Now I’ll never be the one who packs 2 weeks in advance but in all honesty, I prefer it that way. I don’t know if anyone else can relate when I say this but, the last minute packing fills me with excitement, the sudden realisation the journey you’re about to embark on starts tomorrow!
So what type of packer am I? I’m the type whose priorities are all in reverse order. Downloading iTunes, painting my nails in that Essie pink colour and glued to watching corrie while all my clothes are still on the dining room table waiting to still be ironed. Can anyone else relate? I truly believe the packing is the easiest part once you know exactly what you are taking. That in my opinion is the only true thing that needs planning so today I’ve created a list of useful things I thought was necessary to pack on my move to Kuwait. Often we move to a different country for the first time and wish we had known what certain items were unavailable there or perhaps more expensive to buy than in your home country. Likewise knowing what things are not necessary and will only boost up your travel allowance.
No1 mistake people often make. Moving to Kuwait? the Middle East? Let’s fill my suitcase with summer clothes only. However Kuwait does have a winter season! That means you’re going to need to bring some winter clothes with you. While it won’t exactly be as cold as the winters we have here in the U.K, Canada or the US etc t-shirts and dresses still won’t cut it unfortunately. I’d recommend bringing a coat, a few jackets and a few winter jumper/dresses with you. Over the years Kuwait has been unpredictable with weather, with a horrendous flooding around November/December time one year that brought closure to schools all across Kuwait.
Now for the summer wear. While you are free to wear what you want in Kuwait, it is a conservative country and is not like other places you might think of such as Dubai in the UAE, Bahrain, or cities like Amman and Beirut where it is much more relaxed and acceptable to wear shorter skirts and dresses etc. Usually for Kuwait it’s better to wear dresses/skirts that are at the knee/past the knee length, not show your shoulders as well as avoid any kind of see through tops etc. I found maxi or mid length dresses to be perfect for teaching in Kuwait as well as knee length skirts. HOWEVER, when it comes to the private health/beach clubs you can basically wear whatever you like.
. Everyday wear
. Winter wear
. Beach/Health club wear
. Swimwear – bikinis are absolutely fine/normal to wear at the hotels in Kuwait or the health clubs such as Al Corniche Club that I have previously mentioned or the Palms etc. . Holiday wear – Something that often people including myself don’t think of is an extra small pile of clothes when travelling. For example many expats in Kuwait will travel to nearby destinations such as Dubai, Doha, Manama on the weekends etc where they will be partying and going to nightclubs and bars etc. The only thing is…your Kuwait wardrobe won’t really fit in with what you want to wear on a night out. So if you plan on doing this (though perhaps this is more suited to next year due to the pandemic) then don’t forget to pack this little list of clothes for that purpose. 2 pairs of heels, a couple of dresses/night out outfits and you should be good to go!
Clothes are also expensive in Kuwait to buy. So try to avoid relying on buying lots of clothes once you reach here as it’ll be more pricy than what you are used to back at home.
Shoes: Trainers, flats, sandals, slight heel for work etc. Maybe a couple of high heels when you want to go to a fancy restaurant etc.
. Your mask! We live in a new world now where wearing a mask has become the norm. While some countries relax their rules on mask wearing Kuwait is definitely taking it seriously in wearing one!
. Sunglasses and hat – Kuwait is one of if not the hottest place on Earth. Therefore its important to protect yourself from the sun as much as possible during the hottest months of the year. It’s hard to express just how hot Kuwait can get but trust me when I say this… even crossing the road during June, July, August etc when its 50 plus degrees is a challenge with no shade.
. Scarfs – for religious sites, the colder months etc They always seem to come in handy.
PERSONAL ITEMS FOR YOUR NEW ACCOMMODATION
. This is really important as you’re most likely not going to be able to change the furniture/decorate etc in the apartment given to you by your school. Therefore bringing a couple of things over with you that will make your apartment feel more like home is essential! If somewhere you are living doesn’t feel like your own space then it can get lonely.
. Items that I think are worth bringing are a couple of decorative things from your bedroom, bed sheets, blanket, fairy lights and maybe a small artificial plant etc to give it that homely atmosphere.
. Great places to look are amazon and Ikea. Kuwait does have an IKEA thats good but doesn’t have as much as you can find in England in my personal opinion. Zara home also have lovely decorative items if you wanted to buy some new things to bring. Again this is also available in Kuwait but will be pricier.
. Camera, chargers, batteries discs etc you won’t want to forget. There are plenty of places in Kuwait to take lovely photos as well as if you go travelling on your breaks.
. Laptop and your chargers also as well any speakers you might want for the living room.
. Portable chargers for your phone if you have one and maybe even consider an underwater camera if you do have one as there are plenty of opportunities to go diving here in the Gulf.
. The plugs in Kuwait are the same as we use in England however I’d recommend bringing adapters as you may need them if you travel to other countries. =
. Lastly an extension cable is always handy as you won’t know how the plug sockets are laid out in your apartment.
DOCUMENTS AND MONEY
Make sure you bring copies as well as your originals with you. Taking passport sized photos is also helpful. Think about whether you would like to buy a car over there, what will you need. This might seem obvious but make sure anything important travels with you in your hand luggage just in case worse scenario happens and your luggage was lost. Create a file on your laptop of all communication/documents sent from your school/work place and print off your contract if necessary.
In Kuwait, the currency is Kuwaiti Dinars, the highest currency in the world. I found it really helpful to understand the conversation rate before I moved out there as it gives you that step ahead and avoids you being confused in the first few weeks of how much everything costs. 1KD might sound to you like £1 but it isn’t. So have a look at how much things would be in pounds for example writing down how much 1kd, 5kd, 10kd, 20kd is etc should be really helpful when settling in.
Everybody will spend a different amount and not follow the same budget. Use that first month to really plan out how much everything costs roughly and how much you want to be saving each month. Just because 5 other teachers are spending however much to travel on every holiday doesn’t mean you have to as well. Kuwait is an expensive country and you have to think what is the purpose of you moving there. Because you won’t be able to save a lot of money and travel on every opportunity, sometimes we have to give and take and work out a healthy balance of enjoying your time there but still saving enough so it hasn’t gone all to waste.
First check with your school on what they provide and have available to decorate your classroom and resources to use for teaching each subject. Then start finding out what things can be bought in Kuwait and what things you should take over with you.
Kuwait isn’t the easiest place to find specific things you might want in the classroom. Therefore I’d advise buying such things as classroom borders, anything for displays that you think you won’t find there on amazon well in advance of your moving date.
Books in Kuwait are also all censored so there will be various things that are not permitted to be used in the classroom if they contain certain things. This means if you want to bring books over for reading time make sure 1 the school doesn’t already have them and 2 that they are allowed to be used in the school.
This takes up a lot of weight in your baggage but probably one of the most essential parts of your packing. It’s not like clothes, if you forget them then you can simply buy some out there…children’s books and resources will be harder to find. I’ll make another post of things to buy/prepare for the classroom.
You really don’t need to waste your time bringing so much of this out. They really weigh down your cases and they are all things that can be bought once you arrive there. A shampoo, conditioner and shower gel for when you arrive, one deodorant, and any necessary creams/makeup etc you want to take with you but thats about it. You don’t need to pack 5 foundations, 6 perfumes, and months worth of shampoos lol Kuwait has so much with the majority of brands you would find back in England.
If I can think of anymore that was essential to pack then I’ll update this post and let you all know. If you have any questions about moving to Kuwait/what to bring then leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can as I know many will be moving very soon like myself back to Kuwait.