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What not to pack for an international move; 5 tips

Posted by By Kirsty Parsons - November 20, 2014

Everything you’ve probably read so far about moving abroad has likely been focused on how best to pack the container for the country you’re specifically moving to. But wherever you’re going, you need to remember there are certain items that should be kept on your person and not in your shipment. If you're confused then here's our guide on what not to pack for an international move...

1) High value items or items of sentimental value
Jewellery, family heirlooms, photo albums, coin or stamp collections, personal home videos and other such memorabilia are all things considered irreplaceable. So while it might be tempting to pack them away safely in your shipment - and your move insurance would cover the financial side of things if these items were lost or damaged - no amount of money could ever replace what they mean to you, making them a prime example of what not to pack for an international move. 

2) Important personal and financial documents
Medical records, insurance policies, driving licenses, tax filings, documents for stocks and securities, house deeds, cheque books, school records, marriage and birth certificates, certificates of adoption, visas, immunisation and school records for children, professional qualifications and accreditations, passports and documentation for any pets you’re importing – all these bits of paper document your entire life. Don’t hesitate to make copies of ALL of these things. Firstly, photocopy everything and keep these separate from the originals. Next, upload them to a memory stick or external hard drive. Finally, scan and upload them to an online document service like Dropbox. And don’t forget to back up your PCs and laptops. Not only are these things irreplaceable once lost, but they also help with the setting up of your new life – chances are you’ll get to your new home a few weeks before your goods do, and you’ll need certain bits of documentation in order to start setting up utility bills, enrol children into school, register with a doctor and apply for jobs.

3) Medication
This is something you’ll need to be extremely careful about due to the laws that surround the importation of drugs into foreign nations. Each country will have their own rules, so check what applies to where you’re going specifically, but generally it’s advised that if you have a medical condition which requires regular medication you should travel with just enough to cover you until you can source more from a doctor or pharmacy in your new nation. It goes without saying that you need to research where you can get your medication from BEFORE you go (some countries won’t stock it if it contains a banned substance or it will be stocked under a different name), and you’ll need to check that you are allowed to bring it in with you freely or whether you need a doctor’s certificate.

4) Credit Card
Not that we think anything will go wrong with your move, but if it does then often you’ll find that the combination of a credit card and passport are handy things to have in certain situations. Particularly if there are issues sorting out your new bank account at first or setting up payments for utility bills – having a financial back up plan can get you out of several sticky situations should they arise.

5) Miscellaneous – obvious things you might forget
Once all of that is covered, don’t forget to remember the obvious stuff when considering what not to pack for an international move – always keep your car and house keys, address books, emergency contact details, flight tickets, any letters you might need, mobile phones, digital cameras, back up discs/power leads for computers and mobile phones and plug adapters on your person during your move. Also, never forget to take enough local currency to keep you going whilst you set up your new financial arrangements – around a month’s worth should be plenty.

download the international moving checklist

Topics: Packing, Preparing to Move

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