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What to Carry when going to Work Abroad?

August 30, 2010

It’s challenging when deciding what to take or what not to take when leaving to work abroad. There are many small and large considerations one has to bear in mind. When I decided on going to Kabul I had sorted out what things I would need, if had to go on a month long visit abroad. I say this, because I had the option to send 50 kgs. of unaccompanied baggage as part of my relocation. So I had planned to summon those 50 kgs. post my arrival in Kabul.

This I strategized primarily due to the fact that:
1. I could research and judge the Kabul market as to what is available and what is not,
2. Order things, that one doesn’t get here or
3. The same thing I could get at a cheaper price from India or vice versa.

I am fortunate to have a supportive family back home that could help me do all this. The larger considerations that one needs to bear in mind are:
1. Safety of beloved ones, in your absence.
2. Payment of utility bills, insurance etc, credit cards.
3. Banking – nationally & internationally.
4. Mobility of your beloved ones in your absence.
5. Saving all key data in a safe & secure place.

Weather patterns are an important factor that one does need to bear in mind. Accordingly one needs to pack winter or summer clothes, light or heavy clothes etc. One should try and gather all those items for one’s intended destination that one uses in their usual place of residence. This does not make one feel alien and gets eased into the new surrounding, much better. For the other personal considerations, I have appended a list below. Feel free to go through the same and add in your comments what you think is missing for the benefit of all.

1. CLOTHES
a. Kurta & pyjama – a great night (cotton) wear or an occasional (silk) formal wear when you want to show to the world your national dress.
b. Swimming trunks – you never know when you might need to take a dip.
c. Full & small towel – useful while outdoors and indoors too!
d. Bed sheet & pillow covers – I kept my favourite design which I used most often.
e. Shoes – black, brown & sneakers – for all occasions and use.
f. Chappals – formal & rubber – rubber ones give a good relaxed feeling.
g. Cotton socks – should match the colour of your trousers.

2. WINTER WEAR
a. Full & half sleeves sweater – weather changes fast, may not be required in a tropical setting.
b. Thermals – for extreme cold setting.
c. Woolen cap – a great protector of head and ears.
d. Muffler Shawl – good to cover the throat.
e. Suits – important for formal affairs.
f. Coats or blazer – go well for formal & casual wear.
g. Warm socks – of course protects feet from getting cold.
h. Gloves – don’t forget to remove before you start a meal with bare hands!

3. MEDICINES
a. Kant Sudharak goli & Sualin – good ayurved (herbal) medicine for throat.
b. Burnol – helps in accidental burns.
c. Strepsil – good for throat.
d. Ear buds – relives the itching.
e. Antibiotics – calpol – consult physician before use.
f. Pain killers – brufen, disperine – consult physician before use.
g. Cold syrup – glycodin, bricarex – take depending on the kind of cough (dry or wet).
h. Band aid – first aid.
i. Iodex – for sprains and internal muscular injury.
j. Vicks balm & lozenges – relieving nasal & chest congestion.
k. Vitamin C tablets – good when suffering from cold & cough.
l. Multi vitamins – helpful dosage especially when taking antibiotics.
m. Volini or Moov – for intra muscular sprains & injury.

4. COSMETICS
a. Sunscreen lotion – useful in extreme heat and sharp sun.
b. Stone jhava – get rid of the dirt below your feet.
c. Soap & soap case – useful to contain soap spills or if you don’t get an attached bath room.
d. Odomos lotion – mosquitos are everywhere.
e. Dabur gulabri lotion – has a great fragrance.
f. Tooth brush – You might not get the brand you generally use.
g. Tooth paste – colgate (ordinary) the Indian brands are rare. The gels & newer ones are not so good, I believe.
h. Shaving cream – in case you have a preference for some brand.
i. Body scrub – gives a relaxed feeling
j. Herbal Shampoo – I have a specific brand.
k. Face wash – great way to cleanse the face.
l. Hand wash – my mom just put it in there
m. Cold cream – good especially for winters
n. Oils – almond, mustard & coconut. – I have my specific brands, some may or may not be available, packing is very important, chance of spillage is maximum.

5. CLEANING
a. Duster – useful for the first time cleaning of your room after landing.
b. Vim bar – scrubbing those dishes and when you haven’t been to the super market yet.
c. Harpic – good sanitary measure.
d. Surf Excel – when washing clothes for the 1st time prior to visiting the super market.
e. Easy washing liquid for woolens – some places one may not get a specific detergent.
f. Odonil – keep the odour away.
g. Utensils jhaanva – an Indian one is far more practical & superior.
h. Clothes brush – dusting of the fibres or dirt.

6. FOOD
a. Baked beans – great break fast meal.
b. Ready to Eat meals – are easy & fast substitutes when you’ve discovered the vegetable or fruit market.
c. Dry fruits – great in cold places.
d. Indian spices – haldi, zeera, rai, garam masala, red chilli powder, amchoor, heeng powder – seldom found elsewhere fresh, carry the Indian taste and treat others too, they’ll love it.
e. Chawanpraash – a great morning dietary supplement.
f. Paranthas, Mathari – that’s what grannies & mom’s pack in dozens
g. Pickle – when missing Indian touch, pack carefully.

7. KITCHEN
a. Chopping board – could be bought abroad.
b. Pressure cooker – not always available, saves time & energy, Afghanistan has a one that uses 2 whistles!

8. LEISURE TIME
a. Sports equipment (squash, tennis or TT rackets and balls) – a great stress buster and a great way to make new friends.
b. Books – a great personal friend, I got enough to last with me for a couple months, a great item to lend out too.

9. USEFUL ITEMS
a. Hangers – carry at least 2 to hang your coat or 1st pant.
b. Cutter – really helps in the beginning to unpack, cut the tape & tag and in the end to pack & put the tape.
c. Scissors – multipurpose use.
d. Swiss army knife – multipurpose device.
e. Torch – when the power fails.
f. Wall Calendar – the one with the Hindi dates, months and festivals is extremely useful and a great way to connect with family on auspicious Indian occasions, we have them each month if not week!
g. Umbrella – beat the weather.
h. Incense sticks – reminds me of home and gives a great feeling.
i. Extra spectacles with prescription.
j. Ethnic mementos & gifts.
k. 100 visiting cards.

10. ELECTRONICS
a. Camera with charger – all digital cameras have an extra requirement unlike the older cameras.
b. Extra cell phone and chargers – extremely useful, acts as a backup too.
c. Cell phone USB to connect to Laptop – back up the address book.
d. International adaptor plug – has helped me out on numerous occasions.
e. External hard disk – proves lucky when laptop troubles.

As states earlier, feel free to suggest anything over and above this. Comments are highly appreciated and beneficial for all.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 31, 2010 5:08 am

    Very comprehensive listing .
    Maybe add
    1. Extra spectacles + copy of eyesight prescription if using spectacles.
    2 Save ALL your key data in a word file & share with family members at home as well as an encrypted file .

    3 Light weight. foldable ethnic gifts /mementos – Always helps in opening doors and aiding recipients recall!

    4. Go with say 100 nos visiting card with at least name & mobile no & email ID and reccomend with small picture(photo id like)- very useful till new employer makes your new card .
    More later

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