The Moving Abroad Packing List You Only Need

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You now decided to move abroad and it’s time to pack your bags. It will be easier if you can pack everything, right? But, knowing what to pack when you have limited space can be difficult! It’s also not easy to predict what you will need in your new home.

That’s why the first thing you should do is to write down a moving abroad packing list!

I put together the ultimate packing list that can help you manage your move. In this post, you will find all the necessary items you need to pack and some useful packing tips.

moving-abroad-packing-list

If you are still planning to move abroad, and don’t need to start thinking about your packing lists, then this moving abroad checklist will help you get started.

Moving abroad packing list considerations

Before you start packing, you need to consider a few things first. This will help you make decisions on what to bring and what not to bring.

  • Where are you moving abroad? The things you need to pack before you move to a new country will depend on your destination. Are you currently living in a tropical country and moving to Sweden, for example?
  • What time of the year are you moving abroad? The next thing you need to consider is if you are moving to a tropical country, then you definitely don’t have to bring your winter clothes! 
    And, if you are moving during winter, you don’t need to pack all your winter clothes and boots as those are bulky. 
  • How long are you moving abroad? Are you moving abroad permanently? 
  • How are your finances? When packing to move abroad or study abroad, assess your finances as this will help you plan better. Can you afford to hire a moving company & ship your belongings? Or are you on a budget and must fit all your items on your checked-in luggage? 

Once you have considered those things, you can now easily make decisions on what to pack!

Moving abroad packing list

Essentials

  • Passport 
  • Visa 
  • Credit or debit cards, cash
  • Personal electronics 
  • Medicines 
  • Converter or adapter plugs 
  • Portable battery pack
  • Legal or important documents 

Passport. Renewing your passport from the country you are moving to might not be as simple as you think it is. If you don’t have an embassy, you might have to travel to another country just to renew your passport. Of course, it will also take more time for you to receive your new passport.

When traveling, you can protect your passport also by using passport covers. It protects your passport from normal wear & tear & some passport covers can add extra organization. If you want to have extra protection on your passport, you can also get one of the passport covers with RFID blockers.

Visa. When you are moving abroad, check that you have your valid visa (if you need one) with you so you won’t have any problems entering the country.

Credit or debit cards, cash. Chances are you cannot open a bank account yet as soon as you move abroad. So, you have to prepare & check if you can use your local cards abroad.

Transfer money abroad

I often send money abroad, especially to the Philippines, so I had to find a hassle-free and cost-effective option for international transactions.

Signup for a Wise account!

Wise (formerly TransferWise) is a great bank for sending and receiving money internationally with low fees — much cheaper than using a traditional bank.

With the Wise Borderless account, you can also get your own local bank account details in Europe, UK, the US, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Personal electronics such as your camera, tablets, phone, laptops, or even desktop computer. You can bring your desktop computer as check-in baggage. But, you need to consider the weight of your luggage.

Moving abroad packing tip: If you have multiple electronics and you are moving to a country that uses a different plug, instead of buying several adapters, bring an extension cord instead!

Medicines. Aside from your prescribed medicines, you should carry some over-the-counter medicines & band-aids.

  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Antihistamines 
  • Diarrhea medicine 
  • Antacid
  • Motion sickness tablets 

You can buy other OTC medicines when you arrived abroad, so just bring a few during the travel will do! I usually put mine in a small travel pouch. But, there are also ready-made travel first aid kits that can make sure you have enough of all of the essential items.

Converter or adapter plugs. The first thing you’ll do (at least I did) as soon as I arrived at my apartment is to plug in my electronics.

There are different plugs and socket types, so a travel adapter should be on your moving abroad packing list.

Portable battery pack. I had a 20-hour flight, so I cannot leave without a power bank in my bag. And, during your first few days after moving abroad, you will spend most of your time exploring your new home and using Google Maps.

If you moved to another country with a different language, your phone will come in handy translating words to English!

That’s why I always bring my power bank whenever I leave the house.

Legal or important documents. It goes without saying that you need to bring these items with you. Add all the important documents to your packing checklist so you won’t forget.

Clothing and shoes

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Photo by Alyssa Strohmann on Unsplash

Clothes and shoes take up most of your luggage that’s why you need a moving abroad packing list.

If you only have your checked-in luggage for all your stuff, pick your most favorite clothes first. Depending on which country you are moving to, sometimes it might be cheaper to buy new clothes.

If you are moving during winter, then your coat will definitely take up too much space. Making a list of clothes and shoes you want to bring can help you plan better. Check if those are still practical in your destination. If not, you’re better off leaving your other clothes and shoes.

You don’t need to bring your clothes and shoes you’ll never wear while living abroad.

Bags and accessories

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Photo by Jess @ Harper Sunday on Unsplash

I left most of my bags back home because I know I will not use them as often as I did. I only brought around 3 to 5 bags and carefully chose for each occasion.

Depending on how much you have, but, at least, accessories are smaller & easier to pack. So, it won’t take too much of your space in your luggage.

You can put your accessories inside your bags to save space!

Toiletries

Aside from bringing a toothbrush and toothpaste, some toiletries should belong on your moving abroad packing list!

When moving abroad, you don’t have to pack the items that can be found around the world (or items that can be ordered from Amazon). Unless, you have specific brands that you use for your skincare, for example, and you know it will be difficult to find elsewhere.

Familiar items to cope with homesickness

You can bring sentimental items too to cope with homesickness after moving abroad. I have a big box that contains sentimental items & I left most of it with my family in my home country. I only brought a few ones that I’d like to keep with me such as a few photos & letters!

Related: 13 Unexpected Advantages of Living Abroad and 11 Most Common Challenges of Living Abroad

How to pack for your international relocation

There are different ways of packing for your move abroad. Moving all your belongings can be expensive, and it’s a tough decision to not bring it all!

That’s why you should downsize first before moving abroad. Downsizing will make you bring the items that you need.

Use vacuum bags or packing cubes

The first thing you need to do when packing for your move abroad is to use vacuum bags or packing cubes since those help you save some space.

Any amount of space is beneficial! If you need more reasons to convince you to start using vacuum bags or packing cubes, some of its benefits are:

  • It’s easier to pack when you organized your items per cube. 
  • It will be easier to find things. Just take the cube out and get what you need.
  • It protects your clothes.
  • It helps you avoid overpacking. 
  • Vacuum bags help you save even more space since it removes excess air.  

Carry-on luggage

Before I traveled from the Philippines to Sweden, I knew I needed carry-on luggage! Depending on your airline, your carry-on luggage can weigh a max of 8kg. That’s a lot of storage space & you can take a backpack that you can stow away under the seat.

Things you should always pack on your carry-on bag:

  1. Passport & IDs 
  2. Personal electronics & its chargers 
  3. 1 set of change of clothes 
  4. Toothbrush, toothpaste & wipes 
  5. Water bottle 
  6. Medications 
  7. Headphones

Weigh your bags

You should always weigh your bags while packing, so you get an idea if you are going over the limit. The overweight surcharge is usually more expensive.

If you think you cannot fit all your items in one luggage, you need to rethink if you should downsize more or consider checking a second one.

Check-in luggage

The common maximum size for check-in luggage is 62 linear inches (158 cm) and a maximum weight of 50 pounds (23kg).

To avoid extra charges, check the size limits with your airlines. If you have an idea of how much luggage you need to bring, you can purchase additional checked bags online. Paying upfront at the check-in counter can cost you more.

Moving abroad packing tips

It is more exciting to look for travel tips, but it’s as important to get some tips while packing. Take this as an opportunity to simplify your life too!

  • Start downsizing before you pack your items. 
  • Start packing at least a week before you leave to move abroad so you have time to shop.
  • See what you can eliminate. You will overpack the first time!
  • Keep writing lists! For example, clothes are on your moving abroad packing list. You can also make a separate list of clothes that you will bring. 

I hope this moving abroad packing list helped you with your upcoming relocation to another country!

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