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Moving Abroad? | What to pack?

Are you moving abroad? Whether you are planning to move to another country as a student or on an official deputation or as a permanent resident to a country like Canada, I am sure you have innumerable questions - amongst which "What to pack?" tops the list! Should I carry my certificates, daily essentials, food items, clothes and the list is endless. And this is one of the most frequently asked questions in social media groups and (or) amongst friends/ relatives/ colleagues who have travelled before. 

While some genuinely respond, I have seen many mocking the asker, quoting it is too stupid to carry lentils, tooth brush or any basic essentials that will be available at the destination or just brushing it off as a dumb question. There is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers.

In this article, I shall try to answer your question "What to pack while moving abroad?" as much as I can. If you find this article useful, please don't hoard it to yourself. Share it with those whom you think might benefit as well.

First and foremost, check with the airlines you are flying to know your baggage allowance and the rules to know how much you can carry and the items that aren't permitted in your check-in and carry-on luggage. This is a critical aspect to decide what to pack. Next decide on how many suitcases you might need in the new place. If you won't make frequent travels, then try keeping your suitcases to minimum and pack your things in recyclable moving boxes. This way, you can save money spent on the luggage as well as space in your new home. Always place a print out inside each of your luggage with details of your name, address in the home country, phone number, names of the airports travelling from and to and address in the destination country, just in case any of our luggage gets misplaced, the airport authorities can easily trace you back. 

Documents: Apart from your passport and visa related documentation, it is always better to carry your educational and professional certificates, birth certificate, marriage certificate, vaccination records, international health insurance, bank information and any other documents that you and your family needs in the new country. Ensure you have soft copies of these documents, in case of loss during the travel or later. Also carry some foreign currency with you. 

Valuables: Unless you are relocating for good, I would suggest secure your valuables like gold, silver, money etc. in your home country and take as minimal as possible with you. When you are crossing the border, you have to declare the worth of valuables you are bringing into the country. So plan accordingly.

Food items: Now-a-days, almost every item is available in every country. Of course, there will be a price difference. When you are migrating first time to a place, I would still suggest to carry the staple items, without which you cannot survive. Carry minimal quantity that keeps you going for the first 10 days, until you figure out local grocery stores to restock them. So generally you may carry rice, flour, lentils, pickles and condiments, basic spices, salt and sugar. Most of the countries restrict carrying seeds and whole lentils, so consider those rules while packing. If you are a student or someone who has to procure a job after landing, I would suggest to carry food items in larger quantities, which helps you to put your money to use for other unavoidable expenses in the new country.

Utensils: Again, we can buy utensils after landing. But to avoid the hassle of searching for them at an unknown place and shelling out more than its value, when we already have it, I prefer to carry them along. Take important items depending on what you need for cooking - like pressure cooker, roller pins, basic cutlery like spoon, fork, knife, 1 or 2 plates, cups etc. Also ensure you pack these in your check in luggage. Once we settle down, based on our needs, we can source the rest. You may check out this link to read my article on budget friendly cookware in Canada.

Clothing & footwear : It is better to choose clothing based on the weather at the destination and your need. Most importantly carry only those that you think you will wear in the new place. For example, if you are travelling to Canada in the month of May, I would suggest you to carry just the summer clothing and footwear. It takes another 5-6 months for the winter to kick in and by that time, you will be well accustomed to the new place and can buy winter wear like jackets, boots, hats etc. If you are travelling in winter or close to it, pack winter wear while you start. On the other hand, if you are travelling to tropical countries like Malaysia, Singapore or Australia, you don't have to worry about the weather, as it remains the same all through the year. Clothing is another element which depends on your spending capacity. So pack wisely to avoid burning a hole in your pocket.

Personal essentials: Pack your personal grooming stuff like tooth brush, tooth paste, shampoo, soap, towels, shaving kit, comb, eye glasses, watch, etc. 

Children items: Pack your kid(s) familiar/ favourite blanket, toys, books, clothes and snacks, of course in moderation. Trust me, this helps a lot in settling down the child in the new environment. Also ensure to have their medicines, immunization records, baby food like formula etc. till you get their equivalent in the new place.

Medicines: If you are using any medication, carry enough supply, so that it will last until you figure out a new doctor and get refills. 3-4 months is ideal. Apart from these, carry any supplements you are using, basic medication and definitely a first aid kit.

Electronics: We will not miss our mobile phone no matter what. In case you want to carry your existing phone number, remember to work with your service provider to have seamless service while you are in the foreign land. Take your laptop and its charger, electrical step up/step down converters, headphone etc. 

Personal favourites/ Sentimental items: Carry only those you cannot live without. Remember the fact that your treasured possessions may be subjected to any damage during the long distance travel.

I covered all the categories I could think off. In case I missed on anything, don't hesitate to share that in the comments section. I would love to know and add on to the content. Let's benefit from each other.   

If you wish to read my latest articles and watch the content I create, follow me on Instagram and Facebook!! 

Note: This article is purely based on my personal experience and should not be considered as the final recommendation

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