What to bring when moving to the United Kingdom

Things to bring when moving to the United Kingdom
Updated 2023-09-05 15:16

Are you concerned about what you should bring during your relocation to the UK? Many expats don't give this a long thought before travelling. Of course, there are not many products you can't find in the UK. However, packing wisely will make the first weeks of your expatriation more comfortable, so we recommend taking your time to consider your packing list for moving to the UK.

What to consider when planning your move

Before you even start thinking about what to bring to the UK, determine the following factors and plan accordingly:

  • The time of the year for your arrival to the UK;
  • The reason for coming to the UK (e.g., studies, work, etc.);
  • The duration of your stay in the UK.

Many first-time expatriates make the mistake of packing inconsiderately while emotionally loaded, meaning they don't think practically. If you don't want to arrive at the airport's check-in station with heavy and expensive luggage (we have all seen airlines' strict rules about overweight luggage and extra suitcases), start making a list with ‘things to take,' ‘things to store,' ‘things to donate,' and see this journey as an opportunity to clear out your wardrobes. This is the time to let go of pieces you don't wear and organise a farewell/clothes swap party with your friends at home.


Items that you won't regret packing for an expat project in the UK: a waterproof and windproof jacket, umbrella, rain boots, warm hat, warm socks, mittens, and a scarf. When styling up, think of layering by wearing items on each other so you are prepared at any time of the day for Britain's unpredictable and continuously changing weather.

Good to know:

There's no need to bring your whole wardrobe. Across the UK, you can find shopping outlets from designer items to brands at bargain prices. Online shopping is also trendy in the UK.

What is different in the UK?


The United Kingdom is one of the few countries with G plug sockets and does not accept any other type of international plug socket. With that in mind, you can buy either a UK electrical adapter or a universal adapter that is more economical in the long run, especially if you plan to move to another country. Your electrician in your home country can also help you fit the UK socket on your electrical items if you are planning to stay in the UK for a very long period.


Expats are used to certain cosmetic brands in their home countries, but it's not guaranteed they will find the same products in the UK. You can still check their availability in the UK before packing extra shaving cream, face cream, and hair serum in your bag. This will help you save space and money. Moreover, there are cosmetic products you can buy only in the UK, which can be as good as those you're used to, if not better.


It is highly recommended that you check the import rules for your country when travelling to the UK. It would be heartbreaking to pack your favourite things only to see them being seized by the Customs Department. Find more information in Expat.com's article on Customs in the UK.

Suitcase, removal van, or containers

Planning your move to the UK depends on your length of stay. If you intend to stay for an extended period and would like to bring your belongings, consider booking a removal van and a container. Also, remember that your belongings can take several weeks to arrive in the UK. Expat.com can help you find relocation companies. In all cases, ensure the company you intend to hire is accredited and well-rated. Please find more information in our article about relocating to the UK. Packing a suitcase for travel has always been the easiest way to move around. It is advised if you intend to stay for a short period in the United Kingdom or plan to move your belongings in different stages.


Check import rules from your home country to the UK so that your container won't be stuck for weeks upon arriving in the UK.

Tips for packing your suitcase

Sort your belongings out: Sort things out in three groups 'Yes', 'Maybe,' and 'No'. You aim to bring the yes pile only and half of the maybe pile if you are strong enough.

Roll your clothes up: If you wish to avoid creasing your clothes and want to fit a maximum of belongings in your suitcase, roll them up instead of folding them.

Secure fragile objects: fragile belongings should always be in the middle of the suitcase. You can also use bubble wrap or wrap them in your clothes.

Choose the right suitcase: Buy a suitcase with several compartments. This will make it easier to separate fragile things from other belongings. Finding your belongings upon arrival will also be more straightforward.

Useful link:

UK import rule

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.