what to pack for a military move overseas

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Packing for an Overseas Military Move

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Being in the military can mean relocating frequently. Military families move almost three times as often as civilian families and the move is not always within the country--sometimes the move will send you abroad to an unfamiliar place. Packing for a nearby move is tricky enough, but getting ready for an overseas move will take a little extra time.  There may be some restrictions on what you can bring, so make sure to stay organized to keep your packing operation running smoothly.

Separate all items you will need right away.

With overseas military relocation, you will often only be allowed to expedite certain items to your new location. These belongings will get you started and the rest of your things will be shipped to you much later. Make sure to set aside what you will need for daily living so that you have it when you set up your new home.

Bring important items for each member of the family.

Make sure to pack enough to get you through the time it takes to receive the rest of your things. These items should be specific for each person. Some examples are:

  • Extra clothes and clothes for the next season
  • Winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves
  • Extra shoes, sandals, and boots
  • Books, DVDs and entertainment items
  • Medications and vitamins
  • Bicycle and helmet
  • Kids favorite toys
  • Kids favorite blanket 
  • Outdoor play items
  • Baby items like a pack n' play, stroller, and baby seat


Pack only your most necessary household items.

Only pack the things you will need to use day-to-day for cooking and housekeeping. Food items and cleaning supplies can be purchased once you arrive, but be sure to bring:

  • Sheets, blankets and pillows
  • Plates, bowls, cups, utensils
  • Chef's knife and serving spoon
  • Kitchen shears
  • A saucepan and skillet
  • Casserole dish and baking sheet
  • Colander and oven mitts
  • Crock pot and liners
  • Coffee pot
  • Dish towels and sponges
  • Small television
  • Laptop, printer, office supplies
  • Folding camp chairs
  • Laundry basket
  • Hangers
  • Mini ironing board
  • Mop and bucket
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Towels, shower curtain and bath rug
  • Powdered detergent


Pack all military gear and professional materials.

If there is a weight limit for how much you can bring, your gear including uniforms, duffels and specialized equipment will not be added to the weight. If they will be working from abroad, military family members should bring anything they will need to carry out their job duties while away.

Bring a small toolkit in case of an emergency. 

You never know what could come up at your current home, let alone a completely new one. Make sure to pack:

  • A flashlight and extra batteries
  • Hammer and screwdriver
  • Pliers and a wrench
  • A small level and markers
  • A drill and boxcutter

Keep an inventory of your belongings

Make separate inventory lists of the items you're taking with you, the ones you're shipping later and anything you're leaving behind. This way you will be less likely to forget something important. Make sure to include any items you are putting into storage so that you can easily find them when you return.

Clearly label all boxes.

How you pack will determine how you unpack, and there is nothing worse than disorganized unpacking. Keep boxes on opposite sides of each room you're packing to separate the urgent items. Make sure that each box is labeled with its contents and destination room. This will make the items much easier to find when they arrive at your new home and setting up each room will be a breeze!

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on May 5, 2016

TopMoving.ca - Moving Expert
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