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Essential Packing List

Updated: July 14th, 2021

Packing to go on a short holiday can be quite stressful so imagine packing up your entire life to go and live in a new country. It’s important to plan exactly what you’ll be taking with you, taking everything you own is not impossible but it sure can get expensive. Compiling an essential packing list will not only save you time but also money.

You’ll also need to do your research figuring out what to leave and what to pack, you don’t want to leave so many things behind that you end up spending a lot of money replacing those items. And if you bring too many items you might pay quite a bit on shipping or air fees.

So let’s discuss the general packing list that will help you get through your big move.

Moving to Canada Packing List


To make the process a little easier for you, segmenting your list is a great way to ensure you pack everything you need. Three categories you could separate your list according to is practical items, legal items and sentimental items.

Practical Items

This would be anything you need or would use in your daily life. Also, items that you already have and would be unnecessary to buy again once in Canada. These items include:

  • Converter/Adapter plugs - your country might have a completely different type of plug compared to Canada. The adapters could be helpful for when you first arrive at your new home and want to charge items such as your laptop or cellphone. It’s also great to have for travelling purposes.
  • Personal electronics such as tablets, camera’s and video games - this seems unnecessary to buy in Canada if you already have these items. They are worth packing in, you can just change the plug or use an adapter.
  • Small appliances - this could be another way to save money. For example, packing your vacuum cleaner (if not bulky) could save you more money than buying a new one. Of course, this doesn’t work with every item as some tend to be heavier and can take up a lot of weight.
  • Kitchenware - packing all of your pots and pans might not be ideal, but bringing along some cutlery, a few pots (especially the good ones) can save you money and time. You don’t want to be buying take-out for your first week because of a lack of kitchenware.
  • Pet food - if you are travelling with a pet it would be a great idea to pack at least 5 days worth of food. This will give time while you settle down in the first few days as you won’t have to rush to the store.
  • Medication - if you take prescription medication, be sure to bring those along. Canada allows a 90-day supply. Be sure that it’s in its original container with your doctor’s prescription printed on the container. You will need to declare all medicine.
  • Clothing and shoes - this is where a lot of the luggage weight will come from. Be careful to not pack unnecessary items such as an item of clothing you haven’t worn in the past year. Instead, you can sell or give them away.

Legal Items

Legal documents are by far the most important to pack. You won’t get very far without them, so make sure they are either on your person when travelling or safely locked in your carry-on bag. Legal items include:

  • Your passport - you can’t go anywhere without it and in the stress of moving it can often be left behind.
  • Birth certificates - this is always good to have with you and you’ll need it when applying for medical insurance.
  • Marriage license - another important document to have when moving to another country.
  • Insurance policies - if you haven’t cancelled your insurance or you have insurance cover for other family members in your home country, it would be a good idea to have these with you.
  • Wills - this should always go where ever you do as it’s long-term.
  • House sale documents/rental check out - this is good to have especially if you are going to rent your home.
  • Person to contact in case of emergency - you never know what may happen, major or minor so it’s always good to have an emergency contact on your person.
  • driver's license and international license - if you’re renting a car immediately after landing in Canada, this is very important.
  • Cash (Canadian dollars) - it’s always good to carry cash just in case your credit or debit cards haven’t been activated yet internationally or if the store doesn’t accept cards. You won’t need to carry much and having cash won’t be a waste either, because it can be used at any time.

Sentimental Items


This would be anything that has a value that isn’t easily replaced by money because it has an emotional value to it. These items may include:

  • Photo albums - these can’t be replaced and even though you’ll be making new memories in Canada, it’s always nice to be able to look back at the older ones.
  • Jewelry - it would make sense to bring this along with you, especially if it holds sentimental value.
  • Home videos - these are irreplaceable and a beautiful thing to take along on the big move.
  • Collections e.g. books or vinyl - if you are a collector, you may want to bring your collection along. Yes, it may create extra weight but it will also make your new place feel like home.
  • Other items - this could be a special mug that someone has given you. Being in a new country can be a little tough at times, so having these items may bring you comfort.

What Do I Pack in My Carry-on Bag?

This is where the most important documents will be because you will need them close to you at all times. Certain valuables or fragile items can and should also be placed into your carry-on bag.

  • Passport
  • Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if needed
  • Proof of insurance (medical + luggage + civil liability)
  • Valid driver's license and international license
  • Plane tickets (if you have a round trip)
  • Health booklet (or vaccination booklet)
  • Cash (Canadian dollars)
  • Credit/debit card
  • Person to contact in case of emergency (contact info)
  • Camera / Video camera
  • Mobile phone

Another great thing to carry with you, not necessarily in the carry-on bag, is a first aid kit. It’s a good thing to have at home and will save you from running to the store when you need something as simple as a band-aid.

A High Quality of Life Awaits You in Canada


Canada has been voted the best country in the world for 2021 and for good reason. Canada is a place with a strong educational system, a leading country within the medical field and puts the safety of its residents as one of the top priorities. You will also experience the high minimum wage of Canada and the forward-thinking government. These, along with many other factors play a role in Canadians enjoying a high standard of life.

In Canada, you will experience a community that is not only welcoming but also helpful. This is important when moving to a new place, to find a sense of community in your new home. The help of your community plus the care of the Canadian government is sure to be a recipe for a happy life.

There is no better time to move to Canada than now, with the government inviting over 1.2 million immigrants as permanent residents of Canada. Fill in the eligibility form now and see if you qualify for one of the over 100 immigration programs of Canada.

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