Updated last year

Thinking of what to bring to the UK is often at the bottom of a very long pile of things to organise before you make your big move. However, thinking well in advance about the most useful things to bring and the best way to do this, can save you time and money in the long run.

There are a few important factors you definitely need to consider before packing up your belongings:

  • The length of your trip
  • How far away you live from the UK and how often you plan on returning to your home country
  • What you will be doing in the UK
  • When you will be there i.e. what season(s

Many first timers or habitual hoarders make the classic mistake of bringing their entire wardrobe and kitchen sink with them to the UK to find they carry very heavy and sometimes expensive luggage with them across the world.

If you know that you are only going to be in the UK for one season, bring season appropriate clothing! If you know you will be returning to your home country at least every six months, you can plan correctly so you have a small amount of clothing for the following season which you can then replenish once you come back from your trip home.

It is also good to know that UK citizens love to shop and love a good bargain so you can find anything and everything you require for your budget and so there is no need to bulk buy anything before you arrive. There is also the wonderful world wide web where you can buy your home comforts from the UK at a click of a button.

If you are moving to the UK for a very long time and need to bring all of your belongings with you, still spend some time to sort out what you use. Any items you don’t need you can donate to your local charity shop and get a reduced quote from a removal company.

What is different in the UK?


The UK is one of the few countries that has G plug sockets and doesn’t accept any other form of international plug sockets. Do not make the classic mistake of assuming your plugs are already adapted for the UK.

You can either buy a UK adapter or a universal adapter which is often more economical in the long run if you plan on travelling or living in other countries in the future. You can also go to your local electricians and fit UK sockets onto your electrical items if you plan on emigrating to the UK for a very long time.


Every expat has certain cosmetics from their home country that they know they can’t find abroad but check whether you can buy your favourite shampoo, shaving cream or hair serum in the UK because this will save you a lot of luggage weight and money. You will also have cosmetics that you can only buy in the UK but can be just as good as your home products.


It is really important to look up the import rules for your country into the UK; there is nothing more heartbreaking than bringing local products with you only to be forced to leave it at UK customs.

Suitcase, removal van or container?

The steps you need to take to move to the UK will depend on how long you want to live in the country. If you are planning on staying for several years and you want to bring your household items then booking a container or a removal van is your best option.

Make sure you have left plenty of time to organise the moving of your belongings because it can take several weeks for your things to arrive in the UK. There are many professional shipping or removal companies that will deliver your goods to the UK but ensure that they are well rated and accredited.

 Important: Don’t forget to also check out the import rules from your home country to the UK so your container isn’t stuck for several weeks in UK customs.

Packing a suitcase is obviously the simplest way to move around, especially If you are staying for a short to medium amount of time or plan to bring over your belongings in stages. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your suitcase space:

1. Sort out your belongings: Before cramming everything into your suitcase, sort out your things into three piles for "yes", "maybe", "no". Aim to only bring your "yes" pile and half of your "maybe" pile (or if you are brave just your "yes" pile!)
2. Roll up your clothes: To avoid creasing your clothes and to fit maximum belonging in your suitcase roll them up instead of folding them.
3. Secure fragile objects: Ensure any fragile belongings are in the middle of your suitcase, preferably wrapped in bubble wrap or with your own clothes.
4. Choose the right suitcase: Buy a suitcase that has many compartments so anything fragile or things like shoes and electronics can be carefully separated. It can also make it easier for you to find your things while travelling or when you have just arrived.

Do you have any other moving tips that you couldn’t do without? Share at the bottom of this page to help out your fellow expat!

 Useful Links

UK import rules : www.gov.uk/guidance/rules-of-origin
Recommended Suitcases : www.huffingtonpost.com
Tips on removal companies : www.telegraph.co.uk
Universal Adapters : gear.lifehacker.com
10 reasons to pack light : www.globotreks.com

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