What’s in Our Luggage to Move Abroad? Travel

What do you take with you when moving abroad? If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that we got rid of most of our stuff a few months ago. And we whittled down even further last week. The past two days, we’ve been packing and making more decisions about what to take and what to leave behind.

It’s been really helpful for me to see other sites where people listed what they took on their trips, so I’m going to share our list below. We’re each taking one carry-on rolling suitcase and one backpack. We bought new backpacks for the girls (and Jen) for Christmas. And we’re not checking any luggage for a few reasons:

  • Any luggage we check, we also have to carry with us everywhere we go. One suitcase and a backpack each is all we can comfortably handle traveling from place to place.
  • Checking extra luggage can cost more.
  • Airlines do lose checked luggage occasionally, and we’d rather avoid that.
  • We’re trying to live with less – this forces us to choose what’s most important to us.

So here’s the list of what’s coming with us to Costa Rica.

Brandon’s Stuff:

  • 8 pairs of undergarments
  • 6 pairs of white socks, 2 pairs of dark socks
  • 1 pair of Pajama bottoms
  • 5 short-sleeve button-up shirts, 1 t-shirt
  • 1 light sweater (wearing it – instead of a coat – since we’re leaving in the winter)
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of khaki slacks (wearing them)
  • 1 white long-sleeve shirt
  • 1 belt
  • 1 necktie
  • 2 pairs of dark socks
  • 2 pairs of shoes (black dress shoes – wearing, and white New Balance walking shoes)
  • Temple clothes
  • 1 swimming suit
  • Panasonic electric razor

Jennifer’s Stuff:

  • 8 pairs of undergarments
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 1 belt
  • 3 skirts
  • 2 dresses
  • 8 shirts
  • 5 pairs of pants
  • 1 Jacket
  • Contacts, glasses, and contact solution
  • 1 swimming suit
  • Make-up, a little jewelry, and other girly supplies
  • Temple clothes
  • Two books

Emily’s Stuff

  • 5 stuffed animals
  • 7 shirts
  • 4 pair of pants
  • 3 dresses
  • 2 pair of shoes
  • 2 pajamas
  • 7 pair of underwear
  • 1 swimming suit with cover-up
  • 1 hat, 1 visor, sunglasses
  • swim gear: inflatable life vest, goggles

Marie’s Stuff

  • 3 stuffed animals
  • 9 shirts
  • 3 pair of pants
  • 3 dresses
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • 2 pajamas
  • 7 pair of underwear
  • 1 swimming suit with cover-up
  • 1 hat, 1 visor, sunglasses
  • swim gear: inflatable life vest, goggles

Other Kid’s stuff:

  • Various coloring books, travel board games, treats, and other things to keep them occupied on the plane and after.
  • Thin photo books their Grandma made for them
  • Some DVD-ROM educational games for the computer
  • A little jewelry


  • 15″ Macbook Pro Laptop
  • 15″ Dell Laptop
  • 13″ Dell Laptop
  • 9″ Dell Laptop
  • iPhone w/usb cord, wall adapter, and earphones
  • Wireless router and small LAN cable
  • Walkie talkies with charger
  • Camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1), with small tripod
  • Camera (Canon Powershot SD300)
  • Noise-cancelling headphones (Audio-technica)
  • Headset with microphone for chat, creating video tutorials, and singing

Other Supplies (in various places, mostly travel sizes):

  • Facial lotion
  • Toothbrushes (battery powered for Jen & me) & toothpaste
  • Facial cleanser
  • Small bottle of eye drops
  • Contact solution and case
  • Dental floss
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes (one in each of our backpacks)
  • Tissues
  • Shampoo and conditioner, body wash
  • Combs and brushes
  • Deodorant
  • Travel documents: flight itinerary and passports
  • Sunglasses
  • Credit cards and a little cash
  • Earphones
  • First aid kit

Whew! That looks like a long list. Then again, it’s all we have to live on unless we buy more when we’re down there. Some of the stuff we’re taking we may still end up not using, and get rid of it anyway. But we’ll probably eventually buy things to replace what we already have (especially as clothes wear out, etc.)

I can’t believe we leave tomorrow! We’re so excited! It’s a day earlier than we planned because we’re flying stand-by and one of the flights we would have had ended up being full. Hopefully we’ll get through without having to spend the night in New York or Orlando.

So, back to the list – anything you think we forgot? What else would you bring or leave behind? (Let me guess – you wouldn’t bring four laptops…) :)

Brandon is a location independent entrepreneur, musician, worldschooling father, and the principal author of this blog. He's all about reaching his potential and enjoying life to the fullest in each moment.


  1. It’s fun to read your lists. Are the girls taking the bracelets Jen made for them? I’m sure you know this, but make sure you put all your little bottles of hand sanitizer (and cosmetics) are in baggies before heading to the airport. They don’t provide them for you anymore…

    Do you and Jen have sunglasses you’ll take? Or are you buying them when you get there?

    One potential suggestion is to take some dryer sheets – out of the package and mixed in with your clothes. Will help them to stay static-free during the journey… and then you can use them once you get there.

    If you have a bottle of Healthy essential oil and Tea Tree – take those along too!

    It’s so exciting, this next adventure in your lives. I can’t wait to read all the posts you’re going to write to keep me informed of your activities and travels…. :)

  2. @the mom – Yes, I forgot to add sunglasses, credit cards, and the bracelets Jen made. (I probably left some other things off the list, too, but it’s fairly comprehensive). Thanks for the tips. Why does hand sanitizer, etc. need to be in baggies?

  3. Wow… you’re packing like I would if I were going on vacation for a week. LOL. You guys will have so much fun!!

    The liquids need to be in little baggies at the airport so that they can more easily access them/see them as they go through the scanner in Security. See the 3-1-1 rule: http://www.tsa.gov/311/

  4. For us, four laptops would be a priority! It will be interesting to see what you wish you had brought and what you decide you don’t really need so much.

    I hope you have a safe trip. I’m looking forward to updates!

  5. This is a very impressive list, Brandon. Thanks for sharing. I am excited for you and your family as you begin this adventure. Hope you have safe travels and that everything goes well for you.

    I’m looking forward to reading about your Costa Rican experiences. Let the adventure begin!

  6. I hope you guys enjoy this journey. It will be fun to hear and see all the things you are doing and exploring. This will definitely be a journey that you will all remember.

  7. @brandon – If it’s a liquid hand sanitizer (as most are) then it has to be in the baggie with your other liquids to go through airport security screening….

  8. Well despite the fact that we have packed pretty light, I still feel a bit too heavy, and we are only one flight into our journey, especially since the flight attendant who helped me put my roller bag up in the overhead compartment complained. She asked me why I didn’t just check such a heavy bag. Yeah. Not to mention that my backpack is way too heavy as well, and it hurts my shoulders after only a few seconds of wear. I may have to say goodbye to a few more things in the near future.

  9. I miss my little shadows :o)( and the big people too)
    I know that bag was way to heavy for you to lift I hope your back isn’t hurting too much.. I look forward to everyone of your posts. I hope you have made it to your final destination without lay overs . I put all the food and supplies away today, your increased our supplies a lot :o) You kids had a very nice start on food storage. We’ll put it to good use. THANKS.

  10. @Irene – Thanks, Grandma. We sure enjoyed staying with you and will miss you. We are here safe in Costa Rica and I’ll be posting a blog post as soon as this video finishes uploading (it’s pretty big and may be another hour…).

    I’m glad you’ll be able to use the food. We gave a way a lot more food even before we came to your house, too. We probably had a good 3 month supply. But now we can start over with new food. :)

  11. Chris Merrill Says: January 10, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    1 Mac and 3 Dells??? I think you need to flip those numbers :-) Seriously though, why go both ways?

  12. @Chris – Yeah, once the PC’s die, they will be replaced with macs for sure! We all prefer them now. (Although the little Dell Mini is nice – can’t get that size in a mac yet). I keep telling myself that it’s good to have a PC around for testing websites, etc., but I haven’t had to use it for that for months… maybe never will…

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