The Only Packing List You Need Before Moving Abroad!
You’ve got your ticket, you’ve got your visa, and now all you have to do is pack before you move abroad! Womp! Packing is probably one of the top five most stressful parts of the moving abroad process because you just don’t know what you need in your new country! It was for me.
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.
Moving Abroad Packing Checklist for the Working Holiday Visa
Let’s break down exactly what you need into different categories:
Once I take you through the necessities, I’ll also share with you my packing Dos and Don’ts!
COPIES OF IMPORTANT PERSONAL DOCUMENTS
Whether you’re traveling or moving abroad, you’re going to want to have official copies of key documents because a) you’ll likely need to prove your identity at some point and b) you never want to get stranded without it! Especially if you ever lost your everyday forms of ID - Drivers license and passports.
Not only will having copies of important documents save you money, but it can potentially prevent you from getting detained!
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.
Other documents you may need
Doctor certified prescriptions
All things travel are key here!
Tickets & Itinerary - Boarding passes
Local Travel Guides
Travel Insurance is key to protect you from the unexpected and i’ll tell you a story about my friend. When my friend landed, he got an awful stomach bug where he thought he was dying. A few months later, as he was riding his bike to work he got hit by a car and spent three months rehabilitating. After he was back on the road, luck would strike him a third time with a TERRIBLE sinus infection. Without travel insurance he would have been in debt, but luckily travel insurance saved him from a lot of debt!
PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE & PROBIOTICS
When you go to any new country, it may take some time for your stomach to settle to the food (I mean not only did my friend get gastritis, but it took my tummy about six months to settle). 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.
I would also bring travel sized of the following until you make your way to the chemist:
Because you would never want to go without, try brining a months supply of the following
Magnesium (to help with sleep)
Of course you’re taking electronics with you! It’s not 1990, even in the 90s Zach morris was cruising with his Jordan’s sized cellular phones. Here’s what I recommend taking to Australia
Phone + Charger
Laptop + Charger
Tablet + Charger
External Hard Drive
Camera (not necessary if you have a good phone camera)
Adaptors & ConvertersAdapters are vital to getting by in a new country. Don't forget to understand the country's voltage requirements. Australia’s voltage is 220-240, where the US voltage is 120. My hair straightener lasted no more than five minutes before the fuse blew. Try a voltage converters for US appliances while overseas.
Before you start packing everything you own into your suitcases and backpacks, make sure to do the proper weather research before you go! Also consider the types of activities you want to do - maybe your amazing Jimmy Choos will get cut so you can bring your hiking boots so you can make it to the top of the Blue Mountains!
Here are the must haves for your trip
T-shirts (tanks, long sleeves, and regular T’s)
Windbreaker (omg I wish I had one when we first moved)
Bras and Undies
Scarf and Beanie
Great quality socks! (ankle socks)
Linens (flat sheet and pillow)
I’m going to say this loud and clear - do not bring any large sized toiletries unless you absolutely need them! Once you arrive, be sure to go to the store and get normal sizes. Until then, you will need the travel sizes of the following
Toothpaste (don’t forget your toothbrush)
Contacts and Contact Lens solution
Shampoo & Conditioner
Whether it’s credit cards or hard cash, you’re going to need to make sure you have some on you. Once you land, you’ll be dying for a burger, or a beer! Make sure all of your credit cards are safe to use abroad and that you have at least a few hundred dollars on you for emergencies.
Moving Overseas Packing List - Dos
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.
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-size travel towel, a twin flat sheet, and a pillow case maybe the smartest thing you can do for your health.
Makeup can be expensive. Even a simple mascara can cost upwards of $20. If you need makeup in your everyday, I would suggest stocking up on the most expensive products you use.
CLOTHES & SHOES
Clothes and shoes fall into both categories of DOs and DON'Ts. 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.
Things to Not Take When Moving Abroad
DON’T TAKE 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 Mentral Cups. 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 razors.
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.
LIMIT THE CONTACT LENSES
If I were to do it again, I would only bring a few months supply of contact lenses and refill with Specsavers.com.au. Watch out for holiday specials to get a great deal on your contact needs.
It’s time to pack your bags for your working holiday visa year 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?