How to Pack for International Relocation: The Ultimate Guide

Home relocation is a cause of headache for most of us, not because of change in place but mostly due to the arrangement and the execution of the process of packing and shifting of various items from one country to another. While local and interstate shifting can still be managed somehow, international relocation can be quite a headache, especially the packing part. This is mainly because, there are certain luggage weight limits in flights and you have to carry most of the important things within that weight limit. You may pay extra to carry extra weight but not all of us want to pay so much extra for luggage. Then, there will be certain items that can’t be moved in normal flight and you have to send those items through cargo or ship. Needless to say, there are costs associated with everything and hence choosing what to pack and what to leave is going to be a crucial decision. You must carry only the unique and the most valuable stuffs and leave the less important ones behind. Now, if you are worried about how to sort things out and how to pack for international relocation, then there is no need to worry. Because, today in this post, we are going to discuss in detail, about how to pack for international relocation and do it right.

How to Pack for International Relocation: The Ultimate GuideYou have to understand the value of any particular item and accordingly decide whether to carry it or not. In fact, there are also certain other factors based on which you have to decide. So, if you have plans to shift internationally and if you are worried about the whole packing and moving thing, then keep reading this post to get some amazing packing tips and ideas that will help you to pack everything perfectly for international relocation.

In case of international shifting, you have to be really careful as you are no more inside the known boundaries of your country. You may also not have enough information of the country you are relocating to. But, that does not mean that you will remain ignorant about it. You need to know the basic details of the country, their basic rules for people who are on visas and most importantly about the weather and local market and lifestyle. If you get a fair idea of all these basic factors, trust me, half of your packing issues will get resolved automatically.

While there are certain common things which you should carry, there are many optional things which you might carry or might not depending on the country you are relocating to. The simple reason behind that is a particular item may be quite cheap and easily available in the United States, but that particular thing, which is otherwise important, may not be that easily available in Europe. And even if it is available, it might be too costly. So, it is better to carry it from your own country in case you are travelling to Europe. In fact, even the city or the exact location you are travelling to also matters. So, basically there are factors on how to decide which items to carry and what not to. I will be discussing most of these in my post today, and hopefully these packing tips will help you to pack everything perfectly for international relocation.

More and more people today relocate internationally, mostly due to further studies or due to onsite job opportunities or for some other reasons, like marriage. But, whatever the reason is, international move is not going to be easy, especially the packing part.

Therefore, without wasting much time, let us explore the most essential tips and idea on how to pack for international relocation.

How to pack for international relocation and get it right

International relocation and its packing issues may seem difficult but if you know the right techniques, then things are going to get much easier. You need to act smart and plan strategically to get things right. And, the packing tips on how to pack for international relocation will certainly help you in big ways. In fact, most of it is from my personal experiences and so I hope, you will get a swift and hassle free international home relocation experience, if you follow these tricks properly.

Sort out the things that you want to carry carefully. When you are up for an international move, it becomes important for you to reduce your overall moving costs. If you carry lots of stuffs then, you will have to bear lot of extra shipping expenses. So, try to pick things based on its importance and usability.

As I already said that there are certain criteria based on which you should decide what to pack and what to ignore. Some of the parameters for selection are mentioned below.

Purpose of your relocation

See, the purpose of your relocation to the other country is very important and based on that you must pack your belongings. Like for example, if you have relocated abroad due to higher studies then carry your important books and all the study materials, your laptop etc. On the other hand, if you are just relocating after your retirement, then you may carry your favorite gadgets and other entertaining stuffs with you. These will help you pass your time better.

Identify the essential items

Our basic necessities are food, clothing and shelter and since you are relocating and finding a new shelter for yourself, you must not forget the other two basic necessities. Take some clothes, 2-3 shoes with you and also do carry some dry foods, etc. with you. You can also carry items which can be easily cooked, like soup ingredients, noodles, bread, etc. And, if you have babies with you, never forget about the child food.

Also, you must carry some regular kitchen appliances so that you can use them once you visit the new place. You will require some time to settle down and it is not possible to buy new things right away, so do carry all these with you. Toiletries are also essential so do not forget to carry few of them.

Besides, all the above, you must not forget the passport (probably the most important one), your mobile, charger, priceless jewelries, your transactions cards, bank documents, your educational or professional documents etc. All these must be carried with care as losing them might cause a lot of trouble.

Carry things as per your new home

The type of home where you are shifting is equally important and you must be taking note of that. For example, if your new home is small, then carrying lot of stuffs will lead to lack of space. In case it has no outdoor space, you may not take your gardening equipment. And, if you are shifting to a well-furnished home, then you might just carry your personal clothes and items as most of the basic essential things will already be provided to you.

So, please be properly informed regarding the kind of home where you are shifting regarding its space, type etc. This basic information will help you sort your belongings better.

Carry items that make you feel at home

This is a very important thing for people who are immensely attached to your birth place. See, you are not fully aware of the new international space you are relocating. It is obvious that there will be change in the surroundings and you will need time to adapt to that. So, for that it is advisable that you carry stuffs that make you feel at home. The basic things to carry here are the framed photos and any old album which has nice memories attached to it. You can also carry gifts gifted to you by your very close ones.

Little pieces of art, family heirlooms, any small furniture pieces etc. that will help you feel a part of your home are also in the list.

Consider climate

The weather of your new country is also a determining factor. The climate plays an important role and considering it is definitely one of the effective tips on how to pack for international relocation. This is because; you were so long staying in a certain climate which in all probability will change when you shift internationally. Like for example India is quite hot and you experience winter quite less but if you compare it with United States, Canada etc. the temperature gets too cold there in winters and the summers will actually seem pleasant.

So, if you are moving to somecolder country, then you may carry your branded boots or your favorite cool jacket with you. If you are travelling to a very dry country, then you may carry less furniture as too much dryness is not good for fine furniture. And, as for humid countries, carry less of your artworks and antiques.

Get rid of the non-allowable

Since you are up for an international move, you must not forget about the non-allowable. Different countries have different restrictions and they do not allow many things across their borders. Most of the things that are at doubt are animals, medicines, weapons, plants, hazardous substances etc. So, you must be very careful regarding these while packing. To get the detailed information, you may check the official website or directly contact the embassy of that country and take their help regarding the custom fees, import restrictions, and other duties.

Condition of the item also matters

Lastly, you need to look at the condition of the item that you are carrying. If some of the items are precious and in good condition, then you may like carry them. But, in case any of your belongings is already old, worn out or tattered then it is better to get rid of it and replace it with a new one.

Essential packing tips for international move

Once you have sorted out the things, it is time to pack them. See, all the items are not same, so some needs to be packed carefully, some may not need so much of your effort. So, based on the type of item, you must do the packing, and here’s how to do it right.

Clothes and your shoes

I have already said that clothes and shoes must be carried considering the weather of the country where you are relocating and it is indeed one of the best tips on how to pack for international relocation. It is advisable, that you buy most of your dresses and shoes from that country and avoid unnecessary shifting charges on them. Simply carry your fine clothes and pack them in specialized wardrobe boxes for maximum protection. And, to save space, vacuum pack casual clothes and underwear.

Fragile items

The fragile things need special attention and you must try in every way that they do not get broken in the process. It is best to wrap the individual items in packing paper or in bubble wrap and use enough cushioning while packing them. However, you must also be sure that the box you are using is also strong, well padded, sealed tightly and reinforced with packing tapes of top quality. And, after you complete packing, level the boxes as “FRAGILE”.

Electronics and other appliances

It is useless to carry so many of your electronics considering the amount of shipping charges and the other hassles that it involves but if you have decision to carry few most important of them, then you must be carrying them with care. Use strong boxes of appropriate sizes, then fill up the empty spaces with bubble wrap, foam sheets, anti-static packing peanuts etc. For the glass elements, be very careful and attach them with proper cables, wires etc. to avoid them from moving while transportation and get damaged.


Relocating your furniture internationally is not a very wise idea and it is better to avoid it. But, if you want to carry some of them, then do pack things appropriately. Try to dissemble them as much as possible and then protect the parts especially the protruding ones and the surfaces with furniture blankets, bubble wrap etc.


If you are moving abroad for higher studies, then you must be having lots of books to carry. Simply wrap them in packing paper and place them flat in small sturdy boxes. This will keep them secure.


You have to carry few basic toiletries while relocating internationally. Take those and other liquids in plastic bags that are sealable and then keep inside tight-sealing plastic boxes.

How to ship the items to another country?

Once you have sorted and packed the items, you have to decide how to ship those. See, there will be some items that you will require inside your plane and immediately after reaching your new home. Please carry such stuffs with you and hand over the rest to your moving company. Make sure all the essentials are with you.

Some of the things that you must carry with you are:

  • Important documents (passport is a must)
  • Medicines and prescriptions
  • Laptop, camera, phone, charger, Mp3 player, other small electronics,
  • Jewelry and other priceless and irreplaceable items
  • Some cash
  • Few change of clothes
  • Basic items of personal hygiene

However, every airline has its own set of rules and so you must be well informed about these before carrying your stuffs.

Some of the things that you can put in your luggage:

Place the items that you and your family members will need in order to survive for a few weeks after you shifted in your luggage.

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Books
  • Games
  • Toys
  • Specialized items
  • Power cord
  • Converters
  • Basic kitchen appliances

 Items for air shipment

Air shipment is costly but there are some items that need to be shipped early as you need those after few days of relocation. These mainly include items that cannot be carried inside your luggage but you need those after some days. However, there is no need of unnecessarily paying so much extra charge, so airship the items that are very important. These mainly include, clothing, bedding, cookware, kid’s stuff, basic furnishing like rugs, curtains and other necessities.

Items for sea shipment

These mainly include stuffs that you need but you can manage without them for some days. In fact, you must put maximum of your items here. Your furniture, electronics, décor items, your other clothes are among the few of them. You must pack such items properly as they will take time to get transported. Hand over such stuffs to some reliable international movers for safe transportation.


Hopefully, by now you have understood that packing and moving internationally is a little bit more difficult in comparison to local or interstate relocation. But, if you are well informed about the rules and regulations, your international move is going to be much smoother. Firstly, you have to understand that you cannot carry everything and so you must sort things based on its usability and availability in the country you are moving to. Secondly, the overall shipping cost is also to be considered.

We have already discussed several tricks and ideas about how to sort inventory and pack for international relocation. Not just sorting of inventory, but I have also explained about how to pack and ship everything internationally. Rest is upon you to do proper research and then take a call.

These tips on how to pack for international relocation will guide you throughout the process. You just have to follow these carefully. Once you have implemented these tricks, I am sure; you will have a smooth relocation.

Have done international relocation in the past? Feel free to share your tips and ideas about how to pack for international relocation and how to get it right.

Hope, you will have a safe and hassle free international relocation.

1 thought on “How to Pack for International Relocation: The Ultimate Guide”

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