Packing for a move abroad is slightly different than packing for a holiday. The things that you take in your hand luggage may have to last you six weeks or more while you wait for your belongings to be shipped from your home country. While you may be able to buy many items once you arrive in your host country there are some things that you just will not be able to find and it is therefore crucial that you plan carefully for what you will need to take with you.
Here’s our list of vital items you should take in your hand luggage when moving overseas.
Contact an international hospital in the country to which you plan on relocating in order to ascertain if your prescription medications are available and the relative ease with which you will be able to access them. If your medication is not available at all in the host country you will need to visit your doctor and secure enough supplies to last until you next intended visit home. If you do need to do this then you should obtain a prescription and/or a letter explaining your situation in case authorities question the amount of drugs you are bringing into the country.
Always check that your prescription and over-the-counter medications are legal in your host country as many countries, such as Dubai, have strict regulations regarding the pharmaceuticals that are permitted.
2. Personal hygiene products:
Take a select amount of your usual cosmetics and toiletries with you when you first move abroad as they may not be available in your host country. Pack sufficient amounts of your deodorant, feminine hygiene products, facial washes, etc. to get you through the first few weeks while you settle in. Eventually you may have to cope without regular access to these products but it’s best to adjust gradually.
3. Paperwork and important documentation:
You will struggle to get anywhere without your passport but don’t overlook some of the other forms of ID you may need during your first few weeks in a new country. Driving licenses, birth certificates, insurance documentation, visas, medical certificates for your children and pets etc should be carried in your hand luggage and kept in a safe place at all times.
If you are moving with your family you should also take a copy of your children’s education records and school reports where available.
4. Local currency:
In the event that you experience difficulties accessing you bank account from your host country it is advisable that you take local currency and travelers’ checks with you so that you can have instant access to money if you need it. Try and take enough currency and travelers checks to support you and your family for at least a month so that if things go seriously wrong you have some cash at hand.
5. Name cards or business cards:
Every expat aims to make new friends in their host location as quickly as possible. During your first few weeks abroad you will meet a lot of people in the most unexpected places and having a name card to hand gives you a great chance to invite them to stay in contact. You may not have a local phone number yet but simply providing your name and email address gives the people you meet an opportunity to keep in contact and invite you to any suitable events.
6. Photographs and treasured possessions:
Take a small number of photographs with you to bridge the gap between arriving in your new country of residence and any shipped property arriving. In the first few weeks you may experience some homesickness and it is often quite therapeutic to look at photographs of your loved ones. Taking one or two of your favorite possessions will also help any temporary accommodation feel more like home.
7. Contact numbers and email addresses:
Take a list of emergency contact numbers and addresses and keep it hand during your first few weeks. In the unexpected event that something goes wrong you will need to be able to get access to help and assistance as quickly as you can. Useful numbers include your health and travel insurance provider, doctors at home, travel providers, next of kin and banking provider.
8. A language phrase book:
If you are relocating to a country that uses a different language from your native tongue then it is always useful to carry a very basic phrase book or set of queue cards. These will help you to communicate at a high level with the locals and may help you to get out of a few tricky situations.
9. Power cables for your phone and laptop:
If you plan on taking your phone and laptop with you when you move overseas make sure you take a power cord and adapter so that you can use them immediately when you arrive. There’s no point in lugging them across the world only to find that you have no means of charging the battery when you get there.
Have we missed anything? Do you have experience of moving abroad? What’s the one item that you just couldn’t live without? Leave a comment and let us know.