Moving abroad checklist

A relatively organized half-full suitcase

Sooo… I’m moving to Latvia for a year! I’ll be going on my second ESC project – you can read about my first one here. My flight is on the 30th of November, and I’m writing this on the 16th because the realization I’m flying off in exactly 2 weeks hit me out of left field 😆

Now, this will be probably my 8th or 9th move in the last 3 years – some of them were for a ‘short’ period of couple of months, while in other places I spent 11 or 12 months. Each time I moved, I left behind so much and I’m used to packing up my life by now. Howeveeer, every time I forget something that I feel is missing one or two moves later. That’s why I need a checklist already!

The Checklist

Since I moved to the Netherlands, then to Romania, back to the lowlands, and lastly to Bulgaria, I think it’s fitting to write the most comprehensive checklist – the ‘moving abroad’ one.

Research needed to be done before decision-making

  • What’s the weather in my new country? Do I prefer cold, windy days or warm and sunny? In any case, if you’re moving north, pack your thickest clothes, but if you’re moving south – your thinnest ones. The weather tends to surprise you with its extremity at a new country. 
  • Anything specific I should be aware of at my new town/village/settlement, like wind, sea, mountainous, bikes? Pack the needed items for that – ex. earwarmers, swimsuits, hiking boots, rubber handgloves.

Finally, the list itself!

The numbering is arbitrary. How many pieces of the things I’m listing you’ll take is up to you – it depends on how long you’re staying somewhere, how often do you change clothes and do laundry, how much space do you have, etc. Use your best judgment.

  1. T-shirts.
  2. First aid/medkit. 
  3. Cardigan/s.
  4. Sweatshirts.
  5. Pants and/or jeans.
  6. Long-sleeved shirts.
  7. Waarm clothes – socks, termal underwear, thickest tops and pants.
  8. Thiin clothes – what would you wear in hell? Which clothes protect you from dissolving in the heat and make you feel like you have nothing on?
  9. If you’re feeling like you’ll be on the hunt, sexy clothing 😜 That’s anything you feel Ah-mazing in, you can also pack it if you’re traveling with your SO 👼 And protection – you never know when you’ll get lucky!
  10. On the same note, pads and any bedroom equipment you might want to keep you company.
  11. Tooth brush and toiletries (toothpaste, hair brush, deodorant, cosmetics, SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER*, extra hairties, nail clipper/scissors, razor /if you use one/).

* I always forget these 🫢

  1. Socks – short summer ones, medium thick autumn ones, and thick winter ones.
  2. Socks for all applicable seasons (best if you can go with 1 pair autumn/spring/summer when youre’s lacking space).
  3. Underwear – bikinis, thongs, briefs, boxers: whatever you prefer. Bras and sport bras.
  4. Home/gym wear, at least one set even if you think you won’t need it. For me that’s old t-shirts, sports jacket, leggings.
  5. Winter jacket.
  6. Autumn/spring jacket.
  7. Sunglasses and/or an extra pair of glasses.
  8. Sleepwear – I pack 2 sets of pyjamas if I’m going somewhere, where I’ll be staying longer than two weeks.
  9. Scarfs, earwarmers, hats, and gloves -whatever you wear.
  10. Umbrella.
  11. Swimsuit – a friend of mine always packs a pair because just as with number 9, you never know if you’ll need it! 
  12. Medical/Travel insurance.
  13. Towels, if you’ll be staying at a place with no towels.
  14. Bed linens, same as with number 21.
  15. When being abroad longer, something to remind you of home – a book in your native language, a gift from someone dear, a framed photo, a souvenir, etc. 
  16. Something fancy – a nice dress or a suit, paired with suitable shoes. This is for that unexpected fancy invite or Halloween party. 
  17. A notebook and a pen. 
  18. Technology: laptop, phone, chargers, portable speaker.
  19. Documents – ID, passport, vaccinations.
  20. Home slippers/flip-flops.
  21. Anything you think you won’t survive without – oracle cards, special candle/s, your magic wand, cat ears, courage, etc. 😝
  22. Optional: some hobby supplies for the first month, while you settle in. 
  23. If you still have space, a tiny blanket – it’s perfect for throwing it on in the house when it’s chilly or for when you want to go out and have a picknick, or for snuggles with a new love interest or friend.
  24. Food provisions – especially valid for Balkans when enough space is present!

Leave behind!

  • Anything that makes you feel bad or that you use to compulsively overthink and upset yourself. 
  • Anxiety (as much as you can).

It’ll be alright! You got this aaand I do, too (we hope 😂)

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