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. I had no idea how to pack everything I owned into one backpack and one carry-on suitcase.
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. If you’re anything like me, you will get really 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 greatest blood circulation either, so to the above, 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. Must haves include travel sized lotion, chapstick, face Lotion, and moisturizing mask. The moisturizing mask isn’t a must have, but definitely a nice to have. Using it made my skin feel refreshed and less tired, ready to take on the next few busy days of getting settled in Oz.
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 good sized travel towel, a twin flat sheet, and a pillow case maybe the smartest thing you can do for your skin.
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 some 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 medicine. If you will need a refill when abroad, have your doctor write a prescription with the generic name. Having many details will make it easier for the doctor to prescribe you exactly what you need.
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 or be willing to pay the price.
CLOTHES & SHOES
Clothes and shoes fall into both categories of DOs and DONT's. Do bring layer-able clothes for the current season. Also, if you plan on working in an office environment, bring a work uniform. Like a professional outfit that is simple and comfortable. Do bring flip flops for any shared shower situation. Bring comfortable walking shoes. Remember shoes are heavy, so it's always best to wear your heaviest shoes on your flight.
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 that time, my fashion sense had changed and I also wasn’t the same size. I brought way too many cute shoes that were nothing but extra weight.
I bought about six months worth of contact lenses. It was pretty easy to get refill them while I was abroad with Specsavers.com.au. If I were to do it again, I would only bring a few months supply and refill with Specsavers.com.au. Watch out for holiday specials to get a great deal on your contact needs.
There you have it! The essential packing list dos and don'ts. Always remember it's okay if you bring less on your exciting adventure ahead. Whether is through meeting new people, popping into a local shop, you will always find what you need.
What is on your essential packing list for moving abroad?
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