You may already have planned what items will be shipped (if any) and what items you will be carrying with you when you fly to Australia to begin your new life, but have you worked out what you will pack in your checked baggage and what you need to keep with you in your hand luggage? Here’s my list of 8 things you need to pack in your hand luggage when you move to Australia.
Aside from the obvious wallets, phones, hand sanitiser and in-flight entertainment items (like headphones, iPods, books or Kindles), there are a few key things you should ensure go in your hand luggage to make life a lot easier when you eventually arrive.
1. All Visa Related & Other Essential Documents
Most importantly, pack ALL your documentation in your hand luggage. Visa grant letters, all forms of identification, references, police clearances, skills assessments, qualifications, resumes – if you need it, pack it! You have invested so much time, effort and let’s face it, money, in gathering all these documents and securing your visa, the last thing you want to do is have them go missing before you even arrive. I recommend having a small folder with everything filed in sections for easy access should you need to provide them at any stage during your travels.
Also, if you have been granted extra baggage allowance for migration from your airline, make sure you print a copy of this confirmation (either an email you received confirming this, or the rules and regulations from the website that mention it). We had got email confirmation of a 40kg allowance per person as we were migrating but the check in person did not want to give it to us! Mild panic and then all good to go once we provided the email and she made a quick call to her superior. Phew!
If you are taking any regular medication, always pack a 3 or 4 day supply of it. The rest can go in your checked luggage but at least while you are travelling and for the first day or two, you won’t have to think about where it might be and which corner of which bag you tucked it into.
If you are travelling with kids don’t forget to take any medication you think they may need on the plane – you can get mini bottles of things like paracetamol and ibuprofen for kids which are perfect for travelling as you just never know when you may need them. Best of all they also will come in under the maximum 100ml rule for liquids in your hand luggage.
Most, if not all, international removals companies do not accept or insure the shipping of personal jewellery. And for good reason! So why pack these valuable items in your checked luggage either? Any valuable jewellery or family heirlooms should always stay safe with you in your hand luggage where you can keep an eye on it at all times.
4. Phone/Laptop Chargers
The last thing you want to worry about when you get to your destination is having a low battery or worse, a dead phone! You will want to be able to let friends and family know you have arrived safely at your accommodation. So when you see that little red battery in the corner of your phone, instead of worrying about which suitcase has your charger, you can whip it out of your hand luggage and plug it in as soon as you find an empty socket.
5. Plug adapters
(source: Free Images)
Following on from chargers, you are definitely going to need a plug adapter if you want to use any electrical items you have brought with you. My advice is bring at least 3 or 4, it’s crazy how many items you will need to plug in and it saves waiting for someone to be finished with one before you can use it. Once you are here you can also buy a multi plug (they call them power boards here) and use one adapter but gain 3 or 4 points in one.
6. Aussie Dollars
Even if you have opened an Australian bank account already and transferred your funds across, you are going to need some cold hard cash before you can get to the bank to access it, especially if you arrive on a weekend. So remember to order your currency before you leave (airports can be so expensive for changing money) and pack it safely in your hand luggage. At current exchange rates, you don’t want your hard earned dollars disappearing in lost baggage!
7. USB Flash Drives
A few USB’s are a great addition to your hand luggage. They are tiny and often contain invaluable data so are perfect for keeping with you at all times. Bring some empty ones and others with your important documents on them as well (see point 1 for what you should save to your flash drive).
8. Change Of Clothes & Pyjamas
Arriving at your accommodation and feeling tired and unclean is one of the worst feelings – all you want to do is take a shower and if it’s later in the day, probably go to bed. Having a change of clothes or your PJ’s ready to change into makes arriving all the more easier. No digging around in suitcases trying to find a set of clothes for everyone at 2am.
And one more…
9. Essentials For Travelling With Kids
As an extra, if you are travelling with young kids, long haul flights can be particularly challenging. Thankfully with the advent of personal in-seat screens filled with on demand movies, TV shows, music, games and more, things are a whole load easier than in the previous century. Still, it’s a good idea to pack a few essentials when travelling with younger kids.
If they have a favourite soft toy or comforter, definitely pack that, or let them carry it. Plenty of snacks is a good idea especially if (like me) you have a fussy eater – plane food is never the best! Small books or mini toys – new if possible to keep them interested for longer. Even better, for small kids, wrap them up and each time they get a little cranky, pull one out and let them get excited about unwrapping a present and having something new to play with for a while.
And there you have it – my top 8 things to pack in your hand luggage when you move overseas. What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
If you are still working out what to ship and what to ditch, read my post about shipping your goods when you migrate to Australia now. I’ve also written a really useful post here with my top 10 travel tips for migration.