I’ve been living abroad for 6 months and feel like I’m just now getting the hang of it. I remember stalking Google and Pinterest looking for things to bring, pack, remember, etc (I even had a Pinterest board just for my move to China!)
I personally use a Kindle that’s four years old and works perfectly. I don’t have a working television in my apartment, and live alone for the first time, so I read a LOT. Like, a lot a lot. I love having a Kindle because I can download books in a minute, and can even download books for FREE using my local library! It’s AWESOME. As great as a paperback book is, they can be hard to find abroad in your language.
Also, I use public transportation more than I ever did living abroad, so throwing my Kindle in my bag is a great way to kill thirty minutes on the metro or taxi.
Want to keep up with your favorite shows on Netflix, but you’re living in a place without it? Want to listen to Pandora but again, the country is blocked? Enter a VPN.
The easiest way for me to explain what a VPN is that is creates a private network between your computer and a secure location in another country. Because most things on the internet are blocked in China, you NEED a VPN to blog, use gmail, or Youtube. VPNs are great because they’re a secure way to surf the net and allows you to do what you are able to in your home country!
I cannot recommend Express VPN enough! I can have my laptop and my iPhone connected at the same time, and they have great customer service. If you use my referral link, you get 30 days for free! (Thank you!)
// An Unlocked Smart Phone
Most countries allow you to purchase a really cheap sim card and pay as you go plan, however there is a catch– your cell phone needs to be “unlocked” (all this means is that it is not owned by a certain carrier anymore, like Verizon or AT&T). Contact your phone company on how to unlock your phone before moving abroad.
Not only can you use many free apps to contact people at home (I love WhatsApp and WeChat), but there are so many awesome apps that can help you when you move abroad!
// Your favorite snacks, makeup, etc.
This sort of goes without saying, but you need to realize that your new country might not have all the amenities of home in terms of products you love. I would recommend bringing your favorite foundation and chapstick, deodorant, toothpaste, and some spices you love.
//Travel guides in your native language
I absolutely love the Lonely Planet travel guides– they are inclusive, include all budget ranges, and are easy to follow. The best thing is, you don’t need wifi or battery power… they are always on! One thing I didn’t realize is how expensive they are to buy abroad if your native language isn’t the language spoken! This summer, I plan to buy a book for each place I hope to travel! I wish someone would have told me this sooner!
To my fellow expats, what do you wish you would have brought for the big move?