It’s never easy to figure out what to bring and what to leave behind when you decide to move to a new country. For most people, it’s about being comfortable and feeling at home when you arrive.

Here are some packing tips to help you pack the right things when you’re ready to start your journey abroad.


Make Personal Items a Priority

Since furniture and appliances don’t always fit into or work in a foreign country, some of the most important things you can pack are pictures to hang on the walls. Personal items like books, musical instruments, pictures, and toys are also important to ship because they can help your new location feel more “normal” and comfortable.

Store Most Electronics and Appliances

Since voltage varies from country to country, it’s best to buy a step-down converter when bringing appliances like blenders and food processers. Don’t bring along heat-producing appliances like toasters and hair dryers because they operate on too high a wattage to convert. It’s also best to sell your TV before you move, as they tend to run on a different system and may not work overseas.

To see if other electronics like your mobile phone, tablet, computer, etc. are compatible with a different country’s electricity voltage, frequency and shape of outlets, expats can view the Global Electric & Phone Directory website.

Bring Certain Foods with You

Some foods may be hard to find in your new home. While you can find specialty grocery stores or an online service that will deliver certain items, consider packing items that may be rare or hard to find in large quantities. For example, when moving from the US to another country, it may be helpful to keep these ingredients in mind:

  • Baking soda and powder: In Europe, baking soda is only available in small sachets.
  • Maple syrup and peanut butter: It’s often available, but only in small, expensive bottles and jam-sized jars.
  • Brown sugar: Soft brown sugar for baking is difficult to find abroad.
  • Local favorite ingredients: If there’s a food you love, and you have room, consider packing a small amount in your suitcase to hold you over until you are able to explore the stores in your new country.

Stock-up on Over-the-Counter Medicine

Bring an ample supply of essential prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine. It may be hard to find the medicine you are used to, and it will take some time to find a replacement or be able to communicate with the local pharmacist.

When you’ve finished packing, completed your move, and settled in your new country, you may want to  send money online with Western Union to show your friends and family you’re thinking of them in your new home.

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