The most useful packing tips and entertaining expat stories I run across usually come from military expat families. Nobody has a better game plan then military spouses when it comes to moving to different locations around the world. When the order to ‘move out’ gets handed down these families know how to plan, organize and budget on the fly. I spoke with three military families who have a pretty good amount of overseas moves under their belts that shared some of their secrets on how to pack for going abroad.
Tip #1 Pack and Ship your most important everyday household necessities
“In order to make our families lives a little easier during our six to eight weeks wait before our main household shipment to arrives, I organize the bare essentials we need immediately and ship it ahead of our move. I pack a set of towels, pots and pans, plates, a few of the kids toys and bath items and ship them using a quick shipping service like UPS. I like to have these items waiting the moment we get to our new destination.”
…S. Harris, Guam (8 relocations)
People who frequently move know the difficulties of navigating an unfamiliar area. You have to budget yourself a little bit the first few months, sometimes there is a lack of immediate transportation,or even just a limited knowledge of the area can make it rough to replace anything you need immediately. If you are moving overseas or long distances you need to be able to wash and eat right away until you are able to get out and explore the area and do some shopping. By having a set of towels, soap, can opener, and basic utensils you able to rough it until the moving truck arrives.
Tip #2 Plastic is a cheap and easy way to pack quick and save space
“I am a huge fan of plastic storage bags. They are great if you are relocating to a humid or rainy climate. I also use a lot of plastic bags to quickly gather and pack clothing that’s on hangers and preserve them from mold or moths. I use quick vacuum garment bags and I am packed in minutes. Presto our clothes are protected and take up almost no room in the boxes or closet. Takes me 15 mins to pack the whole closet and 5 mins to put it away.”
…K. Pattersen, Puerto Rico (5 relocations)
Plastic bins and plastic space bags are great for gathering the underwear and sock drawers together quickly. You don’t want the movers to sort through and pack your personal items so it’s a good idea to spend a few minutes and place them in plastic space bags that are air tight. Storage bags are cheap and reduce the amount of space clothes can take up in your suitcase or boxed shipment. Just be sure that if you are moving to a country that has a humid climate, do not store wool fabrics in plastic. And do use air tight bags for paper documents such as legal documents because humidity will destroy paper quickly.
Tip #3 Document the condition of your home
furnishings before you move
“My husband likes to take a video using his mobile phone of all of our household items before we leave. I am pretty glad he did when our furniture got damaged. The military moving insurance covered it but you got to have proof it was not damaged before you left.”
….R. Mendoza Germany (8 relocations)
Most of the time everything gets moved without a problem but damages can happen. Moving companies or in some cases the military claims office will cover most loss or damages and it is a good idea to take photos or video of the condition of your household items before you leave for safety reasons. It’s easy to be reimbursed if a container catches on fire but on the other hand if your table shows up with three legs or scratches across the top who’s to say the movers are to blame? With Scan Disk Connect TM Wireless Media Drive you can store and retrieve all of your photos, videos, and more instantly from an app on your mobile phone. No need to burn your images to disk or search the house for a lost memory stick or your phones usb cable. All you need to do is get a ScanDisk Drive, add your wifi access code and instantly you can store and access your files from any of your mobile phones or computers. Now with your photos quickly and safely stored away your ready to go.