What to Pack When Moving Abroad


The reason behind the phenomena is unclear, but I'm obsessed with packing. Predicting exactly what items will be needed is some sort of sick sport to me. I can recall my giddiness when in Africa, I could procure a Ziploc full of laundry soap or a voltage adapter for my friends out of my perfectly packed luggage. Therefore, moving to Colombia was the ultimate challenge, so here are my top 12 packing necessities when moving to teach abroad. 

1.) Canon G16 PowerShot: I sold my Canon Rebel and bought this smaller, more versatile camera. It's compact, has built-in wifi, and shoots full HD 1080p video. It's quality + convenience. 

2.) Herschel Supply Co. Backpack: Durable, stylish, and comfortable...the ultimate trifecta. Great padded sleeve for my laptop as well. 

3.) Space Saver Bags: I'm not entirely sure how I would have brought my work wardrobe and my adventure wardrobe without these (see: The Art of Packing an exactly 49.5 pound bag). 

4.) Universal Adapter Converter: Because we're planning on traveling to multiple countries over the next two years, I invested in a universal model. 

5.) Hiking Boots: Buy a pair that will last you many moons and miles...I plan on wearing the hell out of these!

6.) PayPal Debit Card: Sign up for one of these before you go anywhere out of the US. They charge a low 1% foreign transaction fee + you get 1% back on all signature purchases = FREE FOREIGN TRANSACTIONS. It's also great if you're traveling with others because it's easy to send equal sums to the account from online. 

7.) GoPro Hero 4: The innovative, wearable, and waterproof camera that captures the ride. 

8.) Kindle: A must-have if you love to read. It's light and the battery lasts for hours and hours. It's been especially handy in Colombia where books in English are hard to find. 

9.) Language Books like, Easy Spanish Step-by-Step: I love my Kindle, but if you're trying to learn a language, nothing beats the real deal. It's easier to flip back and forth in, you can make notes and actually complete the exercise.

10.) US Measuring Cups & Spoons: Because every where else in the world is rational. And they use the Metric system. So if you want to make your favorite recipes from home for new friends, come prepared. 

11.) Pillowcases: The first night I fell asleep in our new apartment in Colombia, I thought to myself, "I'm so glad I brought my pillowcases from home." It's a lot of comfort for a little space. 

12.) Battery Pack: This has been a life-saver in many "oh crap my phone just died" moments, especially while traveling or meeting up with people. 

The other necessities have proven to be prescriptions, scanned copies of important documents (Try the App TinyScanner to make this as pain free as possible), and an unlocked smart phone with WhatsApp downloaded.

Check your list twice. Ready, pack, GO!

Note: This post contains affiliate links, and I receive a small commission for your purchases at no additional cost to you. 



Ashley Peak

Teacher & traveler seeking bright sides and adventures. I recently left my position as a Title 1 middle school teacher in Spokane, WA for a position in Manizales, Colombia teaching English and Geography at a bilingual private school. I'm passionate about education in action, the power of literature, and traveling the world. Optimism Rampage is a place for me to reflect on the adventure. β€œStuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. see the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that . Shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.” -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451