What to pack when you are packing 🤔😝 | A Guide for people moving out of India | Things to pack when you go onsite
Before proceeding to this topic sharing a small brief about my life :
Appa was a Government employee and his work demanded to move from one distrct to another every 3 years.We have lived in Srivilliuputhur, Madurai, Thanjavur,Trichy,Villupuram,Tirunelveli,Coimbatore 😬 and during every shift I have seen my parents take up all the planning, packing and other tasks by themselves..Once I started working in Banglore I had to move to different PGs due to comfort, change of jobs.
I thought all this constant moving from place to place will end with my marriage 😝 I was completely wrong.. We lived in 4 different apartments before moving to our own one in Chennai 😁 Following my parents footsteps me and Shiva did all the packing and we just hired a vehicle and two helpers to shift the things. The best part of packing your own stuff is you get control on what, when and how it should be packed. It will be easier while unpacking. Ofcourse it saves money..
When we started breathing in peace in our own apartment, we moved to London..Now we are back in Ireland.. Each and every move is difficult be it cross country or within the same city.. In this post am particularly going to share tips about how to plan your cross country move seamlessly and effectively.
Disclaimer : The post is based on my personal experience in moving from Chennai to London (2014) and to Ireland (2018). Have covered as much as information as possible. Kindly ignore if any of the points don’t suit your needs.
Finalizing the Airlines and Date :
In our case both our abroad moves happened because of Shiva’s work and as you know until tickets are booked nothing is confirmed in IT onsite 🤣🤣So First important decision to make during such time is to to finalize the travel date & preferred Airlines. Qatar/Emirates usually have good luggage allowance + staff are helpful too. You can choose them if moving to UK. For Limerick city we chose BritishAirways since with the other airlines had two stopovers whereas in BA it was only one. With Aadhu as a toddler we felt BA option was best.
The Airlines through which we will be travelling helps to understand the luggage allowance. Based on that we can plan our shopping and the things to carry from home. Based on the country which you move finalize the Airlines and proceed with other things.
We preferred purchasing extra baggage rather than sending our items in cargo. We didn’t carry bigger items. However we couldn’t fit all our essential items within that 40kg limit per person. If you pre-book your extra baggage you might save some money. Rather than directly going to the counter on travel date and purchasing extra baggage. So plan accordingly.
Purchasing Suitcases :
First essential of every abroad travel is a good suitcase. Upper limit for a piece of check-in baggage in most of the airlines is 23kg. For Cabin luggage its usually 7kgs. ALWAYS check with your airlines and confirm with them the allowance, bag size, weight limitations etc. Based on that purchase your bags.
The brands which we absolutely love VIP, Skybags & American Tourister & TRIPP (Tripp is a UK brand which was affordable + worth for the money. We bought 2 suitcases there before leaving from London) Make sure you get trolley suitcases with 4 wheels and that can be moved easily. Invest in good quality bags. They are expensive but then they are the base of our travel. So choose wisely. We tie a piece of cloth or some kind of unique marking to our suitcases along with the usual label cards so it is easier to identify in the luggage conveyer belt. Because most of the suitcases will be of same color and sometimes lot of similar branded suitcases will also be there in the belt.
Planning your shopping :
We had exactly two weekends , time during both our moves. Shiva was working almost until the day before travel.The following places generally covered almost every aspect of our travel needs. We both are not much of online shoppers. I shall share detailed check list as well. This is just a glimpse
- EA or Phoneix Mall – Suitcases, Shoes, Dresses
- Rathna or Saravana Stores or any store in your nearby area – For all kitchen related stuff
- Medical Shop – Buy all essential medicines
- Super Markets – Get Ziplock covers, rubber bands, stapler, packing tape,toileteries
- Weighing scale (nowadays there are lot of portable digital luggage scales)
What are the checklists to prepare for a family to move Abroad :
Keep this list like a Master List and keep adding things under every section based on your needs so that you won’t forget anything.
- Documents needed to be packed & Documents needed for travel
- Applying for Travel medical insurance and also to pack previous medical records, files etc for everyone
- Bank related work & financial prep
- Dresses to buy for each and every member in the family
- Gadgets to pack
- Poojai Things
- Kitchen items
- Powders to Pack
A. Important Documents to Pack :
Here you need to keep one separate file for all the documents that is related to the current employment, travel etc Then put a separate file for your education, precious employment, birth certificates, marriage certificate, health related documents etc to carry it along with you to the new country
- Passport, Visa, Deputation letter (if going by company), work permit and other related documents. Pack all original letters, also take a photo copy of all this and keep it in your luggage as well. Just as a backup
- Original Marriage certificate, birth certificate of your kids and other education & work related documents for everyone in the family. Just in case if you want to search job or switch companies you might need them
- Original PAN card, License, Aadhar and other government Ids
- Buy travel insurance for all the members travelling in a family.This is to cover Baggage Loss & other things related only to your travel. It is different from medical insurance
- If you booked hotel accomodation then don’t forget to give their contact details to your family members. Always make sure that they can get in touch with you through any means. (Though this is your personal choice, we always update accomodation details + alternate contact number to our parents)
B.Health & Medicine :
- If you have a medical history don’t forget to take documents related to that. Also pack child’s vaccination based details, your prescriptions and other information which might be useful in a new country.
- For UK you need to have a chest XRay done in Apollo and that report is valid for only a certain period of time. Similarly if you have any other mandatory checks to be done for the country you move plan accordingly.. Finish off all dental, eye based check ups here in India itself before moving 😉 They are expensive there
- Buy Vicks,Calpol,Sanitary Napkins, Pampers, Crocin,Volini Spray, Band-Aid and other basic essential items.
- Buy Medical Insurance. This is generally valid for upto 30 days in the new country. For Ireland, having a Medical Insurance was compulsory on the day of travel and hence we bought it from ICICI
C.Finance and Bank related work :
- IT companies give you a temporary Travel FOREX card that can be used until we create an account in the new country. Check with your organization and collect it accordingly. Apart from that I will also suggest you to take some cash (the appropriate currency) with you for emergency purposes.
- You can either convert the existing indian account to NRI account or you can open a new NRI account in Banks for easier transaction of money from abroad. You need to check with the concerned banks where you hold account and proceed with their instructions
- Sign and provide authorization letters to your family member if you want them to access your bank locker and stuff.. Again this is a personal decision and am just suggesting you to complete all the relevant bank works before moving abroad. Updating personal details in Bank (change of phone number if any), change of communication address to Banks if required
- Cancel or redirect your bank statements (if you receive anything monthly)
D..What clothes to buy :
From my personal experience if you are moving to a colder place I will suggest you to buy winter clothing from there itself.rather than shopping from India. First main reason is the weight and the space such clothes occupy. Secondly you can choose from a wide variety of seasonal clothing and it is cheaper comparitively. You can buy a simple Jacket, stole, Sweater and dress in layers if you are travelling during winter.
Apart from winter clothing you can buy basic Tees, formal work wears, shoes, inners, jeans and other day to day wear. Based on your luggage allowance shop wisely. Also don’t forget to pack formal shoes, ordinary shoes, pair of socks, slippers, belt, bath towels, hand towels etc. You need to put a small list for each and every member in the family and buy things needed so that you won’t miss any important item.
E.Gadgets to Pack :
- Mobile Phones & Chargers
- Battery Charger
- Bluetooth Speakers
- Hard Disks
- HDMI Cable
- Extension Boxes
- USB chargers
- Fitbit watch,Charger
Buy a cable organizer like the one below to carry all the wires, cables and connectors. Shiva bought it from Amazon.
F. Poojai Things
- Swami Photos
- Small Silver lamp
- Agarbathi stand
- Pancha Paathram
- Pithalai Thambalam
- Pithalai Sombu
- Golu dolls for Navarathri
- Basic Sloka books
- Dheebarathanai thattu
- Extra Poonal, Tharbai set (you can get this in Giri Traders)
- A small pack of Black Sesame Seeds (just in case if Ammavasai comes in a day or two after landing you dont have to miss Tharpanam
- Pressure Cookers – 2
- Kadai,Frying pan – 2
- Dosai Tawa
- Small frying pan for Appalam, Vadaam
- Vessels suitable for both gas + induction base
- Spoons & ladles
- Plastic Containers (for storage)
- Zip lock covers (for packing powders)
- Tadka Pan
- Baking related trays (if you have)
- Idli cooker
- Appam chatti, paniyaram kal
- Murukku Press
- Extra Gaskets for cooker
- Kettle,Juicer,Hand mixer (if you already have at your Indian home you can use them abroad with adapter)
- Kitchen knives, scissors, screw driver set,safety pins (also these sharp objects should only be carried in Check-in baggage)
- Indian Mixie. I brought my Preethi Galaxy mixie this time to Ireland. Have used Preethi brand’s Butterfly in London. Love their quality & durability.
H. Powders to Prepare & Pack (this is based on our preference.You can pack your favs)
- Sambar Powder
- Rasam Powder
- Idli Molagapodi
- Garlic Podi
- Paruppu Podi
- Sathu Maavu kanji powder & other porridge powders if you are travelling with baby or toddler. When we moved to Ireland Aadhu was nearly 2 years. So we packed few porridge powders for her
The moment you land in a new country you can’t go shopping. Have a separate pouch for these items (better to pack shampoos & lotions in a ziplock bag) and keep them in Check-In luggage since taking liquids in cabin luggage might have restrictions. I bought these pouches from Roja Stores Tambaram and you can use them to pack accessories, toiletries etc
- Shaving lotion
- Sanitary Napkins
- Deodrants and Perfumes
- Sticker pottu
- Pen (Put one ballpen in handluggage. You might need it while filling immigration forms)
Important Things to take care here in India before leaving
- Cancelling Internet Connection, Dish TV subscriptions, magazine, newspaper suscriptions, return water cans etc
- If you aren’t going to need your LPG domestic connection you can go the dealer and ask them to deactive the connection
- If you have a postpaid mobile number you can convert it to a prepaid number with the same provider. You can just have a minimum balance + put that SIM in a separate mobile so that you can still receive OTPs and other messages related to your Bank even if you live outside India. Not sure about other providers but we receive SMSs promptly in Airtel
Things to take care in the country you will be landing :
- If this is your first onsite travel and if you already have colleagues from your team there, ask them and find out the availabilty of Indian stores and other essential things. Based on that you can pack stuff from here.
- Plan for the initial accomodation from India itself..If you are travelling with kid book a hotel with Kitchenette or if you find good AirBNBs you can book them too. When we moved to Ireland with little one we couldnt find a room with kitchenette and the little one ate only frenchfries, hashbrowns, yogurt,porridges,milk and other store bought bread/bun 🙆😝 Luckily there was one average Indian restaurant nearby our stay and we managed to get some Rice & Daal for her dinner.
- Share your accomodation details with family
- Always have local currency as cash. Though nowadays there ATMs everywhere it is always better to carry cash and use it as soon as you land
On the day of travel :
- Make sure you have all the travel documents ready
- Do web check-in if possible
- Ensure you have not packed items that are restricted by your Airlines. Read their website before and make a note of items that should not be carried
- Check the weight of the luggages and keep everything ready. Do not wait until last minute to finish packing
- Book cab for pickup
- Pack food if needed.. Have always packed Idli Molagapodi, Variety Rice/Chapathi during travel. Make sure you don’t pack any liquid sides with it. Place the food dabbas inside a ziplock bag
- I have already added a separate post on what to pack for kids/toddlers while travelling and also tips on how to prepare if you are travelling alone with kid. You can check the post here
This is such a vast topic and have tried to add as many info as possible. If I remember any more details shall add it in this post. Wishing you goodluck with the move. Hope this guide was helpful