Deciding what to pack when moving overseas can be a daunting task. When moving abroad, it is nearly impossible to relocate all of your worldly possessions. This is commonly an impractical option due to the cost of shipping. Before you start the packing process, check out these tips on what to pack and what not to pack when moving overseas. 

Must-Have Items

Starting with your must-have items will allow you to determine the space you will have available for other items. Doing a little research on what items are available in the new location will help you decide on what is necessary to travel with or ship. 

Plugin Adapters

Whether you are relocating for a short period or relocating permanently, one thing to make sure you pack are plugin adapters. One of the first things you will need to do when arriving is to charge your phone or plug appliances like an alarm clock. This may require you to determine what type of electrical sockets are used. Different countries have a specific socket (some countries use more than one) that will require an adapter to fit your style of plug. 


Depending on your budget and the amount of time you are spending abroad may determine whether or not furniture makes the list of what to pack when moving overseas. If you are permanently relocating, it may make sense to research shipping costs to determine if it is more cost-effective to purchase new furniture upon arrival. 

Small Appliances 

Appliances such as toasters, air fryers, and other countertop appliances may not be compatible with the voltage in your new location. Additionally, some countries do not allow electronics or small appliances to be imported without paying additional taxes or duties to the country of import. Customers should always check with their Move Coordinator to get a list of items that can be shipped or imported. If you do plan to take along certain electronics, it is strongly recommended that original cartons be used and all moving parts be secured. Movers are not responsible for the mechanical operation of such items as televisions, stereo equipment, VCR’s, home computers, washers, dryers, or refrigerators unless there is evidence of neglect or mishandling. 

Don’t pack bulky items such as microwaves, refrigerators, printers, washers, and dryers. Often these appliances will not be compatible in other countries. 

Clothing and Shoes

When moving overseas, you will want to make sure that you pack clothing that is practical for the location. If moving to a warm destination, winter coats and scarves can probably be left behind. When deciding on what to pack when moving overseas, clothing is one of the bulkiest items you’ll pack, especially winter clothes. Making sure they are items that you actually need and love wearing will help you narrow down your closet.

Cookware and Kitchen Items

If you are someone who enjoys cooking and spent money collecting high-end cookware, you may want to make sure your new kitchen is just as equipped. Consider only taking items from the kitchen that can not be replaced. When it comes to household kitchen items, there are a few things that cannot be shipped including food and alcohol as well as aerosols, ammonia, charcoal, cleaning solvents, liquid bleach, and matches. So these things will need to be purchased new when you arrive in your new location. 

Sentimental Items

Now that you have a list of must-have items to pack when moving overseas, Here are some of the sentimental things that you will want to have with you to make your new location feel like home.


Photos will make your new space feel more comfortable and like home. Having pictures of friends and family will keep you connected to the ones you have left behind.

Consider taking them out of frames to make for easier, compact packing.


Jewelry holds a lot of sentimental value and can make you feel closer to your loved ones. Whether it be family heirlooms or friendship bracelets, these items will help keep you connected to back home. However, you should ALWAYS pack jewelry yourself and keep it with your personal items you will travel with. Never pack jewelry in the shipment with the rest of your items. It is not covered if there is theft.


Books are one of the heaviest items to ship, so being conscious of this will help lighten the load. It may be more practical to purchase ebooks or purchase material once you get settled into your new home. 

Holiday Decor

If you are moving overseas permanently, you may want to bring along some of your traditions. Holiday decorations are a great way to make your new space inviting during the holidays. They brighten up the space for your first holiday and can make spending time away from family an easier transition. 

These items may not include everything you need for your move overseas but is a great starting point to narrow down the number of possessions you will need to travel with or ship!

Other Items to Leave Behind

Moving companies like S&M Moving do not ship certain items including money (including old coins), stocks, bonds, jewelry, stamps, coin or match collections, guns, drugs, expensive furs, or important/irreplaceable documents. Also, anything considered to be flammable, combustible, explosive, corrosive, or having the potential for leakage such as:

  • Aerosols (any kind)
  • Gasoline Nail
  • Polish Remover
  • Ammonia
  • Lamp Oil
  • Paint
  • Ammunition
  • Liquid Bleach
  • Paint Thinner
  • Charcoal
  • Matches
  • Propane
  • Cleaning Solvents
  • Motor Oil
  • Sterno
  • Fertilizer
  • Propane Tanks
  • Food or Alcohol
  • Ink/toner cartridges 

Planning A Move Overseas?

Relocating can be both an exciting and a demanding time. When you’re ready to move you can contact your move manager for a detailed list of what you can and cannot bring with you. Moving you and your family into a new home requires extensive planning, organizing, and packing, whether you move across the country or to another part of the world. S&M Moving offers the most full-service relocation in the industry and can make your move abroad a hassle-free experience. Visit our website to learn more and to request a quote today!