The larger cities tend to empty out and the resort areas become overcrowded. Either way, many services will be hard to find.
If you arrive in August hoping to set up your new home or apartment, you may have to wait until September. Among the vacationers you'll find painters, handymen, government workers and shop owners.
If you're moving to a region not mentioned here, look up their holidays and observances ahead of time. A little research can help your international move go off without a hitch.