A bunch of suitcases ready to be packed for an international move.

Household Packing Tips – How to Pack for an International Move

There’s a lot that you need to learn before you embark on an exciting, albeit stressful, journey of international relocation. Not knowing how to go through one of the main parts of moving can seriously set you back. This is why it’s best to research everything that you can and be well prepared. One of the most challenging parts of moving is managing to pack everything and relocating it safely. This is partially due to the common misconception that packing is easy and that you can do it without much thought. Instead of making this mistake, let’s go through some household packing tips on how to pack for an international move.

Do the research and get the right information

Going through some trustworthy articles and making your own deductions is the best way to combine knowledge and instinct. Ensure that you read the material that makes sense and that’s written by people experienced in the matter. One of the quickest ways to come to this judgment is to explore multiple sources and see which tips overlap. By following common sense, those will be the ones that actually work. Although packing for an international move isn’t rocket science, there’s still plenty you can do to make it a much more comfortable experience.

A woman sitting behind a laptop and educating herself on how to pack for an international move.
To pack for your international move correctly, you need to get enough information.

Pack for an international move like a pro

We will not lie to you; packing for your South Africa move won’t be a breeze. However, once you get enough information, you’ll be well equipped for everything to go as smoothly as possible. Make sure to follow these tips.

Plan everything out

Even though planning for something seemingly simple like packing might sound like a bore, it’ll come in very handy once you get too busy. If you skip it, you can get too caught up once the moving process starts, and by then, it’ll be too late to do anything about it. So, although it’s not the most exciting thing, planning how you’ll pack for your international move will pay off greatly. For starters, make sure to include a checklist of all your items. You don’t have to go into too much detail. However, making a rough sketch will help you avoid losing anything.


Use all the time you have at your disposal before packing to sort through your belongings. Decluttering before a move is an absolute must. Unless you are a perfectly organized person, that is. A useful piece of advice is to start from the larger categories and move your way down from there.

Get the necessary packing equipment

  • Fragile items – Make sure to think about the fragile items when you pack for an international move. This is mostly in regards to mirrors and glasses, as well as electronics. Remember to use a lot of padding.
  • Be ecologically aware – Whatever you choose to do with your belongings is up to you. However, don’t litter. Make sure that your packing for an international move doesn’t add to the already polluted world.
  • Use storage – While packing, you’ll probably stumble upon some items that you don’t want to throw away, yet you won’t have room for in your home. Therefore, consider renting storage.
A beautiful sculpture that's ready for packing.
Be prepared for packing for an international move by getting some extra material for fragile items.

Take what you will really need

Your budget will be very grateful if you take the time to think about what to carry with you. Packing for an international move isn’t the same as moving locally or even to another state. The costs are inevitably going to be higher. Make sure that you leave the time to sit down and reasonably look at what you’ll need in SA.

Anything you haven’t used in the past month or so is a no-go. Don’t let memories, attachment, and emotions cloud your judgment. Of course, you can take some sentimental valuables with you, just don’t go overboard. Try to find a balance and don’t stress too much over this step. If you can, it would be great to leave room in your schedule to make donations. Some things that you might not find all that necessary could be of great value to someone else.

Avoid making mistakes when packing for an international move

Although it may not seem like it, moving mistakes are very common. You could misplace your belongings; things could break. Also, even if everything goes smoothly in the transportation part of the move, you may realize that you mislabeled your boxes. Don’t let this happen to you by doing your homework on time and preparing well.

Yes, planning is the most significant factor that’ll help with packing without fuss. But it’s not the only one. Make sure to be focused during the whole process. If you’re too busy to be this committed, that’s completely understandable. However, if you don’t want to suffer the consequences of being distracted, you need to hire the right people to help you.

How is moving to Cape Town special?

If you’re moving to Cape Town, the chances are that you have plenty of already formed opinions about it. However, if you haven’t really dedicated your time to research it thoroughly, it may as well be that some of your preconceptions are all wrong. Cape Town is a beautiful place. It has a rich culture, incredible food, and its locals are quite welcoming and friendly. It’s a genuinely perfect blend of tradition and the modern world. Cape Towners call their neighborhoods suburbs, not to be mistaken for the actual US terminology. Although you’ll inevitably feel the culture shock, it shouldn’t take you too long to feel at home here.

The beautiful city of Cape Town.
It won’t take you too long to feel at home in beautiful Cape Town.

What else should you know about moving?

  • Ask for helpSince you’re packing for an international move, you’ll probably let someone else handle the transport from the States. Make sure that whoever you hire is up to the task.
  • Get insuranceEnsuring your belongings will help you move stress-free. Relocation is definitely not a homogenous environment, and you need to be prepared just in case.
  • LabelIf you’re trying to pack as efficiently as possible, you might make the mistake of not labeling your boxes. However, labeling is not something that you’ll regret having done. It’ll pay off considerably once you get to the unpacking part.
  • With all the information you have found here, you are ready to pack for an international move. Also, remember to enjoy the process because moving to South Africa is an exciting new experience.

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