Suitcases for your move overseas… what to pack in them?
Normal suitcase stuff. Yeah, and the rest! You’ll be amazed at how much ends up in your suitcases.
Because this is pretty much the last chance you get to gather all your belongings together before you move overseas, it’s wise to have a packing trial run. Have this trial run before your air freight goes.
Pack the things you’ll need right away – but can live without if your luggage gets lost. Spread each person’s items over all the suitcases, so if one goes missing, they will still have something to wear.
Check your baggage allowances with the airline. For every leg of your journey… if you’re on more than one flight to your destination, you do not want to pay excess baggage fees halfway there.
Take note of the climate and culture at your destination when you pack your suitcases. Put some extra items of clothing and shoes in to your air freight.
Do not put anything precious, breakable or valuable in your luggage; that should be carried with you at all times in your hand luggage. Can you now see why you’re unlikely to get much clothing into your cases?
Try to get some coins for airport trolleys. This isn’t particularly easy to do, but some airports need coins to release each trolley. It is not fun trying to move eight suitcases through an airport without a trolley. Believe me!
So, what kinds of things should you try to squeeze into your suitcases?
- Clothes and shoes appropriate for the weather when you arrive in your new country.
- Toys, games and books for the children to have on arrival. Maybe a small surprise treat too.
- Notebooks and pens.
- Adapters – lots. Most of the things that keep an expat connected to friends and family need a constant power source or have a limited charge. Keep at least one adapter in your hand luggage. This will be your teenager’s life support system, so it’s really important!
- A few paper plates, plastic mugs and plastic cutlery.
- Snacks for the first few hours/days in your new home.
- Breakfast needs to be easy for the first few days, especially for kids who may be fussy eaters.
- Packets of soup, instant noodles and instant porridge. You may only have access to a kettle and a microwave as soon as you arrive.
- Tea, coffee and hot chocolate: don’t underestimate the comfort a familiar, hot drink can provide.
- Tin opener/bottle opener: so you can have that celebratory glass of wine. And open a tin of beans…
- First aid kit: a small selection of necessities so you don’t have to search for a pharmacy on the day you arrive because you have a thumping headache. And you just know that somebody will hurt themselves in the evening when the shops are shut.
- Contact lens cleaning solutions.
- Scissors: for opening all your boxes when they arrive. Or cutting plasters…
- Street directory/city guide. Wandering round your new home town with guides might make you feel like a tourist, but not getting lost is important. And being able to find your way home after getting lost is even more important.
- Bed linen: your own bed linen can make a huge difference to how quickly you and your children can settle in. Having at least a favourite pillow case in your luggage can be a trump card.
- Good quality sun protection if you or your children have allergies and are heading somewhere sunny.
- Any baby stuff you and your baby are partial to. For example, swim nappies have been recommended as not being available everywhere.
- Baby stuff in general – it will make life so much easier for you as you get everyone settled.
- Certain sanitary products are high on the list of many women’s requirements.
- Anything else you’ll need immediately on arrival.
As you can see, there’s a lot of stuff to try and cram into your suitcases. It’s nothing like packing for a couple of week’s holiday! Maximise your packing space by having everyone in your party use the maximum number of cases.
Acclimatising to a new culture can take some time. Your first few days in a new home can be made that little bit easier if you remember to pack some of these items.