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The Essential Packing Checklist for Expats

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Relocating to a different country is nothing short of a challenge. When you think about it, even going on a short trip of a few days requires you to think your packing through a little bit. You have to decide what you need to take with you, get your passport and make sure your vaccinations are in order, ensure you arrive at the airport in time and that you’re wearing clothes that are both light to keep you comfortable but durable enough to stay warm on the plane. And then, when you arrive, you’ll most likely discover that you’ve forgotten to bring your toothbrush or phone charger.

Moving is the same experience, only amped up, so it makes sense to be a little apprehensive. It’s a significant change in your life, so you want to be extra careful throughout the process so you don’t leave anything behind. At the same time, it is also important that you’re not stressed out, as it will make the overall experience downright miserable. Maintaining a more carefree attitude will guarantee the overall process is successful and that you can move into your new home without a care in the world.

Here are some of the most important aspects you should consider when moving abroad.

Start in advance 

While you shouldn’t allow yourself to get too anxious about the process, you must still take practical steps to see it done. To achieve this, it’s essential to start planning in advance. Making a comprehensive checklist will prevent you from overpacking. After all, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to take all your belongings with you unless you live a minimalist lifestyle. Otherwise, this is one of the best opportunities to remove the clutter that has accumulated in your drawers, on shelves and in the wardrobe.

If you’re relocating to the United States, you can head down to movingfeedback.com to compare between the different moving companies within the country. As such, you can discover the service that works best for you so that’ll put you in full control of the moving process so you have an overall positive experience. 


Moving is the best time to get rid of things you no longer need. You don’t want to be worried about relocating too many things, and what’s more, the moving costs will be higher when you have to transport many items. However, you mustn’t make this choice rashly, as you don’t want to throw away things you can still use. For example, while some can advise you to get rid of the furniture, kitchenware and houseware you own, you should only do so if you’re prepared for the additional purchase when you arrive at your new home. If you don’t want to commit to other expenses, transporting what you already own is the more cost-effective option.

The clothes you take with you are another topic. Most people have a lot of unworn garments in their wardrobes, while others refuse to dispose of items that no longer fit them or that they haven’t worn in years. If you have clothing in your closet that fits this description, there’s no better time to get rid of it. If they can still be worn, you can make a donation, and if not, you send them to a textile recycling center. If you own pieces that are relatively similar to one another, you should keep the one you like more and leave the other one behind.

Depending on where you’re moving, you might also want a fresh start in the clothing department. Styles are different worldwide, and choosing something more similar to what the locals are wearing can improve your sense of belonging. For example, while American fashion tends to be more casual and laid back, in Europe, people like to dress up a bit more and create outfits that are a little more sophisticated. In Asia, the trend is towards looser, flowy clothes, while in Europe, despite a growing trend for oversized fashion, the silhouettes are more slim fitting.

Special items 

Everybody owns sentimental pieces that they cannot say goodbye to, no matter what. There’s a wide array of objects that can fit into this category, including jewelry, books, photographs, holiday souvenirs, and even more obscure items such as a music box, a mug or a stuffed toy that are special because someone you love bought them as gifts, or because you’ve had them around for a very long time.

The way you transport these pieces is very important, as they tend to be smaller than the rest and can therefore become damaged quite easily. At the same time, you want to choose an option that makes transport more manageable and more convenient. For example, photos can be removed from their frames and stored in an album.

The essentials 

Regardless of where you go, you must bring the essentials with you. A first aid kit containing basic medication such as aspirin, cough drops, decongestant tablets, antihistamine syrup, and a few days’ worth of any prescribed medicines you might be taking is an essential element of any well-packed luggage. It can take a while until you get in touch with a doctor and get your prescriptions refilled, so it’s better to take extra precautions before leaving. 

If you have a pet, pack some food for them so they don’t go hungry on the road or are neglected during the first few days after you arrive when you are busy unpacking and putting everything in place.

Pack smart 

Folding your clothes well and rolling the items that can be arranged in this manner will save a lot of room in your luggage. You don’t want to leave any empty space at all, so you might have to get a bit creative. For example, you can place rolled t-shirts or shorts into your shoes or boots to hold them in place better.

You should also try to make all the suitcases and backpacks of roughly similar weight, depending on their sizing. Naturally, a duffle bag will be heavier than a backpack you can take with you for a walk in the park, but too much uneven distribution can cause potential damage and will also be more difficult to carry.

Moving to a different country will leave you juggling some tough decisions regarding packing. However, with a little planning, you can get everything ready for your journey simply and efficiently.