Hi everyone!! I hope your week is well! My husband’s team is currently sitting in first place in his league so I am very excited for the rest of the season! I am on month 6 of living in Latvia and time is flying…sorta. This is my 3rd time living overseas for at least 3 months and I have finally started to get used to packing and moving and all that comes with it. This is my first experience being overseas for this long (9 months) so I had to be particularly smart about what I packed as I was going to be gone for quite a while! I want to share some must haves for anyone who might be going to study abroad, move abroad or will be gone for an extended amount of time from home in a new country! Keep reading below for my must haves!
1. Food Seasonings
This must have is quite important. If you like to cook like me, then you know that seasonings are a MUST. As a DC gal, Old Bay and Capital City Mumbo Sauce are staple ingredients of life. Hot sauce must be in your house at all time. Seasonings are very important when moving overseas. Depending on where you are, the grocery stores might not have all the seasonings you would like. For example, I just found GROUND cumin last month and I’ve been here 6 months. Up until now, it was the seeded cumin that is not fun to pick out in a dish. We packed Lawry’s Season-All, Creole seasoning and a dry rub for meat. We were fortunate to have hot sauce in our stores but I missed Mumbo Sauce so I had my parents ship some out in a care package. Seasonings also include marinade packets for beef, chicken and pork. The GrillMates packets don’t take up much room, are less than a dollar at Wal-Mart and you can store them all in a large Ziploc bag.
2. Amazon Firestick
The Amazon Firestick saves lives. Everyone without cable knows it. This little must have is quite important. You will not survive without one. A Firestick can be used to watch movies, (netflix anyone?), your favorite TV shows, and even for playing music. We bring it with us every time we relocate and it really is a saving grace. If you are brave enough to jailbreak it, you can also watch live TV and any and all movies. But nobody does that because it’s illegal, of course. It’s definitely a must have if you’re going to be away from home for long. Local TV channels will more than likely NOT be in English.
3. Voltage Converters
If you are going to be using clippers or blowdrying your hair, it’s a good idea to invest in a good, quality voltage converter. Jon’s 1st year in Switzerland taught him that very quickly. He blew out his clippers. The next year I brought him wireless ones 😉 High voltage products–specifically clippers, blowdryers and flat irons–will not conform to the standard voltages in other countries which are typically 220V. All it takes is you plugging your appliance into the outlet and cutting it on and…BOOM no more appliance. American standards are 120V. Voltage converters are different from travel adapters which simply allow you to fit your American plugs into the wall socket in other countries. Those are great for charging phones, iPads, laptops and other low voltage appliances. A voltage converter however, converts things such as hairdryers and curling irons to the voltage of the country you are in and keeps it from frying your appliance!
4. Travel Plug Adapters
Things like phones and laptops simply require a travel adapter. I briefly mentioned travel adapters above, but these are another staple item to have, and preferably multiples ones. Depending on where you are going, it may be easiest to get one pack of adapters that is useful in different countries such as Europe, the UK, and Asia, where the plugs are all different. That way, if you visit these countries, you already have an adapter rather than having to buy another one. Since we are in Europe alot, we have one pack of adpaters for around the world and multiple European adapters for our phones, video game consoles, laptops, etc.
If you’re going to be away from home for long, pictures will help you feel less homesick. I know that in the digital age, we have photos on our phone, but I personally love having a set of printed out photos that I can look at whenever I feel homesick. They’re not in frames or anything, but next year I plan on buying a few frames, wherever we end up next. The pictures for me, just provide a visual of my family and friends. I also have a picture in a small frame of my best friends that sits on my nightstand!
I am a strong advocate for knowledge through books. Even though there are Kindles and we have platforms like iBooks, there’s nothing like curling up with a physical good book in my hand. We brought 5 or 6 books with us and I will read them on the couch while Jon will usually take one when he travels. Bookstores in other countries will rarely have English print books, unless you get quite lucky. Books are great to have for a rainy day!
Some of my favorite travel books include:
7. Favorite Hair Products
If you’re like me, before I cut my hair off, I had a head full of natural hair that required very particular products. Of course I wasn’t getting those products outside the U.S. so I brought less clothes and more hair products so that I wouldn’t have to resort to using products here that could potentially damage your hair. I’m talking $250 worth of products. Even if you aren’t natural, and you just have a particular hair brand you like, it may be useful to bring a few bottles of your favorite shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair healthy!
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