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Whether your reasons are for business, study, wanderlust, or to be closer to family and friends, you’ve made the decision to move overseas and become a fully-fledged expat. Congrats!

Many people dream of moving abroad; to experience life as part of a new culture and have the chance to discover an exotic new land. And of the many things to consider, one of the biggest things to think about is what to pack.

Of course there will be many items readily available for you once you arrive in your new home, as you wait for your luggage to be shipped to you (this removal company ships internationally), but there are a number of things you should keep with you.

 5 Things to Keep With You When You Move Overseas

Medicine

If you use medication, you should visit your doctor before you move, stock up on prescriptions, and make sure you keep your medication with you during the move.

Some drugs might be difficult to find depending on the country you’re heading to, so we recommend doing proper research before you go, and contacting a local GP or international hospital to confirm you’ll be OK.

Some countries have strict rules on pharmaceuticals, and what you can bring in with you, so you should always consult with a professional before you move overseas, and always carry your physical prescription with you in case asked to present it at customs.

Personal Hygiene Products

Personal hygiene products are usually readily available in the country you’re moving to, though in some countries like Cuba, you may find these are hugely expensive.

If you have specific brands you like, you could stock up before you leave, or certain allergies (for instance if you require shampoo which is gluten free), that will allow you to take your time searching for alternatives once you land in your host country.

Tucked away among 100 acres of natural forest along Australia’s South East coast, and located just over 1km from the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean lies, The Bower at Broulee; sleek and romantic cabins in an unspoiled forest setting.

All Your Necessary Documentation

When you move to a foreign country, you’ll be considered an “alien” unless you decide to stay for good and become a citizen. Before that time, you should always carry documentation for ease of identification.

Your passport is a very important document that should never be left behind. Your medical certificates and visas should likewise be kept with you just in case they are needed by the authorities.

Kyza travel wallet passport holder

Business / Name Cards

One of the most exciting parts of moving to a foreign country is making new friends. And it’s a fabulous idea to have name / business cards on hand to easily swap contact details, and allow them to remember your name!

Even if you haven’t acquired a local phone number yet, you can include your name and email address, and even social media so you can connect on platforms like Facebook to keep in contact.

Local Currency

At some stage, you’ll inevitably need to change a lump sum into your new local currency (credit card exchange rates can be costly), and to save you transferring money regularly between the two countries, you should carry a little bit with you before you go.

Foreign currency brokers charge lower fees and offer better exchange rates and customer service than using your bank.

MOVING OVERSEAS? LUGGAGE WE RECOMMEND: CLICK PHOTO ↓

Olympia 33 inch Rolling Duffel

Nautica 28 inch Hardside Spinner

Samsonite Winfield HS Spinner

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.

    31 Comments

  1. A good list of things to remember! I might have an opportunity to move to Singapore in a near future, I really like the idea of bringing name cards to make contacts, good idea!

    • A move to Singapore sounds exciting! One of our favorite cities, though we were only there for a couple of days, and would love to get back.

      Especially in Singapore, they take business cards really seriously, and you’ll probably see them passed around quite often, so it’s a great idea for that region in particular.

      Hope you have a fabulous move!

  2. Perfect. As a vegetarian and a diabetic, I also recommend carrying water and some food with you. I usually carry nuts with me that serve as instant energy if I am on the road for long. I would, of course, add your gadgets like mobile phone and chargers to the list. It would keep all the necessary information that you need on fingertips, help you stay connected and can also raise alarm for any emergencies. I usually keep a copy of all my travel documents on the cloud.

    • Great tip Anu – yes a couple of food products which you know can be a great idea if you’re vegetarian, or have food allergies, and need some time to source out local products in your new town. I would caution to research the types of food products you can and can’t take into the country you’re heading to though as some countries have very strict customs.

      Technology also very important – especially now that we use it for pretty much everything! Fabulous idea backing up all of your travel documents to the cloud (I would still recommend traveling with paper copies on you just in case you need to pull them out, and a phone goes dead or something).

  3. So important to remember that some of your creature comforts may not be available in your new home- I always think about that when it comes to nomadic travellers, since you can’t exactly carry all of your favourite toiletry products around!

    • Absolutely, and I think that’s one of the hardest things, especially if you’re feeling a little home-sick, creature comforts as small as a jar of Vegemite (for Australians!) can really make a huge difference. I think that many people aren’t prepared for there to be quite as big of a culture shock – that literally everything down to the type of bread you eat will very likely change!

  4. What a handy guide for expats. It’s funny how things we take for granted like certain brands of toiletries might not be available in another country. Love the tip about using your business cards to swap information when new friends.

    • Thanks Deb! Toiletries is definitely something we take for granted – I remember standing in the grocery stores after having moved to the US, and even though you wouldn’t think there would have been a huge culture shock between America and Australia, the sheer amount of options was intimidating and so mind boggling. We do take it for granted how reliant we are on our favorite brands sometimes.

      I’ve found business cards are great just because they’re so easy. And if you’re a creative person you can have a lot of fun with designing them :D

  5. Nice little list. I am assuming a Move is different from just travelling. If you are considering a move permanent or long term, you can only take so much of anything. It would be better to do research beforehand find the equivalent items. Especially medicines and cosmetics. There is a problem of the medicines expiring if you are planning a long term ‘Move’.
    I agree with everything if it is a few months of travel.

    • Thanks Nisha, yes, by “move”, we refer to a period of time which would see you set up in a rental or a house as opposed to a hotel – could be as short as 3-6 months, or as long as permanently. But you’re right, you can only take so much with you regardless of length of your move, so it’s definitely something which requires research so you can cut down on the things you’re taking with you.

      Yes, medicines are likely to expire if you’re heading somewhere long term, but I’ve never had a problem replacing mine with local equivalents after visiting a new doctor :)

  6. Medicines for sure, sometimes it is difficult to even get a local analgesic coz the language on the labels is something you are not familiar with. I ended up asking various people to translate Indonesian when I realized I needed a cream for a bruise and could not make out what was being sold to me in a pharmacy. :-) The rest of course, as important.

    • Absolutely Ami, and it does take time to get to know those things, so it’s incredibly important to give yourself a buffer and have a little supply which will get you through until you learn how everything works.

      Hope you ended up getting the right cream!

  7. Perfect list of the most essential things to have in order before departure! Medicine would be absolute key and of course all essential documentation! Being prepared like this would avoid so much confusion and stress – acquiring documentation from abroad can be so time-consuming, definitely not worth skipping out on! :)

    • Thanks Divya, glad to hear you would recommend the same! Yes, preparation is key; you can’t take something like a move spontaneously. There are a lot of logistics to consider and it can cause quite the headache for people who skip out on their proper research.

  8. Though I don’t see myself moving overseas anytime soon, this list is super helpful for any long-term stay in a foreign country. Totally love the idea of printed out business cards to aid in the process of making friends- just might have to give that a try in my everyday life.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Lois, even if there’s not a move on the horizon anytime soon. Yes, business cards are such an easy and fun way to swap contact details. I use them in everyday life too :)

  9. I always have my passport with me when overseas. American’s take for granted that we don’t actually have to carry identification unless using credit cards, driving, flying or buying beer. In a lot of places, the police can stop and check for no reason and you can end up in major trouble by not having it with you.

    • Absolutely – it’s something which can come as quite a shock if you’re caught unaware, but that’s where proper research is so important so you know what to expect and how you’re expected to act once in a new country.

  10. These are such great tips. I really love the idea of keeping business cards on you. I actually do this in my daily life because I’m never sure when I might meet or run into someone who might want to see my blog ;)

    All of the other suggestions are necessities too – local currency, medication, etc. Best to have all of these in case of emergency or daily living!

    • Thanks Lauren :) Business cards are such an easy and fun way to swap contact details. I use them in everyday life too :)

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

  11. A basic but excellent list for people who are new at visiting other countries and getting them up to speed with the necessary documentation.

    • Thanks Jordan, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Always important to cover the basics :)

  12. Very well thought list! Most of the points made here seem so obvious yet not every traveler thinks them through. Specially carrying with a basic emergency kit with medicines that you know will help you. Nothing worse than been abroad sick and having to go medicine shopping.

    • Ignore my the second post! The page crashed and though this comment was lost. Apologies.

    • No worries! Technology can be glitchy at the worst of times!

  13. Very well thought list! Most of the points seem obvious yet not many travelers pack their essential medicines when going abroad. Nothing worse than been seek in an unknown place away from home without knowing what will be effective or harmful for you.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post James! Absolutely on the medicines – and I find that sometimes the most straightforward advice is the advice we need reminding of the most. Even as a frequent traveler, it’s very easy to become complacent and forget the basics :)

      Happy travels!

  14. Thanks for sharing all of this information.

    • You’re welcome Aaron, I’m glad it was helpful for you :)

  15. I am reading your blog and I get the right information about moving. Thanks a lot for this beauty Enjoying article with me. I appreciate it very much!

    • Glad the post was helpful for you Austin. Hope you have a great move!

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