As you all know, I moved to Australia in 2012 on the work & holiday visa. The visa allows you to move to Australia for one year, and packing for a year can be difficult.
It was clear, after the first few months down under, I packed a lot of things I didn’t need or use. Here is the moving abroad packing list essential dos and don’ts for a year abroad.
WARM CLOTHES (Carry-On)
If you’re on any long-haul flight that flies after dark, it is likely to be cold. Be sure to wear pants and a long sleeve shirt. I also recommend packing a few other things like a beanie, sweatshirt, and wool socks. I don’t have the best blood circulation either, so I bundled up in a warm comfy coat.
The air we breathe on planes is a combination of fresh air and recycled cabin air. When you’re cruising at an altitude between 35k and 42k the air can get super dry. For the flight keep travel sized lotion, chapstick, face lotion, and a moisturizing mask in your handbag. The moisturizing mask isn’t a must-have, but a nice to have.
Laptops, tablets, phones, and e-readers and their chargers. Plus keep a portable charger on hand. Having fully charged tech can help you get to where you need to go on your first day in a new country.
ADAPTORS / CONVERTERS
Whether you are traveling or living in a new country, you may find yourself in a hostel or a cheap hotel. Bedding and towels may not be as clean as you want. Keeping a bath-sized travel towel, a twin flat sheet, and a pillow case maybe the smartest thing you can do for your health.
A car hit a friend while riding his bike. I had another friend who became sick with a stomach bug. I once got a terrible sinus infection. Three times travel insurance came to the rescue. Be prepared for the unexpected and get travel insurance.
COPIES OF IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Passports and Birth certificates are the only validity of your identity. Make sure you have them certified in the US and keep them safe when overseas.
PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE & PROBIOTICS
When you go to any new country, it may take some time for your stomach to settle to the food. I highly recommend bringing some probiotics so you can get your gut health on the right track.
Also, be aware of any prescription medicine you may need on the road. Australia’s rule is that you are only allowed to bring four weeks supply of medication. To get a refill while abroad, have your doctor prescribe your meds using the generic name.
Makeup can be expensive. Even a simple mascara can cost upwards of $20. If you need makeup in your every day, I would suggest stocking up on the most expensive products you use.
CLOTHES & SHOES
Clothes and shoes fall into both categories of DOs and DONT's. Do bring layer-able clothes for the current season. Also, pack appropriate work clothes if you are going to work in a professional setting. Flip flops are critical for a shared shower situation. Comfortable walking shoes are mandatory. Lastly, wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane.
ALL YOUR CLOTHES / ALL YOUR SHOES
I made the terrible mistake of taking everything I owned with me. Well, nearly everything. Many dresses and skirts didn’t get used until later in the summer. By summertime, my fashion sense had changed, and I wasn’t the same size.
I stuffed tampons and pads in every crevice of my luggage. It was a total waste. In Australia, they have plenty of options for feminine hygiene. Now that I’ve grown eco-conscious I’ve opted for the Lena Menstrual Cup. It’s small and compact making it perfect for travel.
Note: It does take time to get used to the change, but I no longer worry about having any accidents. God Send!
You can easily find razors in Oz. But if you're looking for a razor that's better for the environment, try a steel razor.
Do not bring big bottles such as shampoos, conditioners, lotion, hair products face wash, sunscreen, etc. Huge bottles are unnecessary. You will find something comparable at the local grocery store. Travel Sized products should suffice for your first week of living abroad.
There you have it! The essential packing list dos and don'ts. I always opt to bring less on your move abroad. A store will always be there!
What is on your essential packing list for moving abroad?
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