It seems India is a poppin’ place to move to right now! I’ve been getting emails left and right from people who want to move here and they have questions on what to pack. Being an expat in India is amazing, but even “good” stores here don’t carry as high in quality items as stores back home (and if you do find them, it won’t be at an affordable price). It’s best to come prepared.
These tips may help for all countries not just in Asia, but probably all over the world.
Check out my two other posts about packing to move abroad:
- American Moving to India Packing List Part 1: Beauty & Hair
- American Moving to India Packing List Part 2: Everything Else
…well, turns out it wasn’t everything else in that last article, ha ha. The things I get asked about the most that I didn’t mention are luggage which I’ll hit on here, and clothing another post I’ll follow-up with.
Moving Abroad Luggage You Need
1. Large sturdy suitcase. I have the Delsey Luggage Helium Shadow 25 Inch Exp. Spinner. I love it and didn’t see any reason to go larger because it would go over the weight limit. I can fill this one to the brim and since it’s hard-back everything is safe inside for my flight across the world. This is what I use to fly back and forth from the US to India. This is also great for longer non-backpacking trips like visiting Ben’s family. For best Delsey rates use Amazon or check Macy’s for sales.
2. A second bag to check. You could get another rolley-bag but I don’t and this is the reason: as an expat when you fly to your home country you may only need to take one bag (and not pay extra luggage fees) and when you fly back from your home country to your expat home you’ll most likely have two bags full of stuff. Basically, you’ll end up with a lot of suitcases in your expat home. For that reason, my second bag was an REI Crestrail 65L Backpack because I knew I’d use it on backpacking trips around Asia. Usually checking a second bag costs around 100 USD. For REI purchases you’ll get the best deals directly on their website.
my rolling carry-on
3. A rolling carry-on. I’m kind of past taking a backpack everywhere as actually a rolling suitcase is small, convenient, and cute! I have a matching silver one to my 25″, the Delsey Luggage Helium 19 Inch Carry-On. I take this to anywhere I stay 3 days to a week. It’s great for flying domestically in India which I do often. Perfect for weekend getaways. I love that it comes forward in the front for your laptop or fits a neck pillow perfectly.
4. A smaller backpack. This is for when a rolling one just won’t do: camping trips and one night stays, usually overnight train travel, and sleeper buses. I use an REI Traverse 48L Backpack which is perfect size and can be compressed to look much smaller than it is, if it isn’t full but can be stretched to fit a lot. I actually use this bag when I fly home to Ohio as a carry on instead of my rolling bag because it can hold more. Carry-ons have a weight limit, but usually they don’t bother to check so I fill mine with lots of heavy things. Basically, your first time heading to your expat country you have to choose only one carry-on bag, either rolling or backpack. The backpack will fit more, so best to take that then the next time you go home, don’t take a carry-on on your flight (as all you should take home is souvenirs or you just have to lug it all back) and bring the rolling one next. You can also do as I did and have a friend bring it as their carry on and leave it with you.
5. A SMALL backpack or “frontback”. Good for quick day trips, hikes, or as a second bag along with your backpack to carry your electronics in. It comes in handy all the time like trips to local waterfalls, walking around during my gomowgli tour, or even picking up veg at the market. I have two: a cute tan canvas one from We Travel Far which can be rolled up and fit in anything, and I have a school size one from Just Porter which is pretty hardcore and makes my feel like my computer and everything else is safe. When moving abroad, pack this inside your big suitcase. You could maybe get away with this as your “purse” or “laptop bag” that you can bring along with a carry-on, but best to stuff it inside.
on the left is my Just Porter bag on an Indian train, and right is the cute canvas backpack from We Travel Far, & below is a shot of the pockets of the Just Porter bag which I take all over India! I told them about this post, and they offered to give you guys 20% of their bags with discount code Hippie20% (I don’t make commission from this, it’s just a bonus for you!)
6. A tote. You can take on the plane one carry-on and one personal item. You’d be surprised what you can get away with. But to be safe, I usually take my Fossil Tote Bag which I keep my laptop and absolute plane necessities in. I use this all the time in India anyways so it’s kind of perfect.
So, that’s it, the luggage you need to have to move abroad. It seems like a lot but really 5/6 you can bring your first time heading over. You’ll have to start thinking of your new expat home as a real home and with that in mind take things you would use. Since you’re an expat, you probably travel a lot and you’ll want options. Having all 6 of these will make travel abroad from your expat home easier.
You can buy things abroad but as an American that’s been to 25 countries I have come to believe nowhere has as good of deals as the US. You can wait for Macy’s sales or check out TJ Maxx but you’ll find high quality name brand luggage at an affordable price, while in India most at the markets is knock-off and I don’t even trust the Samsonite store in Panjim. So I’d rather buy it once and have it a lifetime, or at least the 10 years it’s in warranty.
Want to shop for luggage? If you’re going to buy luggage, please consider doing so through links on this page; the ones to Amazon give me a commission to help run this blog at no extra cost to you ;)
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