International students with family series – eps.3 : Four tips to pack effectively

Traveling with children is always both fun and challenging, not to mention if it is when we are moving, staying in a new place for a longer period. Speaking of challenges, one of the challenges is how to pack effectively. Bringing the right stuff with us and also leaving behind the right stuff. One year ago, I faced this challenge when I started trying to figure out what should be in the luggage of two adults and two toddlers. After several trials (without errors, because there is no standard on this topic), here is what we came up with.

1. Children grow fast

Yes, they grow fast. So, we don’t have to worry about what they would wear next year because they would have probably outgrown their wardrobes we are currently packing. With that in mind, we only packed clothes and shoes which fit (or maybe a little bigger) their size in the time of our departure. Don’t worry about not be able to find children clothes which suits your preferences here in Stockholm. Sure you can (almost) always find your favorite brand’s stores here in Stockholm, but you can also find many secondhand stores which sell the same product at a very reasonable price. It’s also worth to join several online platforms for ‘buy and sell’ or ‘exchange corner’ for parents. I spent several occasions of traveling throughout the area of Stockholm that you probably won’t visit as tourists, jumping around residential neighborhood and apartments, to retrieve items for the children which I bought from these online platforms.

They won’t stay in the same size forever. Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

2. Winter is NOT coming (yet)

Despite the stories about Stockholm’s winter, as we were arriving during the late summer for the autumn term of study, we planned to not pack our winter outfits. We did some observational research (using smartphone obviously) to acquire the comparison of year-to.year temperature of our arrival month. However, in the end, by coming from the tropical country, we decided that we brought only one light winter jacket for each one of us. These went into the storage right after we arrived in the apartment, though.

No need to put on the winter jacket yet. Image by Mabel Amber, still incognito… from Pixabay

3. Use vacuum bags

Aside from the luggage weight limitation from the airlines that we were going with, we also considered the volume and numbers of luggage since we only have four adult hands (and to backs) to handle all the luggage. So, we thought to minimize the volume as possible. That’s when the vacuum bag becomes handy, it reduces dead spaces inside the luggage so you can utilize the space optimally.

Fill the bag and vacuum it. Image by rui yang from Pixabay

4. Only pack what you need, not what you want

It’s a cliché suggestion actually because how can we know what we need, right? No! It’s simple and maybe we have been doing it the whole time without realizing. So, here is what we did.  As we were going to leave our old apartment behind, we sorted out our stuff. Depending on the type of items, some would go straight to the garbage room (yeah, we had no dedicated recycling room back there sadly), for sale or giveaway. That left us with the items we wear, we use, and we seek daily, ready to be packed.

We end up with two 32″ suitcases and three backpacks. Back then, we were so hyped with the “going to Sweden idea” that we bought blue and yellow suitcases. =)

What do you think? If you have your own suggestion or experience, feel free to write it in the comment section below.


LinkedIn: Winner Ng



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