This is a continuation of the previous post re: How to Pack for a Move Abroad
I think the mere act packing for a trip can provide great life lessons and insight to one’s self. It forces you to think: what can I live without and what can’t I live without? Ultimately, that’s the question you’re answering whenever you’re packing for a trip, no matter how long or short of a trip that it is.
1. Research your country.
You should learn some essentials about your new home as soon as possible. In the near future, I’ll write about different way you can research your new home and add a link here, but for now, I’ll briefly advise some essentials to look up and learn:
• The weather.
Is it cold or is it how? How cold or hot? Does it rain a lot? How on earth will you know which clothes to pack if you don’t know what kind of weather to expect? This should outline your intentions about what clothes to pack (and possibly purchase before your departure).
In Paris, I know that their summers are brief and their winters are often rainy—and last much longer than any “winter” I’ve experienced in sunny Florida. However, being here these past few days, I wish I had packed a pair of shorts against the advisement of my friends.
• Their culture and economy—as well as yours.
Are certain items cheap or expensive? Do you plan on having an expendable budget for buying items such as clothes, toiletries, etc.? Do you want to blend in or stand out in regards to your attire?
When I visited China, I could buy many things cheap, but in France everything is more expensive—especially since I’m mentally converted all the euro prices into dollars. I actually just returned from the Monoprix store and found my favorite nail polish for sale for 11.90 € (euros)… that’s almost SIXTEEN dollars for an ounce of polish! Essie nail polish back home is at most $8.00:
So think thoroughly about what your budget will be and what you can and cannot live without, and figure out whether purchasing items in that country will be cheap or too expensive. I need to have contact solution and my fancy shampoo, but I’m not paying $16-20 a bottle when I could’ve stock up and brought it with me for less than half that price.
2. Write down what you need (and want) to pack.
What things MUST you take with you? And what things can you live without or wait to buy there?
Plan ahead and write it down—especially if you’re planning to purchase and pack a supply of something that you don’t want to buy over at your destination.
As a mentioned before, I stocked up on toiletries for the year (contact solution, tampons, shampoo, etc.) I had a friend who lived and worked in Switzerland for a year, and she hated having to spend what little extra income she had on essentials rather than being able to save it for something like going to dinner with friends. I actually just looked up how much it cost for me to purchase my shampoo here in France. The cheapest price was on Amazon.fr it’s cost was 60% of my weekly income. Granted, I’m not making a lot of money at the moment, but regardless I can’t spend 60% of my week’s income on shampoo alone, even if I do insist on that particular kind. So for now, I’m glad that I already brought some here.
Writing it down will also make the actual act of packing much less overwhelming. Opening an empty suitcase and thinking “now what?” always leave my mind blank. If that’s something you suffer from as well, then you’ll be glad to have that list.
Packing can be something done in an hour or two– or in my case a week or two. It depends on your personality, but regardless, it’s an essential step in traveling, but it’s significance is heightened when you’re moving to a place rather than just visiting.
Every step taken to a big move abroad is overwhelming. During my final hours back at home before my flight, I had to deal with many errands to complete and qualms to relieve; the last thing I wanted to do was pack, let alone figure out what to pack. So if you’re prepping for move abroad, whether it’s to study, work, etc. the advice from many that I’ve received is to take some time to plan what you can regulate and control– because plenty will be happening that you can’t!
Remember that the space in your suitcase is precious, and shipping things from back home or back to home is expensive. So unless you plan to have many friends and family members visiting regularly to some space to spare in their luggage, you’ve only got one shot at packing right.
xx – J