What do I pack for Germany?

I have never been one to shy away from packing stuff I will absolutely never need. The final packing before moving long term is definitely more nerve wracking than the longest trip I’ve ever taken.

I made the rookie mistake of carrying a 60L backpack on my first trip to Europe, and boy did my spine hate me for it! I’ve been forced to be more skimpy practical ever since!

Currently, my list is divided into the following broad categories created in random order:

Documents, Documents, Documents

Moving long term requires me to have my originals and copies of literally everything. I think I have made sufficient sets of every random certificate to last me a lifetime. Not only do I have copies for important documents like passport, driving license, transcripts, etc, but I even have copies of the dancing competition I won when I was 12. Anyway, if you have a more sane mechanism for sorting out things than I do, you’ll realise you have to include the following main documents:

  • Passport/ID/Driver’s License
  • Original Transcripts from high school & college
  • Original work experience letters & recommendations
  • Health Insurance
  • Passport size photos (tons!)
  • Admission/employment letters in the country you plan to move in
  • Major achievement certificates (you can perhaps exclude the dancing show at age 12)
  • Bank Account related documents (in case you still have active accounts back home)

Clothes & Accessories

Being  a serial hoarder like me, can make you feel really depressed when you realise you have to fit your entire LIFE in one suitcase, two at the most. When you plan on moving from a country like India, to a perpetually cold place like Germany, shit starts to go down even faster. The longest I have ever faced a winter was actually in Warsaw, Poland back in 2013, and boy was I glad to leave! Even if you settle down at 3000 metres somewhere in the Himalayas, winter won’t last longer than 6 months at the most. But Germany, no such luck. I’m forced to re-prioritise my entire wardrobe based on this. After a lot of careful planning and thinking about various scenarios (such as what will I wear if I run into Angela Merkel?). Yes I do indeed think of ridiculous hypothetical scenarios. However, I have surprised myself by narrowing down my list to the following:

  • 4 pairs of jeans/leggings
  • 2 pairs of stockings (warm & regular)
  • 10-12 tops/blouses (formal & casual)
  • 5-6 dresses
  • 4 sweaters
  • 2 coats (long and short)
  • 1 pair of sports shoes
  • 2 pairs of heels (open-toe & close toe)
  • 2 pairs of flats (flip-flops & ballerinas)
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of boots
  • 2 mufflers/scarves
  • 2 towels (one large & one small)
  • 3 handbags (one sling, one medium sized tote, one large bag for uni/work)
  • Jewellery (Can’t put a number on this, since this may differ from person to person. For me, I’ll take ALL of my jewels)

Toiletries, Medicines & Miscellaneous Items

For fear of making the previous list too long I have decided to split items and add this last section. However, I feel this is even more important than clothes and accessories, because unless you plan on moving to Antarctica, I’m pretty sure you can find everything I wrote up there. Moving on, these are on my list to watch:

  • 2 pairs of glasses (if you don’t wear any, lucky you!)
  • Contact lenses for a year (maybe two, if you want to play extremely safe)
  • Prescription medicines specific to any ailments you are prone to
  • OTC Medicines (for cold/cough, diarrhea, constipation, pain-killers, fever, periods)
  • Vitamins, Bandages, Anti-bacterial solution for wounds/accidents
  • Stuff that reminds you of home (for me its mostly spices & incense)
  • Small pictures and mementos from your friends & family at home
  • Make-up (Basic kit)
  • Bath Products ( a small kit will do, since you can find shampoo anywhere!)
  • Beauty Products ( again, unless you have specific local stuff unavailable elsewhere in the world, its advisable to not pack too much)
  • Electronics: Chargers, Travel Plug Convertors, Portable speakers, power bank, earphones
  • Ear-plugs (in case you’re a light sleeper or plan to stay in hostels/dorms for a long period)
  • Small local gifts for current or future friends (this always brings a smile to people’s faces cause its unique and thoughtful)

Although, my list is quite exhaustive, I think it includes almost everything I could possibly need for the next few years. Feel free to share your thoughts if you think I’m missing out on some essentials!

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