Decide what should be included in the suitcases that travel with you, and make sure that everything fits. Remember that these may be the only possessions you have for several weeks or longer, depending upon when your air freight arrives. Make sure to check with your airline carrier for weight limits on both checked and carry-on baggage.

Consider the time of year you are moving. Will you arrive during the rainy season, during hot summer weather, or when temperatures require coats, hats and gloves? A good rain coat and umbrella might be a necessity for your carry luggage. Consider all members of your family.

What will children need during travel and immediately upon arrival in your new location? A favorite stuffed animal, coloring book or game for the plane ride, and comfortable clothing can make for easier traveling. Hand carrying a favorite book and/or school supplies that cannot be bought in your new country can help children with the transition.

Hand-held portable devices (i-Pods, international cell phones, computer games for children) are helpful when traveling. Be sure to not leave these items on airplanes!

Put valuables in your carry-on luggage so they remain with you at all times. Always hand-carry jewelry.

Check to be sure your luggage is in good condition (in case of rough handling) and make the necessary repairs or purchases. Secure identification tags for each piece of luggage and mark pieces with something distinctive, such as a colorful ribbon.

See Chapter 11 "Packing to Go" in the Foreign Service Assignment Notebook: What Do I Do Now? for more tips on packing.

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