Ex-pat packing: 6 things country leavers should be sure to take with them when they go

It may be that you’re heading to the remote swathes of the UAE deserts, or the jungles of South America to teach some English abroad, or perhaps you’re hitting a foreign city for that coveted office job and promotion. Whatever your reason for leaving your homeland, be sure to check off this list of essential items while you pack…

Essential documents

Perhaps a little obvious, but unquestionably essential nonetheless, packing the proper documentation and forms is a must for any budding ex-pat leaving home. That means everything, from sealing up your financial accounts and checking all your visa papers are in order, to making sure you’ve got the right insurance and printing off the plane tickets for the ride out. It may be worth putting the lot together in a single document case, or e-mailing yourself digital copies, so it’s all accessible from the Cloud.

A pocket WiFi connection

With most ex-pats now leaving home to work (and just a select few enjoying the financial freedom to escape and kick-back on the Costa del Sol), staying connected is more important than ever. That’s why new technologies like the wireless router and USB roaming connectors are on the up, and make a great addition to any traveller’s line-up of gadgetry; allowing for easy web access at places like airports and coffee shops abroad, and making sure there’s never any downtime from the job.  Make sure you consider the costs of data roaming though!

A phrase book

Okay so this one may not go for those lucky ex-pats bound for a country that shares their native tongue, or those skilled in the vernacular themselves, but it’s very important for any leavers heading for the exotic climes of a land that speaks a language they don’t know. Yes, the chances are you will be able to get by with simple English and dramatic hand movements to boot, but that may not be the case, and on the whole, local people have a certain respect for those who try!

A Dual SIM phone

Why so many ex-pats continue to fuss with two separate handsets—switching over their SIM cards to their primary phone whenever they move between countries—is a mystery to a great many travellers in tune with the latest tech. Today, there’s now such a wealth of affordable dual SIM phones on the market that there’s really no excuse to keep fumbling about with those little chips, especially when the alternative means enjoying the lower roaming rates and international call tariffs of dedicated traveller SIMs too!

Plenty of books

There’s nothing more frustrating for the avid reader than scouring a city for bookshops that sell novels in their native tongue, only to be faced with a few outdated periodicals in some off-the-beaten-track news kiosk, or dog-eared Maeve Binchy romances on the shelves of second-hand emporiums. So, to ensure your literary appetite stays sated for good, be sure to take oodles of books to keep you going—at least until you can head back home to refill, or join the rest of the 21st century in the electronic format!

Creature comforts

You can’t get Tim Tams in Europe, and the Slavic states seem to have something against Marmite. In America you sure won’t have brown sauce with your scrambled eggs and vegetarian sausages are nowhere to be found in Moscow. Put simply, stock up on your favourite creature comforts before leaving town—even if it means packing a freezer bag to keep the perishables alive.