Global LifestyleGlobal Lifestyle

How to Pack Your Life in Two Suitcases

1. Downsize. You’ll quickly find that your stuff becomes a hindrance when travelling. Less really is more.
2. Choose versatile clothing. Instead of packing 4 of the same item, choose tops and bottoms that can be dressed up or down with a blazer or shoes.
3. Expect to shop. You won’t be able to anticipate everything you’ll need abroad, so plan to buy a bit when you arrive. 
couple on laptop

Part Ways with Whatever You Don’t Really Need

To pack your life into two suitcases, you’ll need to know what to bring on an international move and what to leave behind. When packing, start laying out the essentials:

  • Documents including passports, visas, birth certificates, and immunisation records amongst others.
  • Computer or mobile phone
  • Electronic adapters
  • Semi formal attire that can function for job interviews, evening events or daywear.
  • Comfortable shoes

Beyond the basics, your destination and the intention of your trip will dictate what else you need from rain ponchos to ball gowns. Keep in mind that most people think that they can take a lot more than they actually can. But there’s no need to mourn the stuff you’ll need to leave behind, just consider this an exciting opportunity to start fresh.  

pack suitcase

Our Top Tips for how to Pack Your Life into Two Suitcases:

  • Start early, so that you have time to shop for any necessities.
  • Layout all your suitcases, so you optimise your carry-on. Make sure you can manage everything you plan to take.
  • Prevent impulsive decision making by doing a little bit over weeks or months, so you can avoid feeling overwhelmed as your departure date nears.

vaccum-seeled beags

Pack More with the Help of Vacuum-Sealed Bags

Vacuum-sealed bags are your friend when it comes to packing, as they allow you to take more clothes with you, especially when it comes to puffy clothes like sweaters and coats. Just don’t get carried away. While these bags will help you save space, they won’t help you stay within airline weight limits, so keep weight limits in mind as you go. 

To squeeze in a few extra items, plan your airport outfit ahead of time right down to the shoes. You might wear a tank top underneath a t-shirt with a sweater over that and then your winter coat with a scarf. It may make for a sweaty jaunt through the airport, but it can help you get a few extra items overseas.


Take Only a Few Pairs of Shoes and Hard to Find Toiletries

Because shoes are so cumbersome, it can be difficult to pack them while saving space, so the fewer you can take with you, the better. To get even more strategic with your packing, you could stuff your shoes with small accessories, such as scarves, gloves, jewelry, and socks.  
When it comes to toiletries, remember that you can probably purchase new toiletries and makeup once you settle into your new home (you just may not be able to get your preferred brands abroad.)

It’s All About How You Organise Your Suitcases

To successfully pack your life in two suitcases, you need to plan every bit of capacity you have. Here are a few ways to maximise the space in your suitcases, regardless of how big or small they are:

  • If you have two suitcases that are different sizes, pack your lighter items into your larger suitcase, as that could make it easier to carry along with your smaller piece.
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them. It’s easier to see what you’ve got and it saves tons of space.
  • Wrap up fragile belongings in soft items, such as shirts, that you are going to pack anyway.
  • Stick with e-books rather than physical copies. The less paper you pack, the more room you will have for other important items. Be sure to securely pack your ID, passport, and other important documents related to your move, and have them in easy-to-access areas.
  • Use every single pouch and pocket that’s available on the interior and exterior of both of your suitcases. This will further help you spread everything out so that you will be able to maximise the space available and make it easier to carry both bags as you make your way through airports, train stations, and taxis.  
  • Pack at least one spare change of clothes in your carry on. Lost luggage can happen anywhere anytime, so having the essentials with you is always a good idea.Never place valuables in your checked luggage. Cameras, computers, documents, watches etc. should always go in your carry on.
laptop, phone

Everything Digital is Your Friend

  • Save important files to a cloud server, so you don’t have to pack any portable hard drives with your laptop. 
  • Scan important documents into the cloud in case you lose the originals.
  • Invest in an ebook reader, or plan to use your phone.

For large purchases of expensive luxury items or bulk items, you can set up recurring transfers on a schedule, provided that the seller will allow you to pay in instalments. Or you can use a Limit Order to set your preferred exchange rate and be notified once it is triggered, so you can shop while enjoying the benefit of an exchange rate that helps you save even more money. And if you are not ready to pay just yet but you want to lock in a great exchange rate, you can set up a Forward Contract for up to 12 months.
With the right payment strategy, you can make a luxury purchase without reservation. So go ahead and purchase that antique car from abroad that you have been eyeing. Once you submit your payment with OFX, you might have money left over to give it a brand new paint job once it arrives home.

Shop wise and save

In the end, it is important to do your research before purchasing items from another country, whether you are investing in designer goods or you are hoping to build up your online shop. Understanding what taxes you might owe on imports, as well as where you can find the best deals, will help you make the wisest buying choices. But to ensure you save money on fees and margins that are associated with paying overseas sellers, simply using a service like OFX could be just what you need to stretch your budget, so you can buy even more.



IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. UKForex Limited (trading as “OFX”) and its affiliates make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.

Want a particular rate? We'll let you know when your target market rate is reached.

Thank you, we'll send you an email when your target market rate is triggered.

Oops, something went wrong. Please enter a valid e-mail address.

  • Required
  • Not valid

Currency pair


  • Currencies cannot be the same
  • Required
  • Not valid