Beirut Moving & Storage Blog

- Storage, Moving & Relocation Tips

21 May 2021

The Essential Moving Abroad Packing Checklist

When we are relocating abroad, it’s not practical to bring all your worldly possessions. Figuring out what to leave and what to pack is a bit of a process without moving abroad packing checklist.

So we decided to help you with none.

Don't waste money and time!

The more you pack, the more is the time consumed in packing and unpacking, the more you put in money to ship it. Deciding what to take when moving overseas is a balancing act of space and money. Sure, it’s cheaper to move with carry-on luggage only, but which you easily buy abroad or maybe just don’t require. And if you bring too much without doing research, you’ll waste money shipping things you can’t use, don’t have room for, or could have cheaply replaced in your new home.

What to bring when moving to another country?

Everything you pack when moving abroad falls into three categories: practical, legal, and sentimental.

Practical items are things you use in daily life. Clothing, medication, essential items of daily use, etc., should be packed and ready to use from day one. Depending on the country, you might also want to bring some electronics.

Things like policy documents, passports, resident proof, case papers, etc fall into the legal category. This includes any documents you need to legally enter your new country. For us, that meant our passports, a letter of entry, and backup copies of our visa paperwork.

Finally, you’re sure to have a few sentimental items that you want to bring on your journey. You will surely carry a couple of photos or books you’d like to keep. Although we left the majority of ours with family, we brought over a few things to personalize our new space.

Remember international moves are expensive. Shipping by air is costly, and sea shipments can take months to reach your new place.

Rather than pay thousands of dollars to ship our luggage overseas, we may just choose to downsize. Downsizing allowed us to bring everything we needed on the plane. It only cost a few hundred dollars in excess baggage fees and saved time on customs paperwork as well.

Moving abroad packing list

Adapter plugs

The very first thing we need to do after arriving at our new flat was charged our rapidly dying phones. There are more than a dozen variations of plug and socket types, and many countries use more than one. So do your research and buy the right type before you leave!


Portable battery pack

A phone searching for the network can be a nightmare. It drains your battery completely. If you cannot find a charging point, a power bank comes in handy and is a very smart option. From calling utility companies to navigating with Google Maps, your phone will be an essential part of daily life.

A dead phone is a nightmare scenario, especially if you don’t speak the local language or find yourself in an unfamiliar area.

That’s why I highly suggest carrying a portable battery pack with you.

Personal electronics

Tablets, digital cameras, etc..most of these items are expensive and pretty portable, so it makes sense to put them on your moving abroad packing checklist.

However, you’ll need to do a little research before you decide which gadgets to pack in which type of baggage. You also need to research the battery of a gadget that can handle the air pressure.

In addition to your new country’s plugs and sockets, you need to figure out the voltage. Many modern electronics accept a range of voltages and hertz, so you can use them with an adapter.

Technically, you can bring electronics that use different voltages, but you’ll need to use a transformer or converter rather than an adapter. This will cause your stuff to wear out much faster, and you run the risk of electrical shortages and fires. It’s better to leave those items behind and replace them in your new country.


Many people have certain cooking habits. When you starting abroad, you might find it difficult to find a convenience store or maybe won't like the food available. It's important to carry certain appliances and staple items to avoid starving. If you are carrying things like knives, make sure you pack them properly to avoid any damages.

Clothing and shoes

Clothes are the most space-consuming item on this moving abroad packing checklist. To keep your bags from ballooning out of control, go through everything in your closet and ask these questions:

  • When is the last time I wore this?
  • Do I love wearing this?
  • Will this be practical in my new country?

Answers to such questions will make it economical, smarter, and easier to pack clothing.

Entry documents

You won’t make it very far without your passport and applicable visa. Always keep your entry documents on your body or in your personal bag.

Every country has its own set of entry rules, so be sure to research them before the move. For example, you may need to show a letter proving you have the legal right to bring your child to another country.

It’s time to go through those (hopefully organized) files and lockboxes! Here are some of the legal documents you should pack:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage license
  • Insurance policies

Between airport transfers and cab rides and wheeling stuff through an unfamiliar city, you don't want to risk losing our most important documents.

Photos & Books

Putting up a few photos will make you feel closer to the family you left behind. You can always remove photos from bulky frames and put them in an album for easier transport.

Leaving behind all your books is out of the question when you an avid writer But you always also buy the digital form of books than paying extra for the paperback copies.


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