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What to bring on an international move?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Alright, it looks very likely that we will be moving abroad in about 3 months time. We're trying to sell all our worldly possessions (this will be a permanent move) and figure out what we want to take with.

I'm trying to figure out what baby stuff we want to bring. We have one DD and we want at least one more kid (maybe two?) but definitely won't TTC for another year. So how much would you bring along? FWIW, getting quality clothes/cloth diapers/toys is VERY expensive there and could be 10x the price in the US depending on what it is.

I also want to plan out books in English for DD. Right now we're reading a lot of Dr. Seuss/Early Readers/Maisy books. She likes longer books with not too many sentences per page. What sort of English books should I get for the next 1-2 years for her? It won't be easy to get books in English there. The grandparents can send some but I don't want to be bugging them non-stop. We got to the library very often here (maybe once a week) and get about 10 books at a time, so I have no clue how I'm going to keep up with this there!

I have more questions but I have to run...
post #2 of 24
I think selling everything is a wise idea. Of course bring your treasured items that have meaning to you. But everything else can be bought again and/or you don't really need. And most appliances are toast, unless you buy a heavy and expensive converter for each room you want stuff in (depending on countries of course). So IMO, bring as little as possible.

And "permanent move" I have heard from SOOOO many people, and at least here, 50% of those end up not being permanent at all. Can't adjust to climate, culture, make new friends, spouse can't find an appropriate job, fill in the blanks.... and they go back. Or they move to 3rd country.

Which brings me back to bringing as little as possible.

And books - amazon.co.uk if you will be in europe (to avoid the tax from non eu) or amazon.com and you can get just about whatever you want in reasonable time frame (depending on your new country's postal system). Buy used - they are fine.
post #3 of 24
We've moved internationally twice since my first was born, once ourselves and once with the military.

Wow. I never really thought about that one. We're kind of nomadic. LOL. Anyway.

So, here's my advice:

--Bring books she wants now and then get relatives or friends to send them book rate as she gets older. Send books to someone there at the book rate (media rate) via USPS. Buy used. Pick up when you get there ten weeks later.
--Comfort items, teddy bear, whatever.
--PICTURES. In or out of frames. To set by the bed, put up on the walls. Picture albums of her life before so she can look at people she loves and recognize them.
--Money for a local to read to her in the local language. Bring her to local storytime; if there isn't one, have a local mother read to her. Or something. Read to their kids in English. Win-win!
--Teach your relatives how to use Skype NOW. Practice at home in different rooms of the house. Troubleshoot. Make sure they can get online and use it before you leave so your child or children can talk to them online. At your DD's age she may not stay in front of the camera long but it will pay off in the long run.
--If you have a favorite American dish that is a great comfort to you, bring small packets of spices to get you through until you can get to a very large city where they sell them, or have them sent. They will probably have oregano, but may not have basil. I've found allspice difficult to obtain, and nutmeg. Cardamom, depending on where you are. Turmeric will either be super easy or totally impossible. So just bring a little with you, in ziploc packets, those tiny ones. You can substitute grains and flours and even meats but the spices are irreplaceable.

For example, I'd have to drive hours to get tomatillos here. (And I'm military! We have the commissary! But no tomatillos.) So I'm having them sent USPS flat rate.

--Bring a bunch of flat rate boxes to whomever will send you comfort items. Medium, large.
--Power adapters for your laptops and phone chargers if you will keep your phones.
--Get a whole bunch of DD1's birth certificate, certified, sealed in envelopes, from the birth registrar in your state. Like ten copies or something. Yours too, DH's too. Originals. Believe me on this one, it's just better to have them and not use them than not have them and need them.
--Since you can't have two passports, see if you can get a photo ID for DD1 from your state's DoL. You will need your passports with you to travel but you can keep those bona-fide IDs in a safe somewhere. Copies of passports are great. Another photo ID is freaking awesome.
--Make sure you both have stateside driver's licenses. It can be hard to get an international or national license overseas and it may be easier with an American one.
--LOTS OF CHECKS just in case to pay bills in the US, pay back relatives for sending you stuff, send Christmas checks to children, whatever. You may never need them. But you might.
--Taxes. Make sure you have your old tax returns with you or saved with your online tax filing service. You have to file even if you don't earn anything.

Um, what else? Sign up for an e-bay and amazon rewards credit card now. LOL!

I agree it's best to sell your stuff. Just prepare logistically. If I think of anything else I'll let you know. Feel free to PM me. The best advice I got from someone here on MDC was to make a photo book (I just slipped photos into an old-fashioned album) for DD. At your child's age, it's also a fantastic distraction (for a very short time of course) on the plane.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks to both of you for the responses! I guess I wasn't very clear... I've actually lived abroad for about 6 years before. But this will be the first move with DD, which brings a whole new set of complications!! We're definitely not planning on bring toasters or anything like that just clothes, books, that sort of thing. I'm mostly just trying to figure out how much of the baby stuff to bring with. I guess, I'm just having a hard time to depart with all the cool wooden toys we got for DD and her dollhouse amongst other things.

DH and myself won't bring much of any clothes with. We've both lost some weight and the vast majority of our clothes don't really fit anymore. So the idea is buy some when we get there (obviously, we'll have a few basics, it would be hard to move running around naked! ). So that leaves space for DD's toys/clothes and then books we'll ship (DH and I both have quite a few work related books and most other books I'll sell because I can just download them on my kindle if I really need to read them later on). I'm trying decide if it's worth it to bring baby toys that she's grown out of and ditto for baby books if we want to have another kid? Or should I just sell that all? I know for sure Amazon doesn't ship there. I'm wondering especially about her cloth diapers? She's pretty much 100% into training pants with disposables at night but I have such a nice stash that I'd hate to leave it behind!

As to the permanency of it... well, obviously, I can't predict to the future. But we'll be moving to DH's motherland and it will be the first time ever that we'll have relatives in driving distance (we met and lived most of our married life in Europe far away from anybody!). Dh and I don't really have jobs that move that easily (we're academics) so it'd be pretty hard to move unless we get an absolutely amazing offer latter on (I can't rule it out but it's unlikely that we can get one that would be better than what we're getting there). I also already speak the language and have been there multiple times, so I at least have some idea what I'm getting into.

Oh, and Edna, I normally cook from scratch but there are some hot sauces that I'm definitely taking with!! DH claims that I can by the equivalent locally but I'm not going to risk it. Everyone in my family is also already very familiar with skype.

For the books... when your kids grew out of the old books, did you just order more online send them to a friend locally and then have them send the books using the book rate overseas, is that what you were saying?


Oh! One thing that I'm not sure about is how is the best way to save money while abroad in case we do come back? We could decide to move back to the states for retirement or something like that and I was wondering if anybody knows how that would work?
post #5 of 24
Quote:
I know for sure Amazon doesn't ship there. I'm wondering especially about her cloth diapers? She's pretty much 100% into training pants with disposables at night but I have such a nice stash that I'd hate to leave it behind!
Where are you moving that Amazon doesn't ship? Then do e-bay. Sometimes more expensive but you can haggle shipping. You can write to Powell's books and ask them personally for a special shipping deal. You'd be amazed how accommodating people can be. Unless you are in Iran, Cuba or North Korea, I can't imagine you having problems. Though, if you are... yeah. Okay. I see your point. In that case I'd bring some favorites for the following several years.

Quote:
Oh, and Edna, I normally cook from scratch but there are some hot sauces that I'm definitely taking with!!
Well, you never know about spices. For example, I couldn't find oregano in Tajikistan. Anywhere. I went market to market. It was amazing. I could get cayenne but I could not get nutmeg, sage or savory. You can imagine that Thanksgiving did not smell very... thanksgivingy. LOL!

Quote:
Oh! One thing that I'm not sure about is how is the best way to save money while abroad in case we do come back? We could decide to move back to the states for retirement or something like that and I was wondering if anybody knows how that would work?
Unless you are moving to a tax haven, I'd save it here in a 401k or other low-tax retirement fund. Unless your annual income goes over 80 or 85k it won't be a problem. We have all our savings in the US even though we're in Germany. It just makes taxes easier.
post #6 of 24
if you cook from scratch, bring a set of mesuring cups with you ... the concept of measuring cups might not even exist where you are moving to ....

am now very curious about where that would be ....LOL
post #7 of 24
Oh, and CDs. In Tajikistan they had covers when I left, but not fancy diapers. I did bring mine and I was glad. If I were you, I'd ship the stash. Worst case scenario, you could sell internationally for shipping on a cloth diaper board, better yet, give to several families that would use them for outings.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaFrench View Post
if you cook from scratch, bring a set of mesuring cups with you ... the concept of measuring cups might not even exist where you are moving to ....

am now very curious about where that would be ....LOL
Or convert the main ingredients from volume to weight ahead of time and bring a scale, or at least a volume->metric volume table until you have it down.

Quote:
when your kids grew out of the old books, did you just order more online send them to a friend locally and then have them send the books using the book rate overseas, is that what you were saying?
In Tajikistan, I had my mother send some. When traveling home I'd stock up. We could also get other people to bring some books over to us when they went.
post #9 of 24
some american friends of mine tell me that they just can't get the same results when converting cups to metric ...
post #10 of 24
Well, last year we moved abroad with dd1 and i was preggo with dd2. Here is what we learned:

Are your kids going to be born in the same season? If not then just save some basics and sell the rest. We saved a lot of it but I am finding that dd2, being born in a different season, still needs me to buy her stuff. However, where I am things are more expensive but not 10x's more. So thats something you need to think about.

If your wooden toys are nice and your really like them keep them, or keep half of them. Buy used books now at yard sales or library sales. Buy a variety of ages and authors, etc. Ship them bookrate. Or have fam bring some when they visit. I keep an amazon list for each of my kids up to date with things they are interested in now. So if anyone needs gift ideas they can go there an look. The usually have to ship it to them first then ship it here if its American amazon but hey, its not often.

As far as other baby stuff, we found that dd2 didn't use it as much becuse dd1's toys are so much mroe interesting. Not small pieces or anything, btu she would mucbh rather play with dd1's kitchen or blocks that soft baby toys or her baby mat/gym (when she was younger).

I totally agree with spices or measuring cups and spoons. It is so much easier to just have them on hand then convert. $

Good luck!
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys so much! Everyone's responses are really helpful!

Edna- if you want to know where we're moving PM me. Until we have signed on the dotted line I don't really want to say here.

Oh man, you guys are definitely right about measuring cups. Definitely have to bring those, thanks!! I also remembered that vanilla is hard to get there, so another thing to remember because I use that a lot.

I think I will bring my diapers (or at least the good ones) because the stash seems like something that I can't replace easily.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellabaz View Post
Are your kids going to be born in the same season? If not then just save some basics and sell the rest. We saved a lot of it but I am finding that dd2, being born in a different season, still needs me to buy her stuff. However, where I am things are more expensive but not 10x's more. So thats something you need to think about.

If your wooden toys are nice and your really like them keep them, or keep half of them. Buy used books now at yard sales or library sales. Buy a variety of ages and authors, etc. Ship them bookrate. Or have fam bring some when they visit. I keep an amazon list for each of my kids up to date with things they are interested in now. So if anyone needs gift ideas they can go there an look. The usually have to ship it to them first then ship it here if its American amazon but hey, its not often.

As far as other baby stuff, we found that dd2 didn't use it as much becuse dd1's toys are so much mroe interesting. Not small pieces or anything, btu she would mucbh rather play with dd1's kitchen or blocks that soft baby toys or her baby mat/gym (when she was younger).

I totally agree with spices or measuring cups and spoons. It is so much easier to just have them on hand then convert. $

Good luck!

Very, good point about the season, I didn't think about that at all. The climate is very different than the US so that will make it much easier for me to sort through the clothes. Another thing I thought of. DD was a huge baby (and they run in my family) and grew out of clothes under 12 months almost overnight so I think I'm mostly bring sizes for 1year+ with just a few of the more quality pieces below a year...

That's also a good point about the baby toys. I think I'm going to bring some of the wooden puzzles because I love them too much but otherwise bring DD's toys (she doesn't have any with small pieces at this point).

I think this year for Christmas I'm just going to ask for books for DD that are a bit above her level and then if there are too much we'll just ship them.

I'm starting to feel better about this and not so nervous. But there is still sooooo much to do, ahh!
post #12 of 24
You've gotten great advice from pp, I can't think of much to add.

Are you a U.S. citizen? You may already know this, but if you want for any future children born overseas to have citizenship, you'll need to prove that you lived in the U.S. for a certain number of years, I'm spacing on the number now, but I think it's five, and a certain portion has to be after 14 years of age. Embassies/Consulates accept transcripts, tax records, etc. as proof. So collect and bring the docs with you. Oh, important to remember: they count an academic year on a transcript as only nine months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by physmom View Post
Oh man, you guys are definitely right about measuring cups. Definitely have to bring those, thanks!! I also remembered that vanilla is hard to get there, so another thing to remember because I use that a lot.
I recommend two sets of measuring cups and spoons because they'll be hard to replace.

By vanilla, do you mean vanilla extract? It's hard to find here too. So far I've been able to replenish my stock when visitors have come, but I've discovered that you can make your own if you can find vanilla beans. I haven't done it yet so I can't say how well it works.

This is really random and probably doesn't apply to wear you're going, but it's really hard to find baking powder that isn't vanilla-flavored here, so I also have people bring over baking powder to me. It's even more precious than vanilla extract! If it's hard to find where you're going, definitely stock up. I think you can store it in the freezer to prolong its life. I've never done that because I've never had that much baking powder at any one time.
post #13 of 24
pear-shaped - It sounds like people just use the vanilla in the baking powder and don't need the extract where you live. Interesting.

For the citizenship - IIRC bills could also work - things with a US address with your name on them. I think I just used transcripts, but not everyone goes to college, and it was 5 years after 14yrs old when I did it.

Kinda random, but if you like and use ziploc baggies, they can be hard to come by in some other places - especially the large ones.

Tjej
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pear-shaped View Post
You've gotten great advice from pp, I can't think of much to add.

Are you a U.S. citizen? You may already know this, but if you want for any future children born overseas to have citizenship, you'll need to prove that you lived in the U.S. for a certain number of years, I'm spacing on the number now, but I think it's five, and a certain portion has to be after 14 years of age. Embassies/Consulates accept transcripts, tax records, etc. as proof. So collect and bring the docs with you. Oh, important to remember: they count an academic year on a transcript as only nine months.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post
For the citizenship - IIRC bills could also work - things with a US address with your name on them. I think I just used transcripts, but not everyone goes to college, and it was 5 years after 14yrs old when I did it.

Kinda random, but if you like and use ziploc baggies, they can be hard to come by in some other places - especially the large ones.

Tjej
Thanks guys. So I have a college transcript but that only covers 4 years... I went to high school in the US but I have no clue where my high school transcript is (or any tax forms I filled out during that time are since it's so long ago). Would a high school diploma work? That's got to be somewhere... I moved abroad right after college so it looks like I really need to do some digging for that 5th year. I could probably count this current year (years past I was a resident of Germany) but I'm not sure in what country I'm going to file residency yet (long story, but we travel back and forth a lot between the two countries).


Quote:
Originally Posted by pear-shaped View Post

By vanilla, do you mean vanilla extract? It's hard to find here too. So far I've been able to replenish my stock when visitors have come, but I've discovered that you can make your own if you can find vanilla beans. I haven't done it yet so I can't say how well it works.

This is really random and probably doesn't apply to wear you're going, but it's really hard to find baking powder that isn't vanilla-flavored here, so I also have people bring over baking powder to me. It's even more precious than vanilla extract! If it's hard to find where you're going, definitely stock up. I think you can store it in the freezer to prolong its life. I've never done that because I've never had that much baking powder at any one time.
Oh, thanks for that recipe, I might have to try it. Yep, and baking soda is definitely something else to add to the list!



--------------------------------------------------------


Another question. DD will be 2 (like just turned 2) when we move. We've traveled a lot before and normally we tell her a day ahead of time we're going on an airplane and she's cool with that. But she'll be older and she's already much more verbal than when we've flown in the past... is there anything I should tell her? Should I explain about the move, I me it's going to be pretty obvious something is going on when everything starts disappearing from our apartment (and even many of her things too!).
post #15 of 24
I've made the vanilla extract and it works a treat! @pear-shaped... I'm in Spain and regular baking powder is readily available, so maybe if you get out of Italy, you can stock up!

I've had 2 kids born abroad and my experience is that the consulate was really helpful in helping me get together what I needed to register the births even though I had to cobble stuff together.
post #16 of 24
Yeah, the consulate was really nice and helpful here too.
post #17 of 24
Hi, I'm homeschooling out of the US and so I've been doing a lot of book buying and carting for that.

Something to add to the Amazon/Powell's ideas and also just for travel back to the US for visits.

I pack one suitcase with the things we need to take with us and then stick that suitcase inside a second, larger suitcase (I do this for each family member so we travel there with 4 suitcases and back with 8 - the red caps are my best friends). That way I travel there with a smaller number of suitcases to wrangle. I've noticed on the last two trips that it's actually cheaper to pay for an extra bag than it is to pay for an overweight bag. If your kids are little then it's likely you'll be able to pack them both into a single suitcase and have another free for bringing back other items.

I am focusing on buying a lot of Newbery Award and Honor books -
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/al...wberymedal.cfm

We also purchased many of the Berenstain Bears books, some Madeline books, a lot of Aurthur books, and the Magic Treehouse Series for our kids when they were younger. The Magic School Bus series is also a favorite around here. I have to treat my house as though it's the library and so we have 6 8-foot bookcases and another 3 4-foot book cases. Lots of the kids books aren't on Kindle/iPad right now but I suspect that will change in the next 5 years or so.

I agree that shipping the diapers makes sense. If you are considering shipping other baby items I'd have a look at what it will cost to ship. It may be that even at 10X the cost they are still cheaper to acquire that way.
post #18 of 24
physmom, i just have to say that this is like the umpteenth time i've bookmarked a thread of yours because our lives our so parallel and you ask all the questions i need answers to.

thanks for asking!
post #19 of 24
Just seconding the suitcase inside a suitcase trick.... we do it going home and my mom always brings two and goes home with one!

I maintain a wishlist on amazon too which is great for remembering what I want and gives relatives an easy way to access what we're dreaming of! Often I'll order stuff to the address of someone coming to visit.

We homeschool too and I've found our local library has been a great resource for non-fiction Usborne type books (in Spanish and Catalan). Not sure where your going, but if you can operate in the local language, that's a possibility. My mom keeps in English language fiction and we do a lot of our watching over the internet
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Soo... I guess we're sort of out of the closest now when it comes to moving. We'll be moving to Brazil. It seems like everyone know about it, even people we never told! So the cat's out of the bag...


Also any thoughts about talking to DD about this ahead of time???

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuniperBCN View Post
I've made the vanilla extract and it works a treat! @pear-shaped... I'm in Spain and regular baking powder is readily available, so maybe if you get out of Italy, you can stock up!

I've had 2 kids born abroad and my experience is that the consulate was really helpful in helping me get together what I needed to register the births even though I had to cobble stuff together.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post
Yeah, the consulate was really nice and helpful here too.
That's good to hear that the consulates were helpful! DD was born in the states so this was something that didn't even occur to me. And that's great to hear that the vanilla extract recipe works well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivaprenda View Post
I am focusing on buying a lot of Newbery Award and Honor books -
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/al...wberymedal.cfm

I agree that shipping the diapers makes sense. If you are considering shipping other baby items I'd have a look at what it will cost to ship. It may be that even at 10X the cost they are still cheaper to acquire that way.
Good idea on the books and I don't think the diaper shipping costs will be too much. We might even have room in our suitcases (like I said we're not taking a ton of clothes for DH and myself so we will have 6 suitcases that are allowed 32 kg each).

Quote:
Originally Posted by c'est moi View Post
physmom, i just have to say that this is like the umpteenth time i've bookmarked a thread of yours because our lives our so parallel and you ask all the questions i need answers to.

thanks for asking!
I'm glad that my questions have been helpful! I feel bad about bugging the MDC moms so much but it seems like stuff always comes up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuniperBCN View Post
Just seconding the suitcase inside a suitcase trick.... we do it going home and my mom always brings two and goes home with one!

I maintain a wishlist on amazon too which is great for remembering what I want and gives relatives an easy way to access what we're dreaming of! Often I'll order stuff to the address of someone coming to visit.

We homeschool too and I've found our local library has been a great resource for non-fiction Usborne type books (in Spanish and Catalan). Not sure where your going, but if you can operate in the local language, that's a possibility. My mom keeps in English language fiction and we do a lot of our watching over the internet
We've done the suitcase trick before so we'll have to do that again on future visits to the US.

I think I do actually have an Amazon wishlist but it's certainly not uptodate. That's a good thing to think about (especially since Christmas and DD's brithday is coming up!). The local language is DH's native language so we'll definitely be using the libraries there. But it's also really important for me that DD is very familiar with English and is completely fluent when it comes to reading/writing.
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