You’ve done your research on your destination country, sealed a job (or at least have a solid lead) and now you’re ready to make the move! The next step is one of the more tedious steps: packing. As a whole, the packing process for long-term travel can be stressful. While some of the items that you’ll need in your host country will be available there, others may be difficult to find, or much more expensive to purchase abroad.
International Packing Checklist for Expatriates Moving Abroad
In order to minimize the stress related to your international relocation, our team has spent countless hours compiling a packing list of the most essential items that you will need for your relocation or move overseas.
Here is the ultimate list of everything that you need to pack for a long-term trip or international relocation.
For the sake of convenience, we’ve broken this list into 6 subsections:
- Important Documents
Important Documents for Your International Relocation
Personal documentation is important when traveling overseas because it is necessary to prove your identity when traveling to different countries. Make sure you have the original and a copy of all of these important documents for each family member. We suggest storing the originals and the copies separately. That way, if the originals or copies are lost or damaged, you’ll have backups ready. When flying, always keep the originals in your carry-on in case your checked bags are lost.
Forgetting any of these items can result in issues ranging from paying out of pocket for hospital visits to detainment in a foreign country
- Tax information
- Visa information
- Marriage license
- Birth certificates
- Immunization records
- Medical records
- Pet health records
- Travel insurance paperwork
- Credit Cards
- Board pass copies
- Local travel guides
Medicines: Stock up on your Prescriptions before Moving Abroad
Moving abroad is not a good time to test your health. If you are on a certain medication or used to taking over-the-counter medication, make sure you take as large a supply as possible. Finding medicine, or a doctor who can prescribe your medication while on a long trip can be more difficult than expected, and will often be more expensive than purchasing these items in your home country. You will want to have plenty of time to find a doctor in your new country that can handle your medical condition and prescribe you the medication you need.
- Iodine tablets (for water purification)
- Dramamine (motion sickness pills)
- Mosquito spray
- Allergy medicine
- Pepto Bismo
- Prescription medications
- Charcoal tablets (for overcoming food poisoning)
- Basic first aid kit
Also see: International Health Insurance
In a world where so we are so heavily reliant on technology, electronics can play a crucial role in your international relocation, especially if you’re a digital nomad. From the loss of entertainment to increased safety risks, forgetting to pack any of these electronics could cause hardships, so make sure to include each of these items on your packing list.
- Flashlight (something small is fine)
- External hard drive (for backing up files)
- Travel adapters
- Phone (make sure to purchase an international plan)
- Portable laptop (like a Macbook Air or equivalent)
- Camera (and an extra memory card)
- MP3 player
- Sim cards for Android or iPhone
- Kindle or other eReader (eBooks are smaller and lighter than paperbacks)
Clothes, What to Wear When You Get There
While packing items like socks and underwear goes without being said, other items like flip-flops may be easier to forget but are equally important for your move (depending on the climate). Your first move should be to check the weather for each season. Know what the temperature will be and plan accordingly. There is no point in packing a tank top if you’re going somewhere with cold weather all-year.
If luggage space is going to be an issue, always look for packable alternatives to bulky items. For instance, a down jacket is going to pack up much smaller than a bulky sweater. Packing cubes are another great way to save space and stay organized. Packable items are often marketed as “travel gear,” but don’t be afraid to look at camping and hiking equipment as well.
Make sure to pack each of these items for your international relocation:
- Thermal long sleeve shirt(s)
- Quick-drying T-Shirts
- Dress clothes
- Bathing suit
- Windbreaker or Rain Jacket
- Travel Towel
- Hiking shoes
- Walking shoes (running shoes are usually fine)
While many of these items will be available in your host country, some will be harder to find than others, and many of these items will be much more affordable to purchase at a large discount store like Target before leaving your home country than waiting to purchase in your host country. If you pack light, everything should fit in a standard toiletry bag.
- Contact lens solution
- Travel-size bottle of contact lens solution (for short trips)
- Shaving cream
- Sewing kit
- Nail clippers
- Lip balm
Miscellaneous: What Else You Might Need When Moving Overseas
While few items in this section are necessities, each will make your international relocation slightly easier and more enjoyable.
- Notebook (for reflecting on your international relocation)
- Glasses (in case you run out of contact lens solution)
- Swiss army knife
- Large travel backpacks (for trips lasting several days)
- Small shoulder bag (for day trips)
- Waterproof bag (for electronics)
- Duct tape
- Water bottle
- Money belt
Start Packing Now for your International Relocation
Packing for an international move can be overwhelming. Hopefully, with this travel packing list, you will be better prepared. It is always better to start early. If you don’t have what you need, you can buy it before you go. The start thinking about how you are going to get it all there!
Need a Mover? Request Moving Quotes
For extra advice and packing tips, be sure to explore these other great international packing resources:
Other Packing Guides to Explore:
- Travel Tips and Packing Hacks
- Moving Abroad Checklist
- Health Tips for Expatriates
- Travel Essentials for Women
- Study Abroad Packing List
- Winter Backpacking Packing List
Don’t get lost in the shuffle of packing- keep these 5 items you don’t want to forget when moving abroad in mind to ensure the excitement of your journey stays high. If you also need a moving abroad checklist you can find one here.
Before you go, make sure you have a suitable International Health Insurance plan. Visit InternationalInsurance.com for a complete overview of plans, coverages and costs. Also, you should read our guide to expatriate health insurance plans.