For some people, packing is part of their holiday experience, a fun exercise that builds anticipation about their upcoming trip. For other travelers, overseas packing is the bane of their existence. They dread it so much that they put off packing until the very last minute, which often leads to chaos, over-packed bags and forgotten items.
No matter which category you fall into, if you’re hitting the road to start a new career abroad, eventually, you’ll have to think about what to pack.
Now, before you throw yourself into a packing frenzy and dust off your suitcase, there are a few things to think about. Here you’ll find general packing tips and a packing list to travel abroad addressing the most important things you’ll need to pack, depending on your type of job and the weather at your destination:
In recent years, packing carry-on only has become a trend that many full-time travelers and digital nomads swear by. Whether you can travel carry-on only will depend somewhat on the type of job you’ll be doing, the climate zone you’ll be in and how minimalist you are when it comes to your overseas packing.
However, there’s nothing wrong with having a suitcase to check, especially if you’re going to have a home-base and won’t need to pack and unpack regularly.
So figure out whether you’ll be happy to cope with a slim selection of outfits, or if you’d rather have more choice, but a slightly longer wait at the baggage carousel.
Backpack vs. suitcase
This comes down to personal preference, but a few things to consider are whether you’ll be moving around a lot or staying in one location and whether the pavements in your new home are fit for pulling a wheeled suitcase around (this can be an issue on cobblestoned streets and in destinations with a lack of sidewalks).
Also, bring a smaller backpack or shoulder bag that can double up as your personal item on flights and as a day bag when you’re out and about.
Climate & location
Are you going to spend your time on a hot and humid tropical island, in a European city, or in Alaska? Always research the climate of your destination, as you might be surprised how different the weather is to what you expect—your packing list to travel abroad should reflect this. For example, Johannesburg in South Africa gets surprisingly cold in winter due to its high altitude. Temperatures are often below freezing at night, while daytimes are usually sunny and you’d be comfortable in a t-shirt.
If you do have to pack for multiple seasons, you should consider wearing multiple layers of thinner fabric, instead of packing bulky jumpers. It will keep you just as warm, and thinner items will take up less space and will be useful in other seasons too.