Going Expat: Some Items You'll Need Living Overseas

Paris Eiffel Tower

I’m headed back to Italy to live and work in about ten days—time for a new adventure! One of the things that potential expats have asked me in the past is how do I know what to bring when I’m going to be gone for an extended period of time. It does take some thought and time to think about what you are planning on hauling with you overseas. Here are some things I’ve found I need immediately after I depart that plane.


With electronics as such an important part of our culture and how we travel, knowing that we can charge them at almost any location is a big deal. Before I head to a foreign country, I research whether or not I will need an electrical adaptor. Different countries have various degrees of currents, and your charger for your phone most likely won’t work if you are headed anywhere out of the States. You’ll want to see which adaptors you can find for where you are planning on visiting.

SIM card

This one depends on how frequently you want to contact everyone back home and let them know that you are alive and well. I know some millennial travelers who prefer not to have a cellphone, but I personally like to let my family know when I’ve arrived in a location and that I’m safe and sound. A quality international SIM card is cheap and easy, and can be extremely valuable in case of an emergency.

More than one credit/debit card

You never know how much cash you are going to need, and having a few debit or credit cards is a good idea when you are traveling. Most banks only let you take out a certain amount of cash from an ATM when abroad, and when you are planning on paying rent in a foreign country, sometimes they require the entire thing in cash. That can be a lot of money and planning if you only have one card. Plus, if you happen to lose one, having a back-up card or two can be a lifesaver.

An open mind

Deciding to live abroad for an extended period of time is not an easy thing to do. You’re probably aware that you will face challenges you will never have to when you decide to remain in your own country (language barrier, cultural differences, etc.), and keeping an open mind and being willing to be confused, frustrated, and occasionally isolated is part of the experience.

Any other things you would recommend when deciding to move abroad?

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