Getting ready for an international move: Packing Tips

Travel, suitcase, airplane

(This is a post by our new blogger, Megan Lester. She will be writing for Best Au Pair Guide on a regular basis, and we happy to have her! Her bio is below)

Conquering the Suitcase/Carry-on:

In a few days I will be flying overseas to spend another year in Germany, which means this week is packing week. One checked bag (40 lbs.) and one carry-on (my trusty backpack) are almost all I need for my time abroad … almost. This post is about how to make the most of your limited packing space: what to leave behind and tricks that can make all the difference.

BUY THINGS THERE

This tip depends, of course, on where you are going. As I am headed to rainy/sunny/snowy Germany, it would seem wise to bring snow boots, a snow jacket, a rain jacket, hats, scarves, etc. But these items alone would take up half of my suitcase and up to a quarter of my weight limit, which is why I am leaving them behind. The clothing and accessories sold in your new country will not only suit the land’s climate (probably better than your clothes do anyway), but will also match the locals’ style. Save room, time, and hassle by buying especially cumbersome items while abroad. When it starts to snow in Germany, finding a chic coat won’t be any trouble at all.

STUPID CLOTHES

We all have stupid clothes. Old track shirts from high school, puke-colored shorts … this isn’t just me, right? I always pack some ‘stupid’ clothes when moving abroad, and here’s why: losing ugly shorts at a hostel is no big deal. Throwing away an old shirt to make room for a souvenir is no big deal. Having an outfit that is fair game to get dirty opens you up to getting dirty. Interpret that as you will. Stupid clothes are comfortable and convenient, but ultimately disposable, which can be a lifesaver on weeklong trips to hot, muggy cities or for camping at a national park.

CARRY-ON MUSTS

A day of flying is exciting and exhausting, but mostly gross. I bring a few things in my carry-on to make me feel a little more human at the end of the day: Wet Wipes, lotion, chapstick, Downy Wrinkle Release, and gum. Wet Wipes make for clean hands in a pinch, improvised showers during unexpected delays, and quick-cleanups for spills and surprises. You can get wipes with alcohol, which also act as stain removers (if prone to spills), or fancy face wipes for a refreshed face after transatlantic trips. Lotion and chapstick obviously keep my skin from turning into scales when on those mega-dry airplanes. Downy Wrinkle Release makes your clothes look and smell good after long days of traveling. If you’re meeting someone at the airport whom you want to impress, a well-timed spritz of wrinkle release can freshen an outfit effortlessly. Gum is a must-have for releasing pressure from your ears on planes, getting fresh breath without a toothbrush, and making friends with your seatmates on long flights.

The most important tip when packing for a move is just to pack appropriately. Search online for your city’s weather, fashion, trends, etc. so you know how to be comfortable and fit in. These other tips will hopefully supplement your packing prowess and get you ready for your international move.

I’d love to hear from readers – what do you do to get ready for a move? Any packing tips that you swear by? Share in the comments below!

Megan Lester is a graduate from the University of Portland where she studied English and German. She recently moved to Hamburg, Germany on a Fulbright scholarship and finds her new home ganz schön.

Au Pair, travel, and language programs in – China!

China

(photo courtesy of the Asia Kids Society)

Have you ever thought about working as an au pair in China? If so, I just found out this week about an organization that can help you get there. The LOHO Centre in Beijing offers people au pair jobs, internships, and other work and language programs throughout travel. It’s also part of the IAPA (the International Au Pair Association), so it’s legit.

I don’t have numbers to prove this, but I would think that China is still a bit off the beaten path as far as au pairing goes. But apparently they have a very large number of host families looking for au pairs to come work for them. The agency also says that they have an increasing number of au pairs coming in from Western countries, which I can imagine is true.

So if the Chinese language, culture, and people are fascinating to you and it’s a place you would like to find out more about living and working in, take a look!

 

Summer program for Au Pairs in Italy

Venice pic

Photo courtesy of dreamstime

This is a guest post by Silva, an American who recently moved to Trento, Italy with her husband. Silva is an English teacher and volunteer at InCo, helping match host families with au pairs.

Italian families are looking for English-speaking au pairs for summer 2014!

InCo (Interculturitå e Comunicazione) is a non-profit organization that began in 2004 and is located in Trento, Italy. It is an organization geared towards bringing cultures and people from all over the world together, giving them the chance to experience a different country, language, and culture. This is done by creating positions in which volunteers or au pairs can live and work in a new city and/or country.

The organization is currently looking for au pairs who are interested in going to Italy for three months this summer. Host families are looking for au pairs that are from the US, United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, and Germany. Au pairs should have some child-care experience, and of course, enjoy travel and foreign language. Host families also look for au pairs that are creative, responsible, fun loving, and love to be around children!

Itay is a country full of color, laughter, shouts, delicious food, and beautiful sceneray. With a bus or train you can reach lakes, mountains, or a different city. Italians are also known for enjoying life to the fullest, whether it’s vacation, family, or enjoying the traditional aperitif with friends in the evening. It is a country worth experiencing!

Living with an Italian family is a wonderful and enriching experience – au pairs will learn a new language, try traditoinal Italian dishes, and see and experience something new almost everyday. Italian families are highly family-oriented, and au pairs are welcomed as one of the family.

Anyone interested in the summer program can contact Silva at silva.e03@gmail.com

 

Poll: What are the top Au Pair destinations for 2012?

travelSince we are starting out the new year, I would love to hear from au pairs – and anyone thinking or dreaming about going abroad in 2012.

Where are you thinking about going? Which places keep you up at night wishing you could see? Is there more than one place you would consider working as an au pair? I worked as an au pair in Germany and loved it, but as I was am pretty much obsessed with all things French, I sometimes wonder whether I should have gone to France instead …

But what about you? If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Please let us know in the comments field – and yes, you are allowed to list more than one top destination!