Moving Checklist December 30, 2019

What to Pack When Moving Abroad – the Packing List for Expats

Michael Vaughan

Moving through the Bay Area, Michael works as a freelance writer in the moving and transportation industry.

Your relocation date is getting closer, yet again, you still don’t know what to pack when moving abroad. If you’ve moved only within the country borders, do know that relocating abroad is more complex and requires more careful planning than even a long-distance relocation. You are getting ready to leave everything behind and go to another part of the world. But how do you prepare for such a significant step in your life?

Various questions are running through your head, such as How should I pack for an international move? What do you need when relocating abroad? How do I move my belongings to another country? and so on. Luckily, we are here to answer all these questions and help you decide what to bring to make the packing process a breeze. Let’s begin.

Primary Items That Should Be on Your Packing List for an International Move

Packing can be somewhat chaotic. You are supposed to gather all the necessary boxes and moving supplies, figure out the easiest way to wrap all your stuff, cancel your cable, and so on. During such a hectic period, it’s easy to forget something, and that’s usually something essential, which can make the entire process even more stressful.

To avoid any additional stress and pressure, you might want to consider hiring professionals to provide you with packing services. Another essential thing you should do is make a list of the most important items and put them in your suitcase them first. Among others, that list should include the following things.

Double-Check Whether All Your Documents Are There

You can’t even get started with your overseas move without all the necessary travel documents, let alone actually move to your new home. Thus, before you move on to clothes, shoes, and other stuff, double-check your documents, such as:

  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Visas
  • Diploma
  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Medical records and health insurance documents
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Make Sure You Pack Some Essential Medicines

Speaking of medical records, you should also bring some medicines, just in case. Naturally, you wouldn’t want to need any medicine during your international relocation or right upon arrival to your new home. Nonetheless, you need to be prepared even for the worst-case scenario, so do pack some medicines that might come in handy in case you catch a cold or have a headache. If you take some medication regularly, bring at least a two months’ supply in case you can’t find those particular drugs in the new country.

Bring Only Basic Toiletries

We understand that you have some preferred cosmetic products, and you want to take a large supply of those to your new country in case you can’t find them there. However, that’s not a good idea. These products take a lot of space, space you’ll need for more essential items. Plus, most of the toiletries are temperature-sensitive, so they are likely to be ruined during your travel.

Feel Free to Reduce the Number of Things

You are about to travel to a whole other part of the world. Even when you travel a short distance, it’s easier to get the job done with fewer items to take care of, let alone when you’re organizing an international move. Let’s see how you can arrange your stuff to make the entire process less complicated.

packing clothes for the trip
Bring only essentials to make the packing process as simple as possible

Bring Only the Things That You Can’t Do Without or the Items You Can’t Replace

Only the stuff that is essential or those that have special meaning for you should find a place in your suitcases when relocating overseas. In addition to some items you need on a daily basis for personal hygiene, these also includefamily heirlooms or any other thing that has sentimental value.

Bring Enough Clothes for a First Month or Two

When it comes to clothes and shoes, you should bring enough for the first couple of weeks or months. Once you settle in and explore the area, you’ll be able to buy everything you need there, too. Why would you bring too many clothing items to another faraway destination when you can buy everything you want there? You could probably find even better brands and choose your favorites there.

Remember This – Decluttering Will Save You Precious Time

When relocating overseas, the golden rule is to leave everything you haven’t used in over a year. Yes, you can ask for storage service and leave some of your stuff there, but that doesn’t mean that you should bring everything you own to the new home. Not only will your international move be more expensive the more items you have, but it will also take you more time to organize the relocation. So, keep it simple and use that precious time to be with your friends and family instead of dealing with your stuff.

How to Decide What to Pack when Moving Abroad

If you’re having trouble deciding what to bring to your new home, here are some things to consider to help you make up your mind:

  • How long are you going to stay in your future home?
  • What is the weather like there?
  • Are you relocating to a smaller home?
  • How are you going to ship your stuff?

The matter of shipping can play a crucial role here as there might be some restrictions depending on whether you choose international moving by air or international moving by sea. There also might be some restrictions posed by your chosen country. Don’t forget to take these into consideration, too.

confused lady deciding what to do
Make a detailed plan before you get down to packing and stick to it


When you’re getting ready to relocate abroad, you have a long list of things to take care of, so do what you can to make at least packing as simple as possible. Focus on essential items such as your travel documents, and don’t bother with anything you can replace when you get to the new address. You should be able to enjoy your travel to the future house, so don’t let preparation spoil the entire experience.

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