How to Pack for a Move Abroad: 10 Expert Tips for Expats [2023]

how to pack for a move abroad

Moving abroad can be an exciting and life-changing experience, but it can also be super stressful, especially when it comes to packing.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when there are so many things to think about and so many items to pack. 

You want to ensure that you’re fully prepared for your new experience. With a little planning and organization, you can make packing for your move abroad a breeze!

So if you’re wondering how to pack for a move abroad, we’ve got you! Here are 10 helpful packing tips to ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible.

How to Pack for a Move Abroad: 10 Expert Tips

#1. Declutter unnecessary items

If you want to pack for a move quickly, first review your belongings and ditch anything you no longer need or want. This helps save space and make the packing process much easier.

The best way to declutter is to go through each room and sort your belongings into three piles: keep, donate, and throw away. For each item, ask yourself if you really need or want it, and if not, put it in the corresponding pile.

Once you’ve decluttered your belongings, you can start thinking about what items you want to pack for your move abroad!

#2. Make a packing list

Having a packing list is a super simple but necessary task. It can help you pack efficiently for a move by staying organized and ensuring that you don’t forget to bring any important items with you.

This is especially important when moving to a new country, where you may not have access to the same items or stores that you are used to.

It’s really easy to overpack when moving away because you’ll want to bring everything with you. Fortunately, having a packing list can help you to avoid overpacking and ensure that you only bring the items that you truly need.

This can save you money on excess baggage fees and make your move easier and more convenient.

A packing list can  also serve as a useful reference once you arrive at your destination. You can use it to check off items as you unpack, and it can help you to stay organized and settled in your new home.

#3. Start packing early

It’s easy to delay your packing… but don’t wait until the last minute – especially for a big move.

Packing can be a time-consuming process, especially when moving abroad. Be sure to start early so that you avoid feeling rushed or overwhelmed, and have the time you need to carefully pack each item and make sure everything is properly protected and organized.

You can also avoid last-minute stress and anxiety by packing early. If you wait until the last minute to start packing, you may find yourself rushed and panicked, which can make the moving process more stressful and chaotic.

By starting early, you can take your time and pack at a leisurely pace, which can make the move more enjoyable.

#4. Avoid packing things you don’t need 

Before packing anything, take a moment to consider whether you really need to bring it with you. Packing unnecessary items can take up valuable space in your luggage, which can make it more difficult to bring everything you need. 

Trying to pack everything can also increase the weight of your luggage, which can result in excess baggage fees when flying. We all know how expensive baggage fees can be and can add significantly to the cost of your move.

By avoiding packing unnecessary items, you can save money on excess baggage fees and make your move much more affordable!

#5. Invest in high-quality luggage 

If you don’t already own some, having quality luggage is ideal for your move abroad for plenty of reasons.

Good luggage helps protect your fragile belongings and keeps them safe during your move. 

You should look for luggage that ‘s sturdy and well-constructed, to keep your valuables as secure as possible. This is especially important if you are moving to a new country, where your luggage may be handled more roughly than it would be at home!

High-quality luggage can also make your move more convenient and comfortable. Try to find luggage that’s easy to maneuver, with smooth-rolling wheels and a comfortable handle.

That way it’s easier to transport your belongings, whether you’re carrying them yourself or checking them at the airport.

With the right luggage, you can also avoid excess baggage fees. Many airlines have strict weight and size limits for checked luggage, so you may be charged extra fees if your luggage is too heavy or large. 

Good luggage should be lightweight and compact if you want to avoid those excess fees during your move abroad!

#6. Use packing cubes!

Packing cubes are a complete lifesaver when packing for a move abroad. 

If you haven’t heard of them before, packing cubes are small, lightweight bags designed to be used inside of your luggage or backpack. They’re super helpful to organize and separate your belongings, making it easier to find items and keep your bags organized.

With so many different items to pack for your big move, packing cubes will be especially useful for those moving to a new country, as they can help to keep your belongings organized and make it easier to unpack and settle into your new home. 

The great thing about packing cubes is that they’re super versatile. You can use them for all your other travels while you’re living abroad! 

#7. Roll your clothes

Rolling your clothes can help you save space in your luggage. Since rolled clothes take up less space than folded clothes, you can fit more items into a smaller space. 

You can also keep your clothes wrinkle-free by rolling them. When clothes are folded, they’re more likely to become creased and wrinkled. 

Rolling your clothes will make it easier to organize your luggage. By separating your clothes into different categories and rolling them separately, you can easily find the items you need and avoid digging through your luggage to find something.

Pro Tip: Roll your clothes, organize them into categories and use packing cubes for the most convenient pack possible!

#8. Keep essential items in your carry-on or personal item

Be sure not to pack all of your essential items, such as medications, important documents, and travel documents, in your luggage. 

By having important documents and medications with you, you can quickly get to them if needed.

Keeping essential items with you also saves time and hassle. If you’re traveling with checked luggage, unfortunately there’s always a risk of your luggage becoming lost or delayed. 

If you keep essential items with you, you can avoid the inconvenience and stress of losing access to important items.

#9. Pack smartly with suitcases and backpacks

If you’re anything like most people, you don’t use suitcase space to the best capacity. You may end up with a lot of unused space that you could have filled with additional items. 

To be more space-efficient, besides rolling your clothes and using packing cubes, you can also place heavier items, such as shoes and books, at the bottom of your suitcase to help balance the weight. 

Fill in any gaps and empty spaces with smaller items, such as socks and underwear. Use the inside of your suitcase lid to store small items such as toiletries or jewelry.

By following these tips, you should be able to fit a lot of items securely in your suitcase while still leaving room for any additional items you may need. Don’t just throw things in your suitcase after making all this effort to pack efficiently for your move abroad!

#10. Wear all heavy and larger items 

You might look a little silly wearing your winter parka and rainboots in the summer heat, but do what you have to to avoid those overweight baggage fees!

Wearing your heavy and large items is a sure way to save space in your luggage, allowing you to pack more efficiently and avoid additional fees for overweight luggage. 

If this isn’t an option, consider packing heavier items in your carry-on or personal item if it fits. Just remember that if you’re carrying your backpack, you’ll have to bear the weight of anything placed inside there!

Get Packing and Planning!

Knowing how to pack for a move abroad is essential for making the relocation process as stress-free and organized as possible. whether you’re moving to Europe or even further afield.  

After all, you don’t want to arrive at your destination and open up a suitcase that’s disorganized and cluttered everywhere.

Speaking of mood killers…

After going through all of these steps, a common theme you might’ve noticed is that planning ahead is usually the way to go.

If you’ve gotten your packing list down, use a social trip planner to help you plan, discover, and build travel itineraries with friends and travel buddies, connecting you to resources everywhere for a better experience traveling.

Bon voyage, traveler!

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