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Making the Move: 6 Items to Pack in Your Suitcase

Making the Move: 6 Items to Pack in Your Suitcase

Leaving Calgary, Alberta, Canada — December 9, 2011

“What should I pack in my suitcase?” is a question we often get asked by Nicaraguan Expats-to-Be.

With some extra legwork and a willingness to pay premium prices you can almost always get what you need here. 

As opposed to Walmart superstores – that are found in every neighborhood in North America – Mom and Pop shops are the norm here.  Just like in the U.S. of old, each store is a family run business that generally specializes in one type of product or service. 

If you’d like to save some time and money you’ll probably want to add the six items listed below to your packing list.

1.  E-Reader – New and used English books are sometimes hard to come by, especially if you’re looking for newer releases.  And when you do find them, they aren’t cheap. If you enjoy reading and don’t already have an e-reader you’ll probably want to invest in one.

2.  Quality Kitchen Knife – Sharpening stones are easy to find here, but good quality chef knives are not. With more time to enjoy cooking and a bounty of vine ripened fruits and vegetables a good knife will be a welcomed companion.

3.  Electronics –  With technology outdated by at least two years and items priced 30% – 100% higher than in Canada and the United States you’ll definitely want to bring your laptop, iPad and any other electronic devices you can’t live without.  It’s also a good idea to make sure everything is working well.  Repairs can usually be done in Managua, but don’t come cheap.

4.  Spices – The selection of spices available in Nicaragua is limited. If you have some favorites you enjoy cooking with on a regular basis you’ll want to stash some in your suitcase.  Oregano, garlic powder, crushed chilies and cinnamon can be found in almost every grocery store however turmeric, cardamom, sage and thyme cannot.

5.  Bedsheets & Pillows – I’m someone who appreciates nice linens.  I’ve been told you can find them here but, like many other quality items, they are sold at a higher price than in North America.  Keep comfy and save yourself some cash by bringing a couple of sets of sheets with you. For added comfort you may want to bring your favorite pillow and even a mattress cover. Worried about space in your suitcase? Vacuum sealed storage bags work great!

6.  Ear Plugs – Roosters, barking dogs and fire crackers are common sounds we hear all hours of the day and night.  To avoid sleep disruption you may want to pick up a multi-pack of ear plugs. You’ll be happy to know that just like those individuals living near an airport or a railway crossing, you too, will eventually desensitize to these sounds.

Have you recently made the move to Nicaragua? Is there anything you wished you would’ve packed in your suitcase?

What We Packed in Our Suitcases

If you’ve ever thought packing for a 1 or 2 week vacation was difficult try packing your whole life into a few bags; it’s not easy task!  

We left with 2 large suitcases, 1 large backpack, 1 hockey bag and two carry on suitcases. Continue reading below to find out what we managed to squeeze into our bags.

Her Clothing

  • 10 pairs of jean shorts
  • 11 t-shirts
  • 10 camis
  • 16 tank tops
  • 1 pair trouser jeans
  • 3 cotton skirts
  • 2 beach dresses
  • 1 boyfriend blouse
  • underwear & socks
  • 5 bikinis
  • 1 rash guard
  • 3 belt3 hats
  • 4 lightweight scarves
  • 2 pairs of Flojo flip flops
  • 1 pair Reef flip flops
  • 3 pairs of leather sandals
  • 1 pair of Converse Chuck Taylors
  • 1 pair of running shoes
  • 2 long sleeve t-shirts
  • 2 lightweight cardigans
  • 2 pairs of capris
  • Lululemon yoga capris
  • Lululemon yoga jacket
  • 1 hoody

Her “Other” Items

  • hair straightening iron
  • hair dryer
  • curling iron
  • hair products
  • hair accessories (brush, comb, elastics, bobby pins, headbands)
  • toiletries (deodorant, toothpaste, razors, etc.)
  • perfume & make up
  • 4 bottles of nail polish
  • costume  jewellery
  • journal
  • 2 watches
  • 3 pairs of sunglasses
  • 3 purses
  • 6 months worth of prescription drugs

His Clothing

  • 19 t-shirts
  • 5 tanks tops
  • 6 button up shirts
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of cotton pants
  • 4 long sleeve t-shirts
  • 1 hoody
  • jogging pants
  • light rain jacket
  • 2 workout shirts
  • 2 pairs of workout shorts
  • 6 pairs of swim trunks
  • 5 pairs of walk around shorts
  • 2 belts
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 12 pairs of underwear
  • hiking boots
  • 1 pair of runners
  • 3 pairs of Vibram FiveFinger shoes
  • 2 pairs of sunglasses
  • 2 ball caps

Household Items

  • 1 duvet
  • 3 pillows
  • 4 medium size bath towels
  • 2 hand towels
  • 4 face cloths
  • 2 mosquito nets
  • 1 set of queen size bed sheets
  • clothes iron
  • stovetop espresso maker
  • pump and hardware for misting system
  • framed photo of our dog Levi

Electronics

  • Pentax Digital SLR with extra zoom lens
  • Pentax Underwater Point & Shoot Camera 
  • MAC laptop
  • iPAD
  • Sony MP3 Player
  • cordless telephones
  • 2 – 3g Kindles
  • electric toothbrushes
  • hair clippers

Miscellaneous

  • 4 beer huggies
  • 1 set of dominoes
  • 2 sets of snorkel equipment (mask, snorkel and fins)
  • flashlight
  • 2 small backpacks
  • swiss army knife
  • screwdriver set
  • TRX training straps
  • 4 bottles of sunscreen
  • Over the counter medications (Advil, Immodium, Gravol, allergy pills etc.)
  • 8 pack of AA batteries
  • travel pillow
  • bug spray
  • ear plugs (lots)
  • 2 queen size mosquito nets
  • 3 re-usable nylon shopping bags

Books

I know …  the list seems long, but aside from a few pieces of winter clothing and footwear we left behind in Canada this list includes pretty much all of what we own right now.  

For those of you planning a similar move hopefully this post will help you with your decisions on what to bring and for those of you that are curious about what we brought … now you know. 

Stay tuned for a future post – “What We Should Have Packed in our Suitcases & What We Should Have Left Behind”.  We’ve already started a list and it’s growing every day!

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