It’s easy to forget essentials when moving. Here are things to note when packing for your move abroad:
Germany enjoys a fairly moderate continental climate. The year is characterized by four fairly distinct seasons. Like all good European countries, Germany comes alive in the warmer months, long days with sunshine and blue skies. Winter is no joke in Germany, expect dark, grey damp and snow. In the immediate Frankfurt area, heavy snow safe winter gear is not necessary, but you might want to make the most of some of the best skiing regions nearby.
Medicine and Health Aids
Germany boasts a great healthcare system, but until you get integrated into the healthcare system, it is helpful to bring any key medicine you have from home to get you through the first months. Medical and dental records for each member of your family are very helpful when seeking treatment in Germany, so remember to bring them along.
Food and Cooking
The same holds true for foodstuffs, none of which you should bring along, unless they happen to be very exotic items that you can’t live without. Your favorite foods and spices that you can’t find – and they will be few in number – can be replaced by new favorites that you’ll discover here. There are even small grocery stores selling expatriate products so you shouldn’t have problems finding most of your preferred foods.
Germans are absolutely crazy about sports. Indeed, just try finding someone on the streets when the national team is playing in the World Cup or European Cup. Basketball is well established here, but American football less so, while cricket, baseball, softball and the like are rare. If you like to participate actively in some of the lesser-known sports, bring along your basic equipment from home.
If you’re transporting your own bed, don’t forget to pack all your bed linens. German bed sizes differ from those of many other countries, so you may arrive to find that local sheets, pillowcases, duvets and blankets just don’t fit properly.
The essential point to remember in bringing electrical items from abroad is that the German electrical standard is 230 Volts and 50 Hertz. Plugs here are all two-pinned with round prongs, and these are the only plugs that fit German sockets. You can buy adaptors for your devices, but if you come from a country with different voltage standards, such as the United States, you’ll also need a transformer for your appliances.
Forget the really big items, such as stoves, refrigerators, washing machines and clothes dryers. After you’ve calculated the costs of transport and the complicated rewiring to get them operable in Germany, you’ll discover it’s much better to buy them new or used when you arrive. Plus, even in so-called ‘unfurnished flats’ and houses, some local landlords have started putting in fridges and stoves for their tenants.
At the other end of the economic scale, hair dryers and coffeemakers or hot water heaters are so reasonably priced here, if you buy them at the right places, that you might want to forego the adjustments needed for your home models, which include adaptors along with the inconvenience of lugging them to your new residence. For good deals on small appliances, you might want to shop at the coffee chain Tchibo or the discount supermarkets Aldi or Lidl – which often run good promotions on these items.