Whether you are moving abroad permanently or temporarily, packing can be a major hurtle to overcome. The decisions on what to bring and what not to bring can be very daunting. Below you will find my concise opinions and what I did prior to my move to Saudi Arabia.
Step 1. Pre-Packing
Before you even start packing, it's time to de-clutter, donate, and sell! This is a time for you to go though your clothes and personal/household items, and try to minimize it to as little as possible. For me this was a major step, I gave away about 20 scarves and what our friends didn't need or want we took to Goodwill and other donation centers. I also sold my electronics and musical instruments via CraigsList (be smart and careful if you take this route). Clothes are something that you will ALWAYS purchase more of; my simple rule of thumb was "If it hasn't been worn in the last 2 months, I don't need it".
Step 2. What Can't You Get
I found it very important to pick up a few items before actually packing my bags, these pertained to items that I cannot find in Saudi, would need upon arrival, or would have difficulty finding. As a woman two of the things I bought were tampons and an abaya. Now, that may sound like "TMI" but I was given a heads-up that tampons are either difficult to find or you unable to locate a selection or variety. Even if you're traveling to neighboring countries like Bahrain, one may find difficulty locating the goods. Of course in Saudi for a woman, an abaya and hijab would be needed upon landing or arrival in the country.
Step 3. Divide and Conquer
Divide and Conquer is simply going from one type of item to the next. My suggestions is to start with sentimental items, these would be items that you wouldn't want to get rid of, no matter what the circumstances are. Personally this was some items from my grandparents and father, who had passed away including a watch, ring, and a fur coat - these were items that no matter what, they were making the journey. From this point I continued on with the basics, constantly trying to downsize what I had.
Step 4. Suitcases
When it comes to suitcases, there are a few important factors to look at. The first and foremost is to ensure that you have enough suitcases and room for all of your stuff. The second would be to familiarize yourself with your specific airline's rules and regulations regarding suitcases and carry-on's (i.e. baggage allowances and fees for extra bags or over-sized). I flew with Lufthansa Airlines which, I found to be very accommodating. It is also important to weigh your luggage, you can either do this with a regular scale or a luggage scale.
Step 5. Pack It Up
Everyone packs differently. A few of the things that I did when packing was to ensure that everything was freshly washed, ironed and folded. Ironing allows the clothes to sit in a fashion that does take up too much space. I additionally packed in a way that would allow me to cushion anything that was breakable. In my carry-on I packed my necessary items for changing, making it easily accessible since I would be arriving in Dammam prior to flying to Jeddah. I was additionally allowed a "personal bag" which I carried my laptop, some travel makeup, and my abaya for arrival into Saudi Arabia.
Traveling with Lufthansa was fantastic and shockingly even my travel from Dammam to Jeddah with Saudi Airlines was great. We arrived in Dammam, where we stayed the night prior to departure the next day; for our flight from Dammam to Jeddah we actually shipped all of our luggage and dog on our flight via Saudi Airlines cargo for about $1000 SAR (approx $250USD). With this system, I was able to get rid of and pack my 1200 sq.ft. apartment up in less than a week.
- American Hijabi