Expat Packing Checklist – Part Two

british_passportIn Part One of our Expat Packing Checklist we established that having to spend hours sifting through your life is an unfortunate by-product of a move overseas.

We also explored the ‘Love it/Use it’ rule and the options when it comes to storage. In part two we’ll be looking at international movers, inventories and several other things you need to take into account when packing up to ship-off!

Be weather-wise

When you think of packing to move abroad it’s usually working out what to do with the bigger items which causes stress. You might not think your clothes will be as much hassle to transport as your fridge, but they can take up a surprisingly large amount of room – and some of the clothes you’re taking with you might not be needed at all.

Being able to enjoy a different climate is often a big motivating factor behind moving overseas, but even if that isn’t something you’ve considered, you still need to be aware of the typical temperature and weather conditions you’re moving to. You may get there and realise that packing all those jumpers and coats was a complete mistake, or else wish that you’d substituted your summer dresses for fluffy socks when you had the chance. Do a bit of research and trim your wardrobe to suit your new environment, and if you find that you’re missing something when you get there, treat yourself as a reward for all the moving stress!

Shop Around

If you intend to use an international moving company to transport your possessions overseas, don’t just pick the first one you come across in the phonebook.

Where possible it’s always better to use a service that’s been personally recommended by a friend or family member, but failing that use an accredited company. And if you check out reviews for them on sites like Trustpilot and Review Centre it will make you feel more comfortable about trusting them with your things!

Once you have picked a company, present them with a full inventory of every item they will be moving (for more information about inventories see next point) and written instructions of where they will be moving it to. It’s also really important to warn them in writing of any potential issues/restrictions/difficulties they might face (flights of stairs, narrow roads etc). In return make sure they give you a full cost breakdown so you know exactly what services you’ll be getting for your money as well as a time frame for when you can expect your things. Some companies will allow you to add in a clause so that if they are late on delivery they have to pay compensation. Depending on the value of your items/your emotional attachment to them, you may also wish to ensure them for transport.

The Never Ending List…

Doing a thorough inventory of all your things will take a considerable amount of time and effort, but it’s incredibly useful.

Get a clean notebook and go around each room in the house, listing every item and which room it belongs in. Tick off each item as you pack it.

As well as listing each item you should make a note of its condition (for particularly valuable items you may also wish to take a photograph) and state which box you’ve packed it in.

By numbering your boxes and having a record of which boxes everything ended up in you’ll make the job of unpacking much easier.

You could even rank the boxes and their content from most to least important so you know which ones to unpack first.

Essential Items

As someone will need to be in your new nation/home in order to receive the shipment of your belongings, odds are you’ll beat your stuff overseas.

Consequently, it will make your first few days in your new home much easier (and less daunting) if you have some essential items with you.

Pack the things you couldn’t go a day without separately to your other possessions and fly them out with you when you leave.

This is particularly important if you have children, as having a piece of home or favourite toy with them can be really reassuring during a turbulent time like emigrating.


Have you got some top expat packing tips to share? Get in touch on Facebook and Twitter, or have your say in the Expat Hub forum!

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