My first move abroad was more than ten years ago. I just booked a flight to Spain, packed my suitcase, and off I went. Well, I didn’t just pack a suitcase – I OVERPACKED a suitcase. I was still enrolled at university and took a semester off to improve my Spanish while working as a bartender during the summer season. Back then, I didn’t have any idea how to go about shipping my luggage and ended up paying €250 ($317) in overweight luggage fees because I was carrying all my university books with me, with the intention to study while I was in Spain (I am still not sure how I thought I’d have time for that – I didn’t touch those books once during my 7-month stay). The €250 I paid were almost my entire savings – so I had to find a job in Spain quickly, which I luckily did. Still, paying that much money only because I didn’t do any research on cheap shipping options hurt.
A few years later, I moved countries again, this time to England, for an entire year (which would actually turn into four years, but I didn’t know that at the time), again loaded with books and other uni-related items, plus a winter in northern England to prepare for. This time, I was smarter though and did my research, and found the best rates for the shipment of moving boxes from Germany to the UK, but I remember that it took me forever to research and compare all the services that offered this service.
These days, it is much easier to get your stuff shipped halfway around the world – and much cheaper, too! One of my good friends from London just moved to Sydney to spend a year in Australia on a work and holiday visa – and this girl has A LOT of clothes, which she was not willing to leave behind for twelve months abroad. Luckily she found out about World Baggage, an Australian company that specializes in shipping excess luggage at a fraction of the cost of what an airline would charge. Depending on how fast you need your baggage to arrive, you can choose between transport by air or ship, state where you’d like to have your belongings picked up from and select a date for the arrival of your stuff. Especially for long-term stays this is a perfect service – no need to restrict yourself to two pairs of shoes or only one of your favorite handbags! Another reason why this service is great for me: I like souvenirs, and every time I spend more than a couple of months in a place, I end up giving stuff away or throwing it out, just because I don’t have room in my luggage to take it with me.
While there are still people who are roughing it and only take with them what they can fit in a backpack when traveling or working overseas for a while, I personally prefer having a larger selection of clothes and other items that I feel like I need but which would probably be deemed unnecessary by others (even though my packing list seems pretty short to me). I was certainly happy that I had my favorite books with me, several coats and outfits ranging from professional to casual, a hair straightener and even a few DVDs. That’s why I could never be one of those nomads who only travel with carry-on (and there seem to be more and more of them!) – Instead, I’ll rely on services like World Baggage.
What about you? Are you an overpacker too, or are you one of the people who get by with carry-on luggage only? Share in the comments below!