Packing tips for a move abroad

Packing for a big move can be quite stressful – especially if it’s to another part of the world. However, being well prepared will help to keep you calm and ready to conquer any issues that may arise. I‘m an incredibly organized person (perhaps a little too much so at times according to my loved ones) so I have this down to a science at this stage of the game. Additionally, I’ve done it a couple of times now so I know what works and what doesn’t. When I moved to Australia in 2011, I definitely brought too much with me, not knowing what to expect (how was I to know that my heated hand warmers wouldn’t be useful?) That’s okay though – trial and error is a wonderful way to learn. I’m moving to Dublin, Ireland today (I’m currently writing this from Pearson Airport – told you I was organized!) so I thought I would give you an idea what I’ve taken with me.

Clothes

If you haven’t worn something in the last 6 months, it’s pretty safe to say you won’t wear it at all (Tip: whenever you wear something from your closet, put it back with the hanger facing the opposite direction of your other clothes…this will allow you to see what you wear and what you don’t with ease). I am constantly going through my clothes and donating what I don’t use. (Side note: If you have trouble with this, I highly recommend the documentary The Minimalists which is now streaming on Netflix. I’ve had many people tell me that after watching it, they were able to part with a lot of unnecessary items). As I previously stated, I brought far too much to Australia and I ended up wasting a lot of space in my suitcase. If you’re going somewhere hot, don’t bring your parka. If the weather will eventually cool down, you can buy a jacket when you’re over there. Of course, it depends on which country you’re going to and at what time of year. Some items are harder to find in certain places so always keep that in mind. Do some research on the climate and what to expect in that part of the world. Also consider which activities you enjoy; I’m a hiker so I always need warm, breathable apparel and comfortable shoes. Always make sure to check your baggage allowance for your flight – this will help you determine how much you can bring. Also, rolling your clothing will save space and keep them wrinkle-free.

Here’s a list of clothing items & accessories that I’m bringing with me to Ireland:

  1. 2 pairs of jeans
  2. 4 pairs of leggings (they roll up tight and I wear them almost daily)
  3. a few dresses (lightweight & wrinkle-free are key)
  4. my favourite workout/hiking apparel
  5. running shoes & hiking boots
  6. a few sweaters (the climate is cool & damp in Ireland, best to keep warm)
  7. a couple of my favourite tops
  8. my lightweight army jacket (Canada is freezing this time of year, so my parka may be too warm for certain days)
  9. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, so I brought only a few of my favourite items that can’t be easily replaced
  10. a scarf, toque and mittens (these can pack pretty tight and are essential for keeping warm in this climate)
  11. socks and intimates (you don’t need to bring too many…you can always buy more from a discount shop once you arrive – Penney’s is a great place to purchase these items in Dublin)
  12. a business casual outfit (if you are going to be working like myself, make sure to bring something to wear to interviews)

Important Documents

  1. Passport (I always say that as long as you have your passport, visa if needed & money – you will be fine. Anything else can usually be purchased at your destination!)
  2. Visa required for the country you are moving to
  3. Hostel/hotel/Airbnb information (an address is usually required at customs when you arrive)
  4. Directions on how to get from the airport to where are you staying (I always look this up beforehand so I can find the most economical way to get there – ie: the Airlink in Dublin is €6 and stops right outside my hotel)
  5. List of activities you want to do/things to see (as I said, I’m extremely organized and while I love flying by the seat of my pants, I also like to do some research beforehand)

Toiletries

  1. Makeup (I don’t wear a lot of makeup, so I’ve only brought a few of my favourite items. In some countries like Australia, makeup is quite expensive so do your research and if there’s something you can’t live without, bring it with you)
  2. Tweezers
  3. Small scissors
  4. Nail clippers/nail files
  5. Hair brush
  6. Deodorant
  7. Toothbrush, toothpaste & floss
  8. Hand cream
  9. Feminine products
  10. Travel sized shampoo/conditioner/body wash (if you’re staying at a hotel/Airbnb you may not need these items but they’re good to have for hostels/staying with friends and they don’t take up much space)
  11. Razors (again, these items can easily be purchased if you are going to a country like Ireland, however, you want to have a few of them on hand for the first couple of weeks until you’re settled)

Medicine

  1. Ibuprofen (I always keep some in my purse)
  2. Tums (always good to have a small package of these, especially for the plane)
  3. Allergy medicine
  4. Band-aids (always good to have a few in your bag, you never know when you might need one)
  5. Prescription medication
  6. Vitamins (essential when going somewhere without a lot of sun)

Electronics

  1. iPod/Headphones
  2. Computer/iPad
  3. Phone
  4. Travel adapter (I usually bring 2 just in case)
  5. Camera
  6. External hard drive (I back up all my photos once they’re downloaded to my computer)

Miscellaneous 

  1. Journal
  2. Books/eReader (since books are heavy, I brought 2 of my favourites and invested in an eReader – reading is something I can’t live without so this is a must for me)
  3. Snacks (for the plane)
  4. Some local currency
  5. Backpack (for walking around the city/going hiking)
  6. Refillable water bottle

This list is tailored to a solo traveler, however, the idea of only bringing what is truly needed applies to everyone. I know this can be difficult but believe me, it’s also incredibly freeing. So, only bring what you need and if you forget something, that’s okay – you will likely be able to find it at your destination and you can always give your clothes a wash. Enjoy the journey. Happy packing!