don't forgetYou'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 can be stressful to say the least. While some of the items that you will 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

In order to minimize the stress related to your international relocation, our team has spent countless hours compiling a list of the 56 most essential items that you will need for your relocation. Here is the ultimate list of everything that you need to pack for an international relocation.

For the sake of convenience, we've broken this list into 6 subsections:

  • Important Documents
  • Medicine
  • Electronics
  • Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Miscellaneous

Important Documents for you International Relocation

Make sure you have the original and a copy of all of these important documents for each family member. 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
  • Passports
  • Immunization records
  • Medical records
  • Pet health records
  • Travel insurance paperwork

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 of a supply as possible. Finding medicine, or a doctor who can prescribe your medication can often be more difficult than expected, and will often times 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.

  • Ibuprofen
  • Iodine tablets (for water purification)
  • Dramamine (motion sickness pills)
  • Mosquito spray
  • Allergy medicine
  • Pepto Bismo
  • Prescription medications
  • Band-Aids
  • Charcoal tablets (for overcoming food poisoning)

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. From 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 in your packing list.

  • Flashlight
  • External hard drive (for backing up files)
  • Travel adapters
  • Phone (make sure to purchase an international plan)
  • Laptop
  • Camera
  • Headphones
  • MP3 player

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 also important for your move. Your first move should be to check the weather for each season. What are the temperature and plan accordingly.Make sure to pack each of these items for your international relocation:

  • Thermal shirt(s)
  • Dress clothes
  • Bathing suit
  • Windbreaker
  • Towel
  • Hiking boots
  • Flip-flops
  • Sunglasses


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.

  • Contacts
  • Contact lens solution
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Travel-size bottle of contact lens solution (for short trips)
  • Razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Floss
  • Tweezers
  • Sewing kit

Miscellaneous: What Else You Might Need in a Foreign Country

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)
  • Heirlooms
  • Translator
  • Swiss army knife
  • Large travel backpacks (for trips lasting several days)
  • Small shoulder bag (for day trips)
  • Waterproof bag (for electronics)
  • Earplugs
  • Duct tape

Start Packing Now for your International Relocation

Packing for an international move can be overwhelming. Hopefully, with this 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!

For extra advice, be sure to explore these other great international packing resources:

Other Packing Guides to Explore:

We would love to hear from you! Was this guide helpful? If not, how can we make it better? Feel free to share any suggestions with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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.

International Insurance Plans

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