Do's and Dont's for Packing

Authored by:
Kelly P.

Kelly P.

If you are anything like me, you're probably thinking "what the heck do I even pack to move abroad". Months before I moved, I was strategically thinking about each item that I needed/didn't need to pack. I had no idea what to expect so I tried to read blogs and articles about things that I may need to bring in Thailand or things that were easily accessible in Thailand. Of course, there were a few items that I brought that I have not needed and a few items that I wish I had packed. 

Five items I wish I brought:

1. One nice outfit

When I was packing, I was only focused on being practical. I knew it was hot in Thailand, so I tried to pack things that were breathable and comfy. It didn't cross my mind to pack a nicer outfit for bars, clubs, and rooftops. We go out quite often and the first few times, I struggled to feel "cute" because I didn't have many clothes that were dressy enough for bars and rooftops. Yes, most things are available in Thailand but I wish I had brought one nice outfit to get me started and so I didn't have to buy anything so quickly.

2.  Crayola Markers

This may sound silly because markers can be found in Thailand. As a preschool and Kindergarten teacher, I have had to make a few resources or color a worksheet as an example. I bought a pack of markers at a store here and they just don't compare to a good pack of Crayola markers from back home. 

3. Towel (beach towel is better)

I did not bring a towel because I assumed, I could find one right away. While I could find one easily, I didn't have one the very first day I arrived. I advise you to pack at least one towel and if you bring a beach towel, you won't have to worry about purchasing a towel when you go on a beach vacation. A beach towel can be used as a regular towel and you can take it to the beach. 

4. Treats for the office

I brought a gift for my coordinator but didn't think about the rest of the office. I work in a small office with my coordinator, 3 English teachers, and a few Chinese teachers. The Chinese teachers are always bringing me food that they cook or snacks they have purchased. There are many days that I wish I had something to give them that represented me and my country. I brought a small bag of peanut butter m and ms and a small bag of skittles to the office. They had never tried either because it is not something they have here. The candy was a fun treat for all of them because it's some of my favorite candy back home. I recently made fresh guacamole from items from the market and no one in my office had ever eaten it. It was a HUGE hit, and it was so fun to be able to make a food that I eat so often at home.

5. Travel Clorox Wipes

Upon arrival of my accommodation, I wish I had brought a little pack of Clorox wipes, not because my room was dirty, but wiping everything down before I moved in completely, would have given me peace of mind. There were also times that I wanted to wipe down my phone but didn't have the ability to. The cleaning supplies that I have found in my area is mostly sprays or liquids and it's sometimes more convenient to have a wipe.

Five items I brought that I didn't need:

1. Laundry line

Someone had recommended that I bring a laundry line to hang dry my clothes. My school has an outdoor drying area to dry my clothes after I wash them. Some days, I do laundry too late and have to dry my clothes in my room, but my room came with a drying rack which makes things a lot easier. Most places have an area to hang dry your clothes, so I don't think a laundry line is necessary. 

2. Ipad

I thought I would use my ipad way more often than I have. To be quite honest, I haven't even touched it. I figured I would use it on the plane to play games, but I slept most of the flight and I use my computer at home/school every day which makes my ipad useless. Try to bring less electronics because they are bulky and tend to take up space. 

3. Thumbtacks

I brought a few thumb tacks because I thought I could use them to hang up pictures in my accommodation but my accommodation has concrete walls so now the thumbtacks take up space in my desk.  

4. Silverware

This is another thing that someone had mentioned would be a good idea to bring so I brought a single fork, spoon, and knife. When I arrived to my dorm, silverware had been provided so I didn't need to bring silverware. Silverware can also be found at any market near your home and it is very cheap so even if your accommodation doesn’t provide silverware or dishes, you can purchase them very easily and quickly after you arrive. 

5. Make up/accessories

Yes, some makeup and accessories are needed but it is so hot in Thailand that I have not touched much of my make up. I keep it super simple each day and I found that many of my makeup products I have brought have not been touched yet. Most brands of makeup can be found in Thailand anyway, so I would leave most of your makeup at home. There are stores like Sephora, Mac, and drugstores with the same make up brands from America so save the space in your suitcase and buy make up here.


When you begin your packing, do what is best for you. Contact your school or other OEG's from the past to see what you really need. Every school and town is different and it's best to figure out what you need for your situation. You know what you will want at your accommodation or things that are most important to you so take that into account. Also, when you are packing, do what is best for you as far as how many bags to pack. Some OEGs packed everything in a carryon and other OEGs had 3-4 bags so do what you think is best for you but take into consideration storage of your bags and transporting the luggage. 


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