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Ultimate Packing List for Moving Abroad

ultimate packing list for moving abroad
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3.2 percent of people in the world lived abroad as of 2013, mostly in 10 countries, including the US, Russia, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.

If you’re moving abroad for work, congratulations on your new job. Awaiting you is the amazing life of an expatriate. But before you leave, you’ve got to tie up some loose ends.

The next thing you need to do is pack up. It’s one of the most tedious tasks, trust us. While some items that you’ll need abroad can be found there, others can be hard to find or really expensive to buy.

To ease the stress associated with moving abroad, we’ve put together this list of essential items you’ll need for your move abroad. Here’s the ultimate packing to move checklist that’ll make your overseas relocation that much easier.

Important Documents

The following documents are crucial as you’ll either need them to travel, get help or stay safe. Be sure to pack all your travel documents in a carry-on in case you need them while traveling or your luggage gets lost at the airport.

  • Passport and copy
  • Travel insurance and copy
  • Vaccination booklet
  • Driver’s license and copy
  • Credit card and local currency
  • Airplane tickets, travel documents, etc.
  • List of friends and local contacts
  • Prescriptions, including eye prescription

Prescription Medicines

Moving overseas isn’t a great time to have health checks. If you’re on a particular medication, or you’re used to taking non-prescription medication, make sure to stock up on as much medication as possible.

Finding a doctor to prescribe your medication or finding the medication itself can often be harder than imagined, and might be costlier than buying these things in your home country.

You’ll want ample time to get a doctor abroad that can treat you and prescribe the necessary medication. Here some prescription medicines and items to pack:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Mosquito spray
  • Pepto-Bismol (for treating diarrhea and upset stomach while traveling)
  • Allergy medicine
  • Band-Aids
  • Charcoal tablets for treating food poisoning
  • Iodine tablets for purifying water
  • Dramamine (motion sickness medication)


In this era of heavy dependence on technology, electronics might play a vital role when moving abroad. From heightened safety risks to loss of entertainment, forgetting to carry any of the following electronics could be costly, so be sure to include all of these things in your moving abroad checklist.

  • Flashlight
  • Travel adapters
  • Camera
  • Mp3 player
  • Headphones
  • Laptop
  • Cell phone (be sure to buy an international plan)
  • External hard drive (backup of files)
  • USB drive (backup of files)


Don’t carry too many clothes. Only bring clothes you know you’ll actually wear.

  • 15 pairs of underwear
  • 3 normal bras and 4 sports bras
  • 8 pairs of shorts socks and 4 pairs of long socks
  • 4 pairs of shorts
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of hiking pants
  • 1 pair of capris
  • 4 pairs of workout pants
  • 4 warm sweaters
  • 4 long sleeve shirts
  • 5 shirts
  • 8 tank tops
  • 2 nice blouses or shirts
  • 2 pajamas
  • 2 dresses and 2 skirts
  • 2 bathing suits
  • 2 pairs of tights
  • 1 pair of sweatpants
  • 2 scarves
  • 2 headbands
  • 1 toque
  • 1 pair of gloves

You can always pack your clothes in vacuum sealed bags. They’re available in a variety of sizes and are very easy to use. Just load as many clothing items into your bag, connect it to a vacuum and voila you’ve got a vacuum sealed bag filled with clothes!


Packing footwear is never easy. They’re cumbersome, heavy and take up acres of space. You can pack only one pair per occasion and maybe two for some occasions.

  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 pair of flats
  • 1 pair of heels
  • 1 pair of hiking boots
  • 1 pair of snow boots
  • 2 pairs of fall, winter, or spring boots
  • 2 pairs of running shoes


While many of the items below will be found in your new country, some might be more difficult to find than others. Many of these things will be far more affordable to buy in your home country than in your new country.

  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume
  • Contact lens solution and a travel-size bottle of the same (for short trips)
  • Contacts
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shaving cream
  • Razors
  • Tweezers
  • Sewing kit
  • Floss
  • Makeup essentials
  • Lip balm
  • Nail clippers
  • Jewelry and earrings
  • A small tube of lotion or moisturizing cream
  • Small shampoo and conditioner
  • Hairbrush

Miscellaneous Items in Your Packing to Move Checklist

While some of the following items are essential, each can make your move abroad easier and more exciting.

  • Duct tape
  • Earplugs
  • Waterproof bag (for carrying electronics)
  • Swiss army knife–while it’s not very likely that you’ll be able to bring much with you in the way of tools (especially power tools such as your favorite, handy drill), you can still benefit by having a nice multi-tool knife.
  • Heirlooms
  • Small notebook (for writing about your experience abroad)–you can also keep vital phone numbers of the local embassy and host or point of contact in your new country in this notebook. Remember, a cell phone can fail at any time.
  • Book
  • Headlamp
  • Aeropress and coffee mug
  • Quick-dry towel and face cloth
  • Glasses (in case your contact lens solution runs out)
  • Translator
  • Big travel backpacks (if your trip lasts several days)
  • Small shoulder bags (ideal for day trips)
  • Eyeshade
  • Small sleeping bag (for visits with friends and trips to explore your host country)
  • Small parasol (if you’re sensitive to sunshine)
  • Packing cubes (these save plenty of space and perfectly compartmentalize your packed stuff)
  • A reusable water bottle that’s free of BPA–carry an empty bottle and then refill it in the airport while you wait to board.

Pack Smart before Moving Overseas

The secret to packing up successfully is being strategic. Remember, you’ve got limited space so you must maximize it. Fill empty shoes with socks, necklaces, and scarves! Most importantly, make sure to pack smart.

This means you pack lightly. You just need to bring a quarter of your entire wardrobe. If you’ve not worn an outfit in the past four months, don’t pack it because you’ll never wear it.

Your packing to move checklist is your opportunity to reinvent, reduce and minimize your wardrobe. Happy packing!

For anyone who’s moving abroad for quite a while, we hope that this moving packing checklist can help you pack smart as well.

If you’re moving abroad shortly, be sure to check out our latest posts for more interesting, revealing, and useful tips.

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