essentials for moving house abroad

Essentials For Moving House Abroad


Moving house abroad is such an exciting endeavour for many people, but how do you prepare for such a life event? What essentials should you pack? How do you move your household items to another country? Various questions are bound to run through your head, but the trick is to pre-plan, that is, curtailing the uncertainty by trimming the whole process down into a series of easy-to-handle, scheduled events.

The process, as anyone who’s moved internationally would tell you, is overwhelming and quite challenging. International moving is more complicated than the typical packing process. Besides the fear of uncertainties, new opportunities, making new friends, and more, you remain emotionally tasked to ensure the safety of your belongings during the long trip. This is worsened by the need to prioritize possessions, deciding what to carry overseas, and how to ship them to your new destination.

Meanwhile, to help you decide what to take, what to discard, and what to leave, here are a few pointers on how to prepare for your international move.

Important things to Remember when Preparing for International Moving

While you can’t only carry the clothes on your back and a suitcase, it isn’t always feasible to carry everything you own. As such, you should consider the practicality of your possessions in the new country, the cost-effectiveness of shipping them, the convenience, and whether they are necessary.

When packing your household items to relocate abroad, there are several things to consider. It is important to factor in your actual needs, your lifestyle, the climate, and the importation regulations of the new country.

Things to keep in mind before moving your possessions across borders

The duration of stay

Are you moving temporarily or permanently? If you are moving for a temporary job or studies, then you should take only a few personal items and the things you require to get along. The rest can be left at home, with friends, or in a storage facility. If, however, you are moving permanently, then the list of things you’ll carry will look a lot different.

The kind of home you’ll be living in

If you will be living in a smaller space than you are currently, then carry practical belongings and your sentimental items since it won’t accommodate everything. If the house is fully furnished, you won’t need all your furniture and appliances. Likewise, you won’t need your gardening equipment if the flat has no outdoor space.

What will help you feel safe

While you adjust to living abroad, a few mementos of home can help you deal with the loneliness and make you feel connected to your roots. So, don’t shy from carrying a few heirlooms and keepsakes that make you feel at home.

The climate of the new country

This will influence how you dress. Research the typical climate of the country for the period when you’ll be staying, and then carefully consider the clothing that you’ll move with.

Import regulations

Countries have specific regulations that dictate what you can carry across borders. Talk to your mover about the import regulations of that country especially if you’ll be bringing pets, plants, and drones to your new home.

Item value and fragility

If something is expensive and absolutely essential to your stay, consider carrying it along. If it cannot survive the journey to reach its new destination while still intact, then weigh its utility against the risks of getting it there and back.

Shipping costs

Before deciding to ship your furniture or other household items, compare the shipping costs with the cost of acquiring them in the new country. If buying them in your new home is cheaper, then you should consider auctioning or putting them in storage.


Some items may be difficult or impossible to find in the new country. Decide whether  or not your luxurious possessions will serve you in your new home.

With these factors in place, you can now begin creating your international packing list.

Essential Items that Should Be in Your International Packing List

Before listing the kind of household items that should make it to your packing list, it is important to do a little research. Typically, the first thing that comes to mind when planning to move abroad is researching your new destination for various factors such as proximity to your new workplace, commute services, available schools, safety and security of the region, and equally important, your housing options.

Often, even if you are looking for a fresh start in a new country, you may not be able to buy a lot of new stuff to furnish your home at once, even if you sold everything. Consequently, if you decide to keep and move all your old items, they may not fit your new house, or the fragile ones might not survive the journey.

To decide on what to relocate and what to leave behind, it comes highly recommended that you determine the availability of similar items in the city or neighbourhood you are moving into. If they are available, consider their cost and quality.

As with many aspects of moving, the things to carry are not universal. Most of the decisions you make are subjective and based on several interconnected factors.

That said, these are some of the things you should consider moving across borders:

Clothes and Shoes

Carrying all your clothes is not always necessary. Route through your wardrobe to find only the clothes and shoes that are suitable for your new country.

To avoid getting overwhelmed by this choice, pack only the clothes and shoes you will need for the first few months in your new country. After settling into your new home, you can then go about shopping for new clothing and footwear.


Documents are mandatory everywhere, which is why you must pack your birth certificate, marriage certificates, school documents, passports, along with any other type of legal paperwork. Instead of shipping them with other items, carry them in your hand luggage to ensure they are always with you.


Disposing of your furniture before relocating comes with several challenges:

  • The furniture may not be available in the same style, fabric, or quality in the destination country.
  • Hardwood furniture, antiques, family heirlooms, and designer furniture are usually quite expensive and almost always irreplaceable.
  • Different countries have different furniture styles, and while some look classy, they may not fit the style or size of the buildings in your country. For example, your furniture in California may be too big for a London or Parisian flat.
  • A ready buyer is not always available
  • Furniture bears sentimental value

For these reasons and more, a lot of people opt to relocate with their furniture. If that’s not feasible for you and you don’t wish to dispose of your furniture, consider leaving it with a friend or relative, or putting it in storage.


For some people, their devices are more dear than furniture. While electronics are widely available in most countries, some hold a special place in their owners’ hearts, making them irreplaceable. While some devices are obviously going to move with you such as your phone, tablet, camera, and laptop, others are quite difficult or expensive to replace in the new country, hence it is necessary to include them in your packing list.

However, before you start packing your electronics for the move, find out the standard voltage in your new country. In the UK, for example, the standard voltage is 230 volts. Plugging a 110v appliance to a 220v may quickly damage the device.

Some devices can be modified to work on higher voltages, fortunately, but it may be costly to do so. You can also choose to buy special adapters and transformers for your old electronics if you don’t want to leave them behind.

While you prepare your laptops and storage devices for moving, backup the most important contents in case the devices get lost. Remember to also pack respective device chargers.

Sentimental Items and Items of interest

Some items such as old photographs, family heirlooms, art, some gifts, among other items hold a sentimental value. These items are often priceless, and may give you comfort when you’re feeling homesick. Be it a bike that won many races, or a guitar that reminds you of good memories, or your lucky golf club If it doesn’t present a massive inconvenience, carry it with you.


Your favourite personal care items may not be available in your new country or may be expensive. Therefore, take a few supplies when moving internationally to help you settle in until you find new favourites. Consider buying the toiletries in bulk before you relocate to give you ample time to work out a suitable alternative in your destination country.

Things to Consider Putting into Long-term Storage

Planning for international relocation includes a decluttering operation. During the process, you will discover a lot of items you no longer use. Before thinking about discarding your items, consider putting them in long-term storage. You can enlist the help of your moving company to give your personal effects and prized possessions a home while you are away. Better yet, you can decide for these items to be shipped to you once you are settled. You don’t have to worry about them getting damaged since your movers will house them in a clean and secure storage facility on a short-term or long-term plan.

Again, what you choose to leave behind, what you don’t immediately need is entirely dependent on what you need and what you deem important. Some people opt to pack their entire kitchen while others only carry their furniture and electronics.

Moving soon?

Preparing for international moves is certainly stressful and time-consuming. Luckily, you can utilize the services of international moving companies. They are equipped with the necessary equipment and the technical know-how to make your international move run smoothly.

A seasoned international mover will take your hand through the entire process, ensuring that your documentation is in order, and that all your goods arrive safely and in good condition. Above all else, they will give you some much-needed peace of mind during this transition.

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