When moving life abroad, it’s hard to know what to pack and what to leave behind. During my first year teaching in Thailand I often found myself thinking about things I should have brought with me, and when I moved to Vietnam I made sure I packed them. This list is generally for females but some items might be useful for everyone!
This list has been made and based on my time living in South East Asia so may not relate to everywhere but hopefully it will still be helpful! I’d recommend packing these items or buying them as soon as you arrive in your chosen country. This list is in no specific order:
1. Hot water bottle
If you’re moving from England, most other countries will be much hotter and this might skip your mind when packing. For females, a certain time of the month can be .difficult and inconvenient. Having a hot water bottle is very comforting, and instantly helps if you have cramps or other stomach bugs. As long as you have a kettle, or water boiler its an easy and quick way to manage the pain. Sometimes when moving to a new country the food can also disagree with you if you’re not used to it, a hot water bottle can really relieve your stomach pain!
Working long hours can always be draining. Having some tubes of soluble vitamins have really helped me at times this year. They are usually cheap to buy (I found some at ALDI), and small enough to squeeze into your luggage. They are a quick way to give yourself a little boost if you need some energy and are also useful if you feel like you are getting a cough or a cold. In South East Asia I’ve found that pharmacies like everything close for a few hours during the afternoons, so it may take a few days to find a good time to visit a pharmacy and pick up some medicine. Taking a soluble vitamin everyday can help tie you over until you’ve picked something up from the pharmacy.
3. Any prescribed medication and cystitis sachets
Prescribed medication is probably an obvious item on this list, however most of them will be available abroad if you run out. It’s easy to check if your medication is available in other countries by googling or asking your doctor.
The dreaded cystitis/ water infections are never fun, especially if you’re in a hot country. If you’ve never had one before you’re serious lucky, and I would still recommend picking up some sachets to take just in case. In Thailand I had one, and had friends get them, this seemed to be the hardest to explain to a pharmacist and the sachets you find in most supermarkets in the UK, were not available. BUY some just in case! They are very small sachets and you’ll usually get 6-8 in a pack, buy a few packs and throw them separately into your luggage and they won’t take up much space at all.
NOTE – the contraceptive pill is available in most pharmacies, google to check in case, however sometimes it can be awkward buying this over the counter, especially if you are living in a small town where everyone knows everyone. Stock up as much as you can before moving abroad and then once you run out it will be very easy to replace it.
If you are considered a normal size or bigger/tall in your home country (male or female), and you decide to move to Asia it will be difficult to find clothes that fit you once you arrive. I’ve chosen three types of clothes that are essential to buy before leaving your home country.
– formal/work clothes – office wear, shirts, trousers, anything fitted is best to buy before you arrive! If you decide to move abroad to teach, it will be stated in your contract what you will be expected to wear. If it’s not, it’s good to ask and find out.
– clothes appropriate for religious sites and cultural occasions – it’s very easy to get hold of baggy trousers from markets in South East Asia, but I’d recommend bringing a light cardigan, and something long that will cover your knees and shoulders just in case. Bringing these clothes will also double up to give extra warmth and comfort if it gets cold and if you ever take overnight transport.
– swimwear – bikinis are great for the beach and easy to find in beach towns but if you’re wanting to swim for fitness and use public swimming pools you’ll need to wear a one piece/swimming costume. There are strict rules in public swimming pools about what to wear. It’s not so strict for males, but females must wear a one piece.
NOTE – casual clothes will be easier to find in supermarkets and tourist markets.
Epilating is not everyones cup of tea, however if you can get used to it, I think it’s a great product to invest in. It’s also a good way of saving money by not having to buy razors or other hair removal products. I’d highly recommend using ‘Philips’ as a brand. They offer a 24 month warranty and soon after moving abroad mine broke. I contacted them and due to being abroad it wasn’t possible for me to send it back to be repaired and they sent me a replacement.
6. Sun cream
I’ve found it difficult to find sun cream outside big cities and beach towns. Usually its no cheaper, or more expensive than buying it in the UK. I’d recommend stocking up on sun cream if you find a sale and take a few bottles with you. I’d recommend the ‘Soltan’ brand from ‘Boots’ as it has mosquito repellant in it too, which saves money and space in your luggage as you don’t have to take bottles of both. They also offer an after sun product with insect repellant too.
7. Extension cable and universal adaptors
Extension cables can be bought once you arrive abroad or packed and they are really useful! Especially if you plan to take lots of electronics and chargers. There can sometimes be problems with not having enough plug sockets in the room so an extension cable solves this problem!
Universal adaptors can be pricey, but are also really useful, especially if you plan to work in Asia and travel, the different countries have different sockets. Once you’ve invested in one, it can be used worldwide.
8. A portable speaker
These have so many uses, especially if you plan to teach abroad. Students love music, especially if you teach kindergarten students! Generally, having a portable speaker is good to have in any group situation and really easy to pack too.
I hope this list is useful. If I have any more items to add to the list, I’ll update this post and please feel free to add a comment below.
Thanks for reading!