Moving abroad is an exciting, yet daunting experience. It means leaving behind the place you call home and setting up life somewhere new. You’ll need to arrive at your destination prepared with everything you need to make the transition easier.

If you’re shipping your belongings overseas, you’ll need to start packing in advance. Our handy guide outlines the essential items to take with you, along with top packing tips.

Packing boxes close up

The EssentialsPile of medical records

Pack a weekend bag with everything you need for the first few days of settling in, including toothpaste, glasses and nightwear.

Make sure you collect prescription medicine in advance and prepare a first aid kit. Also remember any important documents, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, medical records and school records. Scan these before you leave and email yourself copies in case they get misplaced.

Be aware that other countries have different products and branded goods for sale. Make sure to pack items that you won’t be able to find easily, such as your favourite brand of skincare.

Clothing and Shoes

Regardless of whether you’re avid about fashion or not, you need to pack clothing that’s appropriate for the destination. It’s a good idea to get clued up on the local climate and pack for all possible weather. For example, you may not require a thick winter coat if you’re moving somewhere warm all year around. Clothing donation box on wooden background

Think about the activities you’ll be getting involved in and what clothing this requires. If you’re planning to hike regularly, make sure you take your hiking boots with you. If you don’t already own any items you’ll need, wait until you get there to buy them.

To avoid cluttering your new home, it’s worthwhile to prioritise items. Ask yourself how often you wear a garment. If it’s been over a year since it last left your wardrobe, it’s time to declutter. For items you’re taking, consider rolling them instead of folding to avoid creases.

Decluttering can be difficult when you can think of a purpose for every item! Rehome your unwanted items by leaving them with charities, or make money by selling online. Alternatively, leave some outfits with your close family members for when you make return visits.


If you’re settling into furnished accommodation, you’ll need to think about what items may be missing. Perhaps your new home doesn’t have a dressing table, for instance. Make a list of what you don’t need to take, and prepare the rest for shipping.

If you’re starting with a blank canvas, it can be hard to feel at home. It makes sense to ship your existing furniture than replacing everything with lower quality items abroad. Make sure that any loose items like cupboard drawers are held into place or packed separately.


When it comes to electronics, think about what you use on a regular basis. You can probably ditch the VHS player if it’s collecting dust at home. Think about what you need for work and entertainment, which may include laptops, tablets and televisions. If you’re taking your computer, make sure you back up any files.Multiple electrical plugs in wall outlet

You’ll also need to consider whether the items will be suitable for the place you’re moving. Check the electricity outage and whether they are compatible. Plug sockets may also be different, so you’ll need enough adapters for the items you’ll take. Pack plugs, cables and electricals together, so you can easily set them up in your new home.

Sentimental Items

Sentimental items can help make your new house a home and help you adjust to your new life. Such items include books you enjoyed as a child, photographs, jewellery and letters. As these items are irreplaceable, make sure you pack them securely. Use bubble wrap or arrange items to prevent things from moving around.

Other ItemsGlobe in hand at the beach

There may be other items that are specific to your interests and lifestyle. Think about your daily, weekly and monthly activities. Do you have expensive sports equipment that you frequently use?  Pack your most used items together and unpack these first.

If you’re moving abroad, Andrews Shipping offers a trusted overseas residential shipping service. We take care of everything from your furniture to your car so that you can make your home away from home. Safely move your important items anywhere around the world with us!

For more information, call us on 0208 805 5588 or use our contact form for advice.