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Tips for Relocation Travel

When you’re moving, especially if it’s a long-haul move, travel takes on a different tone. It’s not just any trip – it’s moving you and your whole life. 

  • Think positive but organize for the worst case scenario. I traveled with four (yes, four!) large suitcases for my checked luggage. As I packed, I spread items out evenly across all four. In other words, each suitcase had jeans, underwear, toiletries, shoes, sweaters, etc. The idea was to not put all of a particular item into any one bag. I figured that way, if one got lost or delayed, I wouldn’t be without a certain type of item. Full disclosure: I did this for about 90% of the packing. The last 10%, especially the final items, got crammed into wherever they would fit.
  • Whether you are shipping your belongings, starting fresh, or taking as much as you can with you, you will have extra baggage. Accept the cost. It’s part of the move. Do check the baggage rules for the carrier you’re flying – both for checked and hand baggage. Give them a call if you’re unsure. Save all the receipts. You may be able to have your company reimburse you or write it off your taxes (ask your accountant about this).
  • It can be tricky to fit everything you need in your carry on. You’ll have items that you normally don’t bring along like important documents and fine jewelry. These will take up space and make it a tighter fit for everything else. Be judicious in what you pack. High value items, documents, and the essentials should be given priority.
  • Find workarounds for carry on bag limits. I use a scottevest ( It’s not the most fashionable thing, but it’s not hideous either. It’s basically like a sleeker version of a flack jacket and it has tons of pockets. For this move, I really maximized that thing. I also packed one of those roll up market bags in one pocket. While I was at my seat, I unrolled the bag, but my scottevest inside, and put it under the seat in front of me. I had easy access to the things I needed but didn’t have to wear it on the plane.
  • If you are able, upgrade to business class. You’ll get a better baggage allowance, be treated better, and have a much more comfortable journey. This isn’t just a trip. Taking care of yourself during a move a necessity. It’s worth the money. If you can’t upgrade, look at so that you can find the most comfortable seat in your cabin. The last thing you want is one of those seats that doesn’t recline or has something else wrong with it.
  • Speaking of comfort, invest in base layers. Having a breathable, comfortable base layer makes all the difference on a long flight. Men, check out the undergarments at Ex Officio.  Women, they carry undergarments for us too. Patagonia is good for this too.  Also, sports bras are great for long flights.
  • Smart outer layers help too. I wear cargo pants/capris for international travel. I like being able to have my passport ready but secure in the side pocket. I keep my phone in the other.
  • Shoes should be comfortable and easy to slip on and off. Think about all the climates you’ll encounter. If you’re going to a hot place, you don’t want to wear boots on the plane. On the other hand, you won’t want to wear flip flops either, unless you want to freeze on board.

These are just a few tips and there is a lot I didn’t cover. For example, I didn’t touch upon relocation travel with children or pets. I welcome comments from people who have tips on areas I didn’t cover or have other ideas to add.

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