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What to Pack When Moving Abroad

When I decided to move to Greece I had to decide which things to pack. I could only check in one bag and take one carry-on, so I had to pack as little as possible. I didn’t even know if I was going to like Greece. That’s why I wanted to be able to move easily again. I didn’t know about the term “minimalism” at the time. But I would say that the experience definitely made me understand the advantage of owning fewer things. As someone who has done it already, here are my tips for what to pack when moving abroad.

what to pack when moving abroad
Moving abroad is an opportunity to significantly reduce the number of things you own.

Think About What You Really Need

When you think about what to pack when moving abroad ask yourself which items will add value to your new life. Only bring things that you really want in your life. I got rid of anything that I didn’t actually need, such as home decor. When you have to narrow things down to two suitcases you start to look at every item differently.

What you bring depends on the kind of living arrangement you have chosen, obviously. I would advise anyone to get a furnished apartment in the beginning. If you move to an unfurnished place you have to decide whether or not to ship the rest of your stuff. This makes things more complicated. Because there’s not only the financial aspect. You also have to see if the things you want to bring fit in your new place. A furnished apartment solves that problem. You simply sell your furniture and appliances if they are still in good condition. And with the money, you can buy things that might be missing from your new place.

As far as electronics go, it’s also better to stay within certain limits. I only took my laptop, camera, and smartphone with me. Getting a local SIM card for your phone is the easiest way to stay in touch. Make sure to check if you need adapters in your new home.

Personally, I mostly packed clothes. For that, it’s important to consider the climate. I moved from a city with a cold winter to one with a pretty mild winter. That meant I didn’t have to bring warm coats.

Get Rid of Unnecessary Items

You should also use the move to get rid of clothes you don’t feel comfortable wearing or that don’t fit. The less you take with you the better. Don’t bring anything “just in case.” You don’t want an item like that to waste precious space in your suitcase. If you don’t work out there’s no need to pack your gym clothes. If you move abroad with good intentions such as working out more you can always buy workout clothes upon arrival.

Don’t ask people to store anything for you. Most of what you cannot take with you right away is not that important. Also, try to digitalize anything that serves as a memory.

CDs, DVDs, and books take up too much space if we’re honest. There’s no point in bringing CDs or DVDs as you can digitalize everything. I only packed a few favorites, and even that was not necessary. I haven’t even played those DVDs and CDs once since I moved here.

Books deserve an entire blog post on their own. But when I moved to Greece I knew it was impossible to take all my books. So I only brought three books: a book about Greece which was a gift from a friend, the book that I was currently reading, and the most recent book I had purchased. As sad as it may be, remember that you don’t want to be over the maximum weight. You don’t want to spend money on bringing more stuff. You can use that money for better things when you arrive.

And now for some practical tips on what to pack when moving abroad:

To save space stuff empty spaces with small items. Socks fit in shoes or boots. Half-used shampoo bottles or concealers take up unnecessary space. You can use that space for more useful items and purchase toiletries at your destination.

The most important things should be in your carry-on. That way, if anything happens to your checked suitcase you will get by for a few days. This includes important documents and toiletries because you don’t know what exactly will be available at local stores. Also, make sure that you take any medication that you absolutely need.

Once you realize how liberating it is to own less stuff you will keep the number of things you own low.

I hope this post helped you to figure out what to pack when moving abroad. If you have any additional tips please leave a comment.

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