Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Moving to Scotland? What to bring and not to bring | vol 2

In case you missed it | vol. 1

What to Bring::

+ Something sentimental to get you through the rough patches. I brought a cozy blanket from home. I would wrap myself up in it when I was feeling lonely and cold. Your life in Scotland is going to be so new and everything is going to be different. Carefully choose items to bring that will make you feel more at home. It might be a homemade quilt, maybe your grandmother's serving tray, or it might just be a few pictures to hang on your walls. Whatever it is, pick something to bring that will make you feel at home.

+ If you need a new wardrobe or any clothes it is best to purchase them in your home country. I know there is a space issue in your suitcases but hear me out. The sizing is different in the UK, the styles are different and the cost is staggering with the conversion rate. If you need new suits to start your new job here in Scotland, it is best to purchase them before you leave from a trusted retailer. Go ahead and throw a few new pairs of your favourite jeans in there as well as some new sweaters. Trust me.

*I usually suggest purchasing your raincoat/winter coat here in Scotland. You will be able to get exactly what this weather demands here. 

+ An open mind- Things are going to be different in Scotland than what you're used to. You'll take longer in the grocery store and things like the washing machine will be different. Just keep an open mind and enjoy the experience. It's okay that things are done differently here.

What NOT to Bring::

+ Shorts or summer clothing- You can, but keep it to a minimum. We only have a few weeks in the summer where you can actually wear them. Don't feel like you need to bring a whole summer wardrobe. You won't need it. If you need more suitcase space, toss them.

+ Wellies- Seriously, you don't really need them. Sometimes they are nice to have but I hardly ever wear mine. I think people expect Scotland to have flash flood type of rains (are you used to going out in this type of weather?) but unless you live in the country, your rain boots aren't a huge necessity. If you need suitcase space then just don't worry about them. If you find that you need them once you get here then you can get a cheap pair for £10 that will do the trick.

+ Bedding/towels- Unless you're bringing that special sentimental quilt then don't bother. They are a huge waste of packing space and you can get anything you need here. Also, the bed sizing is just a tiny bit different. My queen size American sheets are just a tad bit too big for my bed here. Just plan to budget for new bedding and towels when you first arrive.


  1. Hi Mary! I find your blog as I was looking for some places to see in Scotland. I'm planning to visit there in 3 years (long time I know but there's a reason) and I'm sooo excited! Me and my 3 best friends all love Scotland and we are leaving our families home to come there just us friends together. By the way I have 2 kids, first son is just few weeks older than Sebastian and my daughter is 9 months. Anyway.. I was supposed to say that when I found your blog I stayd and read it all! All the years you have been blogging, quite a lot of reading I must say. Took me several days. I also like to read if I have time (my all time favorite is Diana Gabaldon's traveller books) and I'm from Finland :)

    1. I'm totally embarrassed you read my whole blog. Let's just say I want to delete a few years. But, thanks for reading! Sounds like you and your friends are planning an epic adventure!

  2. Hi Mary
    I really love your blog (Sebastian is soo cute!), my husband, our dog, and I are moving to Scotland (to Saint Andrews) this coming January, and I am trying to learn as much as I can and have a not so stressful moving experience. I came from Brazil to the US 6 years ago and it was really rough leaving in an empty apartment for a month and missing everyone back home, but overall totally worth it. Now it's time to do it again, hopefully making fewer mistakes, bringing less useless stuff and more $.
    I am trying not to have unrealistic expectations about Scotland but it's hard, I'm so excited!
    My main concern is not finding a place to live nearby St. Andrews (we won't have a car) and have to commute for a long time for work.
    Thanks for the great pieces of advice and gorgeous pictures!

    1. Thanks for reading! My husband moved from Venezuela to Portugal for a few months then onto Scotland. We totally understand all you're feeling. This time will be an easier move. You know more of what to expect and will be much more efficient.

      I recently posting on finding rental property in Scotland. The link is under the tab EXPAT TIPS. That is my best advice for finding a place to live. You're probably more lucky you're coming in January instead of the fall. I hope you don't have a hard time finding property! Good luck!

  3. Great list Mary! I find bedding here to be reasonable also. However, if you are bringing your American beds, then bring enough sheets to last. We have all our American beds here with us and brought our bedding. Duvets (which I am now in love with) and Duvet Covers are great to buy here as the sizes are close enough to American bed sizes, we find it works. But sheets are another matter altogether...bring your sheets if you are bringing your beds.

    1. if you're bringing your own beds then your company is probably paying for the whole thing and then things like what to bring and not to bring really doesn't apply! I mean, the company pays for you to move everything so you don't need to pair down to bare essentials.

      if you bring your beds, then by all means bring your sheets!

  4. I agree - summer clothes are pointless in Scotland! When the four days of 'warm' weather the Scots call summer arrived, I purchased a pair of shorts at a charity shop for like £3. The only reason I had anything summery was for a trip to Spain done in July!

  5. Hi Mary, So enjoying reading your blog! I am in Canada and may be moving to Scotland sometime in the next 2 years. very relieved that many of the things on your "10 things to dislike" list are actually things I can live with -Especially the weather. Having lived on Canada's east coast for most of my life, cold, grey, and damp are part of my everyday vocabulary :) The list of things to bring and things to leave behind is also great. I have already begun to get rid of many things on the "leave behind list". It will be fun over the coming months to say goodbye to more "stuff" as it means moving day is getting nearer. will definitely be reading more!


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