Moving is a pain no matter how far or nearby the new home. For moving to Kenya, I had a lot of good advice and I also figured out a few things on my own. Here are my top five tips:
- It is hard to get rid of things when you live in a doorman building in New York. Plan as early as possible for items you want to donate – pick up services get booked up fast. Make sure to see if your building requires a Certificate of Insurance for anyone coming by to pick up large items.
- Don’t skimp on moving. We got a lump sum from the U.N. for our move and we hired a highly recommended company that has done a lot of international moves. I am very happy we chose them. They did a great job at packing us up yesterday and I am confident our belongings will reach us safely. (Yes, I will do a follow up on this once everything arrives.) Last bit on this topic: get insurance coverage and be sure to itemize your high value items.
- Tied to the above, don’t ditch everything. If you will be there for a while, take your furniture. Advice we got from others who moved there is that it can be harder and/or more expensive to get new furniture in Nairobi. You can, of course, get furniture there, but it will be less hassle to move your bed/dresser/tables/whatever there than to have to buy everything upon arrival.
- Electronics and small appliances. If the item isn’t dual voltage, then it won’t work in Kenya. If you have something dual voltage, check to makes sure it’s also dual frequency and will work at both 50Hz and 60Hz. It’s not an absolute must, but if you want things to run at the highest or strongest setting, then you’ll need that.
- Large electronics and appliances. You will want a multisystem TV. You can buy that in the States and ship it over. That’s what we’re doing. Other appliances, such as refrigerators, we are going to get there. You can buy large kitchen appliances in the States (that will work in Kenya) for less money than buying it in Kenya. We would have done that if we had time to shop around. Note: outside of furnished apartments, even if you’re renting, you’ll need to buy a refrigerator.
I am sure I’ll have a new set of moving tips from the other side of the move once I get settled in.
Special thanks to Sara, Linda, Lauren, Kenny, Ulrike, Wallace, Nate, and Jason for their advice and help.