When we packed up our possessions for shipping a few weeks ago in London, we said goodbye to them for at least 2-3 months. Their journey involves a storage facility in the U.K., a container on a ship across the Atlantic, and finally an overland leg across the U.S. from New York to join us in California.
When we packed, we knew we would be living in temporary accommodation for at least two months. Even if our stuff arrived early, we would not have access to it. When deciding what made the cut, we asked ourselves the question:
“will I miss this to the extent that I might have to replace it within the next 3 months?”
What might I need?
Here are a few of the things we considered when deciding what to ship and what to take with us in our luggage:
#1 Seasonal clothing
We are fortunate to have moved in April, so shouldn’t need winter coats or heavy sweaters, but I almost forgot that it will morph into summer before all our stuff arrives. Pack for the season that’s coming as well as the one that’s here. (If you are moving to San Francisco, pack a coat, regardless of the season!)
#2 Special attire
Do you have any big events planned? Are you a guest at a wedding? Might you be invited to a fancy dinner? Do you have a sun/ski holiday booked? Pack a few occasion dresses, a suit or your bikini and shorts to avoid an expensive mistake.
#3 Office attire
Are you planning to interview for jobs when you arrive? Don’t forget to include any clothing, shoes or accessories that you might need to look respectable.
#4 Personal documents
Even after you have secured a visa, there are still plenty of other things you might need your official paperwork for (drivers licence, work permit, social security number etc.). Make sure to take anything important with you in your carry-on baggage (don’t forget a proof of address from your last place of residence).
#5 Spare mobile phone
We are operating on both U.K. and U.S. phones for the next few weeks. If we had remembered to bring an old phone, it would have been cheaper than having to buy a new one and a lot easier than switching back and forth.
#6 Sports kit
I shipped my hiking boots on the basis that I hadn’t used them for months in London. This was a pretty dumb move as it’s spring/summer in San Francisco and I want to hit the trails.
Shipping containers can and do get lost; so if there’s anything particularly precious to you, perhaps consider bringing it in your check in (or carry-on) baggage.
#8 Personal items
Finally, consider anything you might need to help you settle into your new home; is there a special family photo, favourite mug or a blanket that might make the first few weeks in a new place a little easier?