Everything a Woman Needs To Prepare For A Year Away
February 20, 2012—Cha Jones
If you have ever lived on your own and had to move, then you know all the frustrations of what a move can bring. However, take all that you know along with moving thousands of miles away to a foreign country that you have never been to, yeah I call that “Packing Hell.” Oh, and not to mention that in most cases you have no idea what your new place has or doesn’t have that will give you some type of insight on what you need or don’t need.
I remember when I was moving to Korea for the first time, I was trying to pack for the year journey, after I had already packed half my life and placed it in storage. Let’s just say I was overwhelmed to the fourth degree. I had already searched the internet for any information I could find on climate and tips on what to bring, but still I was faced with what was actually reasonable for me. I will be honest, I am not the backpacking type and my idea of roughing it is staying at the Hilton. (Don’t judge me; I will stay at Hampton Inn, too.) So, I had to be very sensible when I condensed my life into one year.
What’s One Year?
That question is actually laughable. A year of clothing is like a small department store for most women, especially those who love being fashionable. My love is for shoes. The most difficult thing for me to do when I began packing for Korea was to decide what shoes I’d be taking. I began to think, “Why I am doing this?” So, at the end, I decided that I would only take a pair of walking shoes, a pair tennis shoe, 2 or 3 pairs of dress shoe (one brown, one black, and neutral color), and a few pairs of flip-flops (those are light and won’t kill your weight). I figured that I would be walking everywhere, so there was no reason to be wearing a bunch of my nice shoes and ruining my prize possessions.
When it came to clothing I was really at a loss because Korea has for seasons. I eventually decided that because I would be working with small children I would take more casual clothes, and then I would mail other things as I needed them. In 2009, when you traveled abroad you could check two pieces of luggage and you were allowed to have two carry-on bags. So, I packed my under clothes, 3 to 4 pairs of jeans, some casual shirts, a couple of dresses, shorts, some dressy shirts, and a jacket. I went to Korea in late spring. So, I didn’t worry about packing for the winter, because I eventually would have my aunt mail a box of things I had set aside for the winter at a later date. (I strongly suggest (if it’s an option) to pre-pack a box of things that you will need for the next season if you are moving to a country that has seasonal changes.)
- Pre-pack for seasons (pack some boxes to be sent at a later date)
- Minimize your wardrobe (casual, dressy, and comfortable)
- Only enough shoes (walking, tennis shoes, dressy, and cute)
- Request that people send things as needed
- Pack in bulk and then mail
Because of the recent change in most airline baggage policies, you are only able to travel with one checked bag (50 lbs or less) and one carry-on bag and a personal bag (purse or laptop). Remember, you can always pay extra for more checked bags.
- Think “minimal”: pack enough clothes for a week or two
- Think “functional”: pack what you need and ask for a care package later
- Language books
- Reading books (I suggest getting a kindle on your computer or buying a reader)
- Tampons/Sanitary Pads
- Skin care products
- Hair and Beauty care products
- Lotion and body care
- Make sure you have a copy of all important documents to bring with you
- Glasses and contacts (contact solution and maintenance products)
- Medicines (prescriptions, headache, cold, sinus, and motion medicine)
- Condoms and Pleasure Stimulants *(if you the country permits it may be illegal)…Did say that?
What you may want to ship:
- Send extra clothing and heavy items like coats, jeans, and shoes
- Food that you may miss (potatoes chips, snack, and dry goods)
Things to think about having or doing before you leave:
- Create an emergency check list (leave one with your family and take one with you)
- Make sure you have you bank account setup for wire transfer and have routing and account information
- Contact the Embassy and get added to their newsletter
- Look into a supplemental insurance or travel insurance
- Contact your credit card companies to let them know what country you will be in
- If you have student loans, contact your company and step-up a deferment program (give yourself 6 months without payments) (Unemployed)
- Setup automatic bill pay
- Setup a skype number (people w/out skype can contact you)
- Setup a skype account (people w/skype can call you direct)
- Hulu (allows you to watch televisions that have been archived)
- Setup Slingbox (have US television while you’re away from home)
- Setup a VPN (allow you to pull up websites in other countries that you can’t access)
- Satellite Direct (pay a one –time fee and get over 3,500 television channels)
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