I definitely feel more productive once I’ve written something down.
With that in mind, once we knew we were moving the China it was time for a new notepad. What is pretty cool now though, is that I’m using the same notepad for our second Big Move.
Here are my top 5 tips for packing for a family move overseas:
- Be totally ruthless. If you haven’t used something for 6 months then get rid of it.
- Take photos of the kids artwork and Star of the Week certificates, you are likely to lose them.
- Do your homework on what to bring. I was advised to bring shampoo and conditioner from home but it’s easy and inexpensive to get what I need here.
- Do stock up on footwear and bras if you are moving to Asia. For our move to Bangkok, I am planning on investing in at least 3 pairs of shoes for each of us. We also got the Clarks shoe size gauge so we can measure the kids’ feet at home and family and friends can then bring shoes out to us. It wasn’t expensive.
- Bring over the counter medicines that you like and are familiar with. We tend to stock up on cold and flu, indigestion and hayfever tablets, as well as Calpol for the kids. What you need to bring from home depends on where you will be living. Where we are in China, we are not in an expat area so you can buy some things here, but they are not that easy to get. On the other hand, when we were in Saigon recently we bought Tylenol with no problems for very little money.
In terms of the logistics of getting your stuff here, there are a few options. You can have it shipped. This might be the cheapest way to send a lot of items (see top tip number 1 above, do you need them all?) but you will have to pay for the storage of the items as most countries won’t allow your possessions through until you have your work permit. Alternatively, you could go for the air freight option. We only had a couple of items for our move to China and it arrived about 3 weeks after we did. It was amazing to be surrounded by our things so quickly.
Or, if you have managed to de-clutter to the point of just having your belongings in suitcases you could take it with you on the plane! This time we have taken all of our stuff to Bangkok on the flight. We are halfway through this process and so far it has gone to plan!
We took 7 cases and 4 hand luggage bags for flight 1 with China Eastern (each passenger is allowed 2 bags at 23kg per bag). For our second flight with Thai Airways we will take 3 suitcases and one bike box, as well as the hand luggage (each checked in piece can be up to 30kg). The bike box comes in under our allowance as long as it is below 30kg.
This should be plenty of space for all of our belongings and will mean that we have everything with us as soon as we have found an apartment. For the moment we have rented a small storage unit in Bangkok (Bangkok Self Storage) until the end of August.
Logistically, the only real issue is getting all these suitcases to and from the airports. In Bangkok, we used Hoppa which was excellent and very reasonably priced. We’ll do the same at the start of July.