Things to Pack if You are Moving Away From Homeland

15 October 2019

You are preparing to move to a foreign land from the homeland and you don’t know where to start shopping. I am assuming you haven’t been to this unknown land before so you don't know what you actually need. I’ve been there. A decade ago when I moved to New Zealand. And I’ve helped so many others via personal messages, to navigate this shopping maze. A reader suggested I should write about it, so here we are. I blog to help you all so your request is my mandate.
I’m assuming you are a female but honestly, even if you are male, the same checklist applies.

I am also assuming you are moving out of India. This post would still apply to you if you are not an Indian, but I can only talk from experience so India it is!
So here’s what’s needed from the homeland in my opinion-

Insurance - It’s a must. Be it Travel or Student or whichever type that applies to you and your current circumstances.

Medicines if any- Carry a bulk lot with your doctor's prescription. Keep prescriptions along with the medicines in your luggage and declare these medicines to customs officers.

Note: Always pack your own bag making sure there isn’t any item in it that is not allowed in the country you are going (for example NZ doesn't allow fresh food, plant material, honey (no hair removal wax), wooden articles, etc. Every country has different rules. Check their customs website.

Kitchen Essentials- Every mainstream country has Indian shops unless you are moving to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. You can get basic Indian groceries and cooking equipment from there. However, if your luggage limit allows, I'd suggest a few that will save you money- Chakla (Indian rolling board), Velan (Indian rolling pin), Tava (Indian roti girdle?), some basic steel dabba/container with lid, steel masala box, spoons & forks and general cutlery, a thaali or steel plate, a few steel bowls and glasses, a serving tray, pressure cooker (must).

If you like South Indian food then an idli steamer and dosa tava are recommended. Also nice to have are a Paranth (steel dough vessel), colander, chai strainer, a decent cooking pan, kitchen grater, etc. It is not to say that you don’t get these basic kitchen things abroad but these essentials can be tricky to find when you are new to a place. Plus they cost a lot more. Having them sorted beforehand will get your Indian kitchen established from the get-go.

Tip: Don't pack fork and knives in hand-luggage. Anything that can be used to hurt someone on the plane is prohibited. Abu Dhabi airport once discarded a rope in my husband's bag. Always pack such sharp objects in checked-in luggage.

Skincare- Got a favourite moisturizer or face wash? Buy multiples of it. Ensure the expiry date is long. This was me with Forest Essentials stuff when I came to NZ a decade ago. This applies to your favourite concealer or makeup item too, especially the ones made by an indigenous brand.

Hair waxing needs- If you’ve been getting your arms and legs waxed, I suggest going to a beauty parlour/salon in India for a day or two and learn self waxing. I’ve been doing it for a decade and it’s probably saved me hundreds of dollars all this while. If the country allows carrying hair removal wax with you, carry a tin or two. NZ doesn’t and hence I buy my wax from Indian stores here.

A wax heater is a must buy. When you buy one, buy a travel adaptor as well because the power sockets will be different abroad.

Add to this list, an eyebrow threading thread roll and a good quality stainless steel tweezer.

If you shave your hair, you don't have to worry about all of these.

Learn Personal Grooming - I highly recommend paying and spending a day or two at your local parlour/beauty salon to learn personal grooming. It is totally possible to do your own eyebrows and upper lips. Even facials and hair trims can be done at home. If you are cash-rich, of course you can splurge for personal grooming in fancy salons abroad. I still feel it doesn’t hurt to be self-sufficient and saving your hard-earned money during student days.

Food- I know some relatives in Canada who carry Aata (wheat flour) and other essentials as well when they depart from India. However, check the rules of the country you are travelling to be sure of what food you can carry.
If you can carry food, do pack some homemade food for eating on the way and also having leftovers when you reach your destination. It’s like a warm hug. Arriving hungry and missing home is already worse enough.
You can also carry your favourite tea or homemade masala or pickle as well. Just label the containers with a clear ingredient list. I tend to pack my food in a separate luggage bag, away from all the clothes in case something leaks.

Bedsheets and Quilt- It depends on whether you’ll be moving to a furnished place or unfurnished one, but I’d still suggest picking a bedsheet/bedspread or two. The first time my husband came to NZ, he even got a quilt/duvet. I know many who brought a quilt or blanket from India. They love it. It makes sense too as you don’t want to shiver in cold the first night in your new country. They cost mighty dollars abroad and guess what! most of them are made in Asian countries. So you might as well carry your own. Pick one that is warm and lightweight. I hear there are also options now to get them vacuum-packed so they don't take up much space in your luggage.

Undergarments- It’s a good idea to invest in good undergarments and lingerie from the homeland. Different countries have different sizes and some don’t even allow returns on things like underpants so it’s best to get a good few pairs to cover you for a year or so. Socks, bras, underpants, a warm hat/cap, etc. You get the drift right?

Your Traditional Outfits- I'm sure you've packed some of these? There is no better feeling than donning yourself in colours of homeland during a festival. It's best to pack some lightweight ones that can be worn across multiple occasions. My Punjabi phulkari suit and dupattas are my prized possessions.

Backpack or Handbag- A handy backpack/handbag if you are a student. You can totally buy this at your new place if you are looking to buy some trendy one.

Sort out roaming plan on your phone- If you are not likely to have wifi or stable internet when you reach the destination, it’s a good idea to extend roaming on your current phone plan from home country.

Eyesight checkup and Glasses- Get your eyesight checked and if glasses are needed, get one and then a backup or two as well.

Get your dental check-up done- Get them cleaned, scaled, fill any cavities, etc. Dental costs are often not covered by insurance and the costs are truly astronomical in western countries.

This list is by no means exhaustive, nor can it ever be complete. This is all I can think of at the top of my head. Most of this stuff, I still bring back from homeland even after being in New Zealand for over 10 years. Some stuff like skincare has now been replaced by NZ brands, slowly but surely. I still get my dental check-ups and clean-ups done in India. I also indulge in facials and waxing done by another human when I go back home. It’s my luxury treat.

If you are on the move, I suggest looking around your current surroundings and carefully paying attention to the things you use every day that you might have to repurchase when you move to another country. If your luggage weight limit allows, its best to organise stuff here in homeland while you have the time and resources. Moving to a different country and lifestyle is hard both physically and mentally. Having your stuff sorted will give you some time to enjoy your new surroundings, without worrying about going on a shopping frenzy and calculating the exchange rate at every purchase. If you like shopping, there will still be opportunities to purchase essentials, because no matter how much stuff we carry, there’s always going to something missing and we’ll never find anything to wear.
I hope this helps some of you. I’d love to know if there’s anything else you’ll like to add to it. Please list it in the comments below. It will be helpful to someone for sure.
Happy moving and best wishes


P.S. I ended up taking two lots of photos for this blog post. One in my real kitchen and another is a flat lay on the white background as you've seen above. Tell me which ones do you like more? I quite like the dark, moody shots in the kitchen. What's your pick?

Post a Comment

Latest Instagrams

© LIPS n BERRIES. Design by FCD.