moving abroad packing list

The Moving Abroad Packing List You Desperately Need!

So you’ve decided to move abroad and now it’s time to pack your bags and move?

I know it can be hard to know what to pack when you only have limited space. I’ve packed to move abroad last year and struggled A LOT with fitting everything in my bags!

So I’m writing this post to save you the headache of packing by listing all the necessary items to pack and by giving you some useful packing tips!

Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

Note: this post might contain affiliate links. If you buy through one of these links I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Read more in my Disclosure Policy.

Your moving abroad packing list

For this list, I’ve used the inspiration from my own packing list from when I moved abroad to Canada. This way, I know what was absolutely essential and what not!

In any case, when you’re packing try to consider whether you really need everything you’re packing. It’s easy to buy the basic stuff once you arrive at your destination.

Official documents

passports - moving abroad packing list
  • visa
  • passport
  • birth certificate
  • diploma
  • copy of all necessary documents: flight tickets, rental agreement…
  • marriage licence
  • insurance papers
  • credit card
  • local currency


essentials - moving abroad packing checklist

I wouldn’t travel without these essentials and I think you’ll benefit a lot too if you take them with you!

  • earplugs
  • headphones
  • eye mask
  • first aid kit: ibuprofen, paracetamol, band-aids, disinfectant…
  • electronics: computer, phone, tablet…
  • power bank
  • cables
  • universal travel adapter
  • emergency phone numbers
  • pencils etc.
  • water bottle
  • backpack
  • handbags
  • reusable mouth masks
  • hand gel


Most of the basic things such as underwear you’ll be able to buy at your destination. So I wouldn’t focus too much on that, instead, take the clothes you believe are unreplaceable with you!

  • socks
  • underwear
  • bras
  • several pairs of shoes
  • t-shirts
  • formal/work outfit
  • festive outfit
  • pants/skirts
  • sweaters
  • swimwear
  • summer & winter jacket
  • hiking boots
  • casual shoes
  • formal shoes
  • pyjama’s
  • flip flops
  • sport clothes
  • sport shoes
  • sunglasses
  • jewelry
  • raincoat
  • scarf, hat, gloves

Toilet Case

toothbrushes - packing list for moving abroad
  • hairbrush
  • toothbrush
  • makeup
  • shaving stuff
  • deodorant
  • small soap fillings
  • small toothpaste
  • sunscreen
  • floss
  • nail kit
  • lip balm!
  • period kit


For me, it was essential to take something with me that would make me feel at home in a new country too. In my case, it was a pile of photos to hang on the wall and my favourite mug.

Of course, once you’re there, you can start to decorate your place however you want with stuff you’ll buy at your destination!

  • pictures
  • tape (to put the pictures up)

Useful but not necessary

I recommend taking some basic necessities such as a mini sewing kit or screwdriver with you because there will probably come a moment where you need that. Others such as linens are not necessary, since you can buy it there, but it might give you more of an at-home feeling already if you take yours with you!

If there’s no space in your luggage, then don’t take them!

  • sewing kit
  • screwer
  • towels
  • washcloths
  • linens
  • journal

Essential packing tips to move abroad

Besides a useful moving abroad packing list, there are also hacks to save you some space in your luggage.

When packing for my overseas adventures I’ve learned some useful tips and tricks that might come in handy for you as well. Let’s go over them!

Use vacuum bags

Vacuum bags

Out of my packing adventures, I’ve learned a lot, and one of the lessons I learned is that you SHOULD use vacuum bags. At least, if you’re determined to pack the maximum you can!

With these bags, you’ll be able to save a lot of space which you can use to pack more! Plus, these vacuum bags will be handy to organize your stuff as efficiently as possible!

How does it work?

You simply roll up the bags (or suck them vacuum with a vacuum cleaner) and the air will escape, which lowers your volume by almost 50%!

Weigh your bags beforehand

Nothing is worse than arriving at the airport and seeing that you’ll have to pay an extra fee because your bags are overweight!

Luckily, you can easily avoid that by weighing your bags beforehand and arranging your stuff accordingly!

Buy (or borrow) a scale especially for travel bags to avoid this!

Use travel size packages

Travel size packages

For certain things such as toothpaste and soap, you can buy smaller travel-size packages which will leave more room for other stuff in your baggage.

These smaller packages will make sure that you’ll be able to have enough to get through the first week(s). After that, you can buy normal ones at your destination!

Buy decent bags

You might underestimate what a bag has to bear when you move abroad. It gets thrown around multiple times, has to carry a lot of weight and should roll around behind you everywhere you go!

Needless to say, your bag should be able to take a punch. Therefore, carefully look for baggage of good quality, read the specifications and the reviews of other customers!

Personally, my bags are from Eastpak and they’ve resisted an overseas move so they are pretty solid!

You can read my Eastpak Tranverz review here.

Sit on your bag

This might sound a bit ridiculous, but according to me, the best way to be able to close your bags when they are more than full is to sit on them!

Your weight will push all the stuff down et voila, your bag will (hopefully) be able to close!

Last resort: ship your bags

man with bags - moving abroad checklist packing

If you really have a lot to pack you could also consider shipping them abroad instead of bringing your bags on the plane!

These days, many services exist that will ship your bags/boxes across the ocean to your new home! Sounds easy right?

Think about the service Send My Bag for example.


I hope you enjoyed this packing list for moving abroad and that your move will go as smoothly as possible!

Do you need any other tips? Take a look at my post about 17 hand luggage essentials for long haul flights or how to travel with less baggage!

6 thoughts on “The Moving Abroad Packing List You Desperately Need!”

  1. Wow what a bunch of helpful tips for those moving abroad! My brother in law went through this a few years ago and their packing situation was a disaster, wish this would’ve been around back then!

  2. I can promise you that I would not pack well for moving abroad. I would want to bring everything with me. I love this list because it gives me the perfect checklist that I can use to make sure I don’t forget anything because inevitably I would!

  3. Super informative post. Especially the part about the official documents. I feel like those are the types of things I would forget, even though they are the most important.

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