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Regret is a terrible thing. There’s already enough regret in the world, don’t you think? Don’t add to the world’s regret levels by heading overseas without your favourite treats and comforts snugly packed. Many South African expats head abroad filled with excitement and hope. It doesn’t take long for the hardships of such a complex move to strike. And these hardships are often made worse when there’s nothing familiar readily at hand. That’s why a moving abroad packing list is an absolute must.

Moving to a new country is challenging. You have to find a new job, make new friends, and get to know your surrounding area. Wouldn’t it be nice to come home, tired and exhausted, to just a few things that can make your life feel more normal? Believe it or not, there’s an established list of things out there that most South African expats say they wished they had taken overseas with them. You can use this list as your packing cheat sheet!

Moving abroad packing list

What to keep when moving abroad

Let’s start off by being realistic; you cannot take everything with you. You are going to have to be quite ruthless in what you give away, throw away, and sell. Of course, when looking into how to pack up and move to another country, you will notice that many people send a container (or part container) of their belongings over before them. This means that you don’t have to keep your belongings list to smalls only, you can take a few medium to large goodies with you. That’s a relief, right?!

Below is a realistic list of things that you can and should take with you. Use it as your moving abroad packing list (add and remove items as you need).

  • Small kitchen appliances, bits, and bobs
    • These things can be quite expensive overseas, especially if you are buying them all new at the same time. What could be better than making yourself a well-deserved cup of coffee in your favourite mug, using your familiar kettle? Appliances to pack include the kettle, toaster, blender, cups, plates, glasses, a few pots, cutlery, and similar. If you don’t want to take it all, at least take the staples/basics.

  • A braai (whether it is portable or a Weber)
    • Braais aren’t quite the same overseas. You can buy a barbecue, but it’s going to be very different to what you are used to. Taking your own along will just feel right.

  • Your clothing and shoes
    • Don’t be tempted to buy an entirely new wardrobe when you get there. Yes, it’s a fresh start in a new country, but it can prove costly and frustrating to shop for new clothes when you have so many others things to do. You will feel most comfortable if you are settling in with all of your favourite items of clothing at hand.

  • Selection of pictures
    • Your home undoubtedly has framed photos, artwork, and posters. Don’t take them all, but carefully select the items that have the most sentimental meaning to you. Take them along. They will make you feel at home in your new place.

  • Cold and flu medication
    • Not all cold and flu medication is made equal. You have spent most of your life knowing which ones are the best and which ones work for you and your family. When you arrive overseas, you won’t really know which products to choose, so it’s best to have a stash of you own, until you learn more about the products that are available in your new country. Take things like vitamins and supplements, headache tablets, Corenza C, Neurofen, and immune boosters.

  • Favourite sauces and spices
    • Sauces and spices are something that you can buy readily overseas, but you may not be able to get your hands on your favourite Spur sauces, Tabasco sauce, or braai spices, for instance. You will eventually settle into enjoying what is locally available, but it’s a good idea to take some of your favourite sauces along so that you can ease yourself into the process.

  • Mattress
    • If you have enough space in the container, you may want to take your bed. At the very least, take your mattress. Yes, you can buy a new mattress, but how comfortable will it be and how much is it going to cost you? Don’t risk sleeping uncomfortably when you’ve just arrived. Play it safe and sleep in your very own, familiar bed. Don’t forget to pop your pillows, duvet, and a few sheets in too.

  • Decent towels
    • We all seem to collect a big pile of towels in our lifetime, but that doesn’t mean you have to drag them around the world with you. Towels can be an expensive thing to replace though, especially when already dealing with the many costs of emigration. Make a pile of your best towels and take those along. Donate or get rid of the rest. Also remember that you can use towels to protect the other belongings that you are packing.

  • Kids toys
    • If you have kids, chances are that they also need something to open on the other end and get excited about. You will be happy to have packed them when you see how happy the kids are to receive their favourite toys and games. New things is always a nice prospect for kids, but nothing beats having a favourite toy or game right there with you on your new adventure.

Take peace of mind with you overseas!

One of the most important things to take with you overseas is peace of mind. In our experience, it is the expats who have their financial and tax emigration in order, that have the most relaxed experience when leaving SA. With the help of FinGlobal, you can take a generous dose of peace of mind with you! We provide premier advice and guidance to thousands of SA expats across the globe. Perhaps it is your turn to get advice and guidance from us!

To chat to a knowledgeable and experienced consultant, simply contact us.