What to pack when moving abroad?

Is your luggage already overflowing before you’ve even got around to packing the important stuff? It’s that familiar situation you find yourself in before a holiday or business trip. All those little things add up – the only way to keep your packing under control is to make a travel check list.

The important things obviously need to take priority, and only when these items are packed can you fill up any remaining space with the more luxurious non-essential items. If paper and a pencil aren’t your thing there’s a whole list of apps that can help you achieve your packing goals.

But the question is, what is important and what is surplus to requirements?


Pack with your new country in mind and the season you’ll arrive in. Be sure to check the dress-code of your new job, if you have one lined up, and if not. make sure you have at least one interview outfit. Pack those outfits you wear the most, and the one’s you feel most comfortable in. Remember, once you’re getting a regular salary, you’ll be able to add to your wardrobe and prepare for a change in season.


The obvious items include: a mobile phone, computer, tablet and e-reader. Don’t forget to include all the necessary chargers and cables, and adapters if required. You’ll probably find yourself using your phone quite often when you first arrive, in order to orientate yourself and translate things, so packing a power-bank will certainly come in handy. An external hard drive of your favourite films, shows and music will be a helpful addition, especially while waiting for an internet connection to be set up in your new place. Headphones are useful, not only for music and movies, but also for a Skype call with family or friends, or concentrating on work in a cafe. Finally, if you’re a keen photographer, don’t forget to pack your camera, memory cards and the necessary chargers and accessories.


Be sure to pack your important documents, such as your ID card, passport, birth certificate and any insurance information, and make copies of them all. Having photos of important documents on your phone is always handy. It’s likely that you’ll have some matters to deal with remotely (student loan, etc), so having the necessary documents with you will make life much easier.

Also, remember (in paper or electronic form) a directory of important contacts, visa and travel documents, backed up phone contacts, and some extra passport photos.


Double check with your bank what their policies are for using your card and bank account abroad. Will you be charged? Will they block your card? It’s a good idea to bring bank cards and cash for your arrival in your new country. Converting money at the airport can be pricey and until you’re settled in, it’ll take some time to understand the new country’s payment practices.


If you have any long-term or on-going health issues, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before your departure. Be sure, to bring any medicines that you take on a regular or long-term basis, and pack enough to last you until you have signed up with a new doctor. A small first aid kit of essentials (plasters, painkillers, antiseptic wipes) might also be helpful for those unforeseen accidents.


Remember to pack your essential toiletries and cosmetics. You’ll most likely be able to buy most of these in your new place, so packing large containers or non-essential items is probably not necessary.

Something sentimental

While it’s important to pack all of the essential items, having at least one or two sentimental things   with you can be just as valuable. At some point you’ll no doubt feel a little home sick, and having something that reminds you of home, family or friends can lift your spirits. It could be a favourite coffee cup, ornament or book that never get’s old.

If you’re not sure about some items, whether to bring them or leave them behind, you can always pack them ready in a box and have a family member send them later. Each country has its differences, some things you’ll be able to easily buy, other things might be harder fo find – bear this in mind when creating your travel list and when packing those final items.
Míša Benešovská

I’m a freelance journalist and copywriter, mainly covering IT industry. I’ve been fascinated by it for nearly a quarter of a century (or since I dismantled my first computer). I worked for Seznam.cz, Unicorn Systems or Mafra publisher. In my spare time, I love game consoles and keep perfecting a recipe for the best pumpkin risotto in the world.


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