Ever caught yourself coming back from a road-trip saying, “I really wish I had packed my…”? I certainly have, and while this may not be such a big deal when you are just road-tripping – it can be disastrous when you are overseas. The following items are absolute must-packs that we often overlook when moving or travelling abroad:

1. Medicine

Do you have certain over-the-counter medicines that just work for you? Do you find that Grandpa works better than Panado? These are the kinds of things you need to ask yourself because you don’t really know what is going to be available to you in your new home. Most countries you visit will have all kinds of medicine available but they could be classed under a different schedule or more expensive. Most teachers we place get offered medical cover so don’t stress about things like antibiotics, you won’t be without help…It’s just nice to have what you are used to.

If you are taking regular prescription medication, such as blood pressure tablets or even contraceptive tablets, you will need to talk to your doctor about what to do when you are overseas. Most doctors will write you a prescription for a few boxes and provide you with a letter which will inform a doctor in the new country of your medical requirements. These letters are important as you may need to provide them in the unlikely event the airport security search your bag and find boxes and boxes of meds.

2. Make Up

Ladies, listen up! If you are like me and took forever to find a foundation that actually matches your skin tone, then for Heaven’s sake, stock up! On the one hand, you could end up finding thousands of better products overseas, but it is just as likely that you don’t. I’ve never been much of a gambler, so I would rather take at least two bottles of foundation that I know work for me – I am sure you agree!

The other thing to consider is that in many Asian countries, a lot of make up brands add bleach to their products to help the Asian ladies achieve a much sought after pale complexion. So, if you want to avoid slowly but surely bleaching your face and looking like a patchwork puppet, I suggest you take your own base.

One last thing, if you dye your hair (like me, shhh I won’t tell if you don’t) then I suggest taking a few boxes of your colour with you as well…you might not get the same colour range overseas.

3. Technology

You are most likely taking at least 2 items of technology that require plug points. The best thing to do is buy one or two international plugs (RSA -> new country) and take one multi-socket plug point (you know the long rectangular one with all the sockets in it?).

If you are unsure about what kind of plug points they have in the country you are going to, then use this handy site: https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/

4. Papers

It sounds silly, but email yourself a copy of your ID and a copy of your passport. If you ever get stopped or are in some emergency and don’t have your actual documents with you, at least you should be able to access these copies on your phone. You should keep your documents with you at all times or at least a certified copy of your ID and passport. You should also consider keeping a slip of paper in your ID and passport that has the name and number of someone to contact in case of an emergency – this person should NOT be in South Africa. Ask that emergency contact to write their details in both English and the language spoken in that country. Yes, okay, this all sounds a little worst-case scenario and scary, but believe me – rather be safe than sorry! The easier you make it for people to help you, the better.

I hope this article has made you think and sent you running for a pen and your packing list (you have a list right…?)

Happy Packing and Bon Voyage


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