5 Un-Obvious Things to Pack on your Carry-On when Moving Overseas

While Rainier will help with all the planning and coordination of moving overseas, you still may forget some of the simpler things like what to pack for that long flight to your new home. Other than typical items like reading materials, electronics chargers, and all money and forms of ID, there are a few un-obvious essentials you may want to put on your checklist in order to help make the experience enjoyable instead of stressful.

1. Bathrobes
A bathrobe is definitely something you’ll want right when you get off the plane. While all your items are in transit or still in boxes a bath robe works as an extra blanket, towel, or even a wrap to wear around the house, it can be a perfect substitute.  It’s great to pack in your carry-on because it can double as a pillow and makes a great protective layer for your toiletry kits in the case of a spill. If you’re travelling with children, Crazy for Bargains are a must-pack as they can provide a small comfort of home once you arrive in your new one.  If it is summer you may want to check out stores like CrazyforBargains.com since department stores only carry kids robes seasonally.

2. Flip-Flops or slippers
Spending 12 hours in your walking shoes can get extremely uncomfortable, so it’s a good idea to have a lightweight change of shoes. You can find foldable, lightweight travel slippers on Amazon.com that take up a tiny amount of space and add almost no weight to your carry-on.  They’re also great to have when you first get to your new home in case you need to do some cleaning or the weather gets your shoes muddy. You don’t want to start off your new life with mud on the floor!

3. Noise-cancelling headphones
Unless the sounds of airplanes gently soothe you to sleep, you’re going to want to invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Not only can they block out the ambient noises of the plane, but also crying babies and noisy seatmates. You might also find them useful once you’re in your new location. There might be new sounds you may not be used to and keep you up at night during your first week.

4. A change of clothes and miniature toiletries kit
With the combination of the stale airplane air, numerous hours in the same clothes, and less-than-sparkling airport facilities, feeling clean may seem like a far-away luxury.  But a sample size (nonflammable) aerosol or powder dry shampoo (under 3.4 oz) can solve your airplane bed-head, and portable no-rinse bath wipes can leave you feeling fresh and rejuvenated.  Use a travel toothbrush and bottled water when brushing your teeth on a plane. Packing a lightweight change of clothes can also make a world of difference during your voyage, and lets you view your new surroundings from a fresh perspective.

5. Eye Drops, lotion, and lip balm
Aside from the fact that the air inside airplanes is extremely dry, it’s great to have these items on hand when you get in-country because the environment may be extremely different than the one you left. Staving off dry skin and eyes can do wonders for your comfort level, and having these small items on hand can save hours of searching through boxes just to relieve your dry skin.

You’re about to depart on the trip of your life, so try to make sure the entire experience is one you’ll look back on fondly. Getting there is just another part of your new adventure, and should be no less enjoyable than settling in will be.

Helping Prevent Culture Shock

Relocating overseas can be a bit overwhelming at times, especially if you’re moving to a place with entirely different customs and culture than what you’re used to.  Once you’ve moved past the honeymoon stage of being in a new and exciting environment, culture shock can set in and affect even the most seasoned world travelers.

Anything from adapting to a new climate, unfamiliar living conditions, and being separated from family and friends can contribute to culture shock.  While there aren’t any guaranteed cures, there are a few tips you can follow to help your transition go as easily as possible.

Stay in Touch with Family and Friends

These days, online communication tools like Skype and iChat can help make it easier than ever to stay in contact with the ones you love. Try to make regular phone dates with family and friends, and send each other regular care packages that integrate each other’s lives. For example, include them in local holidays and celebrations by sending traditional gifts and souvenirs, and have them regularly send you little reminders of home.
When it comes to receiving packages from your family and friends, if you read over your Rainier Overseas Guide to International Shipping you know that there are various fees that may be applied at the border. Import duties and customs inspection are just two of the minor inconveniences that can add up to be a real pain. If your family wants to send gifts to China,  for example, you might suggest they use an international gifting service in order to avoid any of these inconveniences.  This is also a great way for them to send flowers or small “thinking of you” gifts without worrying about customs regulations or shipping standards.

Get Involved with the Locals

Learning the language and making friends in your new home can help ease the feeling of being an outsider. The more you get involved and learn about your new surroundings the easier it might be to gather your bearings and discover your new favorite local restaurant or the perfect park to go jogging. Learning the language might not only help you gather your bearings in your new surroundings, but might also help locals view you as a new member of their society instead as just a traveler passing through.
Making friends with other expats and transplants may also be a good idea in order to have someone to share your experiences and maybe offer advice on how to adjust. It can be nice to have someone to talk to that has gone through your same situation and can offer reassurances and tips from personal experiences. If you are moving to a larger city try locating organizations and clubs for expats you can join to introduce you to your new environment.

Research the Culture

There may be some things you just can’t learn from walking around, like the history and traditions of your new country. Do research to discover the superstitions and culture to help prevent making a faux pas. For example, in Japan the numbers four and nine are considered extremely unlucky, and eating beef in India is extremely frowned upon.
Researching the culture may also leave you better prepared to celebrate the local holidays in earnest. When you fully understand the meaning behind the celebrations and behind the traditions, it might be easier to really embrace them and adopt them as your own new customs.  Another benefit you may see form researching the traditions and history is why people in your new home behave the way they do or adhere to certain principles. Use this experience as a learning opportunity.
Relocating to a new country can be the most exciting adventure of your life if you think of it as just that- an adventure. By embracing your new surroundings and taking steps to help ease the shock of adjusting to a new life, it can be a wonderful experience you’ll cherish forever.