Where you are in your life will certainly play a large role in deciding what to bring with you. Students, for example, may be able to shove all their personal belongings into their airline baggage allowance and travel unencumbered. Families, however, require much more, shall we say, stuff. Families collect little mementos from their lives together, which, for obvious reasons, are difficult to part with.
Unless you are particularly attached to any of your furniture, this can be the first to go. Furniture weighs the most and can easily be replaced at one of Ireland’s many furniture stores—from cookie-cutter IKEA to cheap-and cheerful Argos to stunning custom-made furniture at Kelco Designs.
Electronics and appliances can also be eliminated with one fell swoop. Electricity in Ireland is not compatible with U.S. voltage. Ireland runs a 220V electrical system, and the United States runs a 120V electrical system with a flat three-pin plug, so you can’t just plug your appliances into an electrical outlet. You have to buy a converter or transformer, as well as an adaptor for the plug. There are, however, many U.S. travel shops, department stores, and Web vendors such as Amazon that sell kits with converters and adaptors. It really comes down to personal preference and practicality. Would it cost more to ship your home theater system and sort out the converter and adaptor, or just buy a new one in Ireland?
Laptops are often like an extra appendage and are indisputably one of the most important things you’ll want to bring. Also, laptops are a lot more expensive in Ireland than they are in the United States, so it’s a good idea to bring your own rather than buying a new one there. You’ll be happy to know that most laptops these days have a dual voltage charger, so all you need is the three-prong adaptor plug in order to charge your laptop. Ditto most digital cameras, although if you have an older one you should check your owner’s manual first. Many hotels, B&Bs, pubs, and cafés offer wireless Internet access for free or a small charge.
You should also note that it is important to change your address with the USPS when moving to Ireland. You cannot do this via the standard website but should fill out the change of address card and hand it in to your local post office. The USPS forwards first-class mail internationally at no extra charge, but they will not forward anything that requires a customs form.
Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Living Abroad in Ireland.