(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.
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.
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.