What to Bring
The first thing to decide is what to take along, what to leave behind in storage. In part it may depend on your contract (is your company covering storage costs, furniture rental in Italy, etc.). Here some pointers that I or friends of mine have learned the hard way.
Furniture. If you have a company paying for your way over, then by all means ship what you have but if you have to foot the bill yourself, only bring pieces that are important to you. A couch is a couch.
Clothing – Italy is the world’s capital of fashion, so why would you want to bring along clothing? Simple – to save money. The past Christmas, even middle-class Italians were jetting to New York to go shopping – that gives you an idea of how much you can save. In some cases even famous Italian brand names can be had for less in the USA. So if you don’t absolutely have to be 100% Latest Italian Fashion, bring what you can! However, one thing which you may be better off buying in Italy is accessories - like ties, leather goods, etc. Not only for the price, but rather for the quality and the selection that is available. And a couple of good fashionable ties can make a world of difference to your wardrobe without spending a fortune. For a good selection try Raffaello Ties on the internet - tip: get prices in USD; last time I checked you paid less in USD versus Euro, at current exchange rates.
If you have kids, stocking up at Target is great. If you like Gap stuff, load up before you come over because the sizes are not the same if you find a GAP in Europe and the amount of choices is very limited. If you have a preference for Jockey underwear, bring them over, they are not found here and Macy's and others who sell online will not ship to Italy.
Medications - Whenever I go to the U.S. I end up bringing back loads of over the counter stuff. Medications in Italy are pretty cheap (Ambien here cost €8 for 20 pills) but aspirin, paracetomolo/tachiparina (like Tylenol), etc. cost an arm and a leg (€10 for 10 pills). Also, although now they have a few cold and flu medicines on the market, they are not as strong as the stuff back in the U.S. Bring what you can to last a season or two (check expiration dates before purchasing anything). If you have children, kid's Tylenol, Desitin and other kid's products are non existent (they have paracetomolo for kids but they are normally suppositories).
Photos & Mementos - What can I say, these will be the most important things you have when you start to feel homesick.
Foods - Many things you can find here or you find a workaround. People used to say they had no peanut butter and maybe they don't in very remote areas but if you are going to be near any good sized town you can find it. Here are some items we miss from back home (remember to check expiration dates):
- Chocolate chips
- package dressings (like powdered ranch dressing)
- package spices (taco seasonings, etc.)
- Powdered beverages (ice teas here have sugar already added)
- Baking powder
- Cream of Tartar
- Spices (international hard to find things)
- Favorite packaged food (mac & cheese, jell-o, pudding mixes, candies, etc.) Check the forum first though to see if they are available now.
- SACO brand buttermilk powder
MISC. - Then there are all of the little things that we get used to back where we come from.
- Dryer sheets
- Ziplock bags
- Gallon sized jugs for tea and juices (they probably will not fit in the fridge though)
- Tupperware (if you have space, there are plenty of types of plastic containers now so only if you are trying to fill up a container)
- Computer programs (if you want to save a bit but most things can be ordered from Amazon.co.uk)
- Scrapbooking materials
This is a work in progress. If you have something to add to the list please let me know. email@example.com