In our question post of: Whats Your Question About Cuenca, Ecuador? we were asked by David Marshall:
“If you were to make the transition now, having learned from your experiences, what would you do differently. We all learn from our best mistakes. What were yours. Would you bring different things in your suitcases? Would you hire a company? Would you modify the process at all. For example – would you move directly into where you are now; would you bring the same number of suitcases; did you regret not bringing something; would you leave something behind.”
Well, we brought lots of clothes, because we didn’t know availability of big person clothes (I’m 6’3″). And there isn’t much available.
So if you are an unusual size – either very tall or round – you’ll probably want to bring lots of your favorite clothes – because there aren’t many of these types of people here.
We brought lots of electronics. And we were happy that we did. A $500 laptop can cost over $1000 here. The same for cameras and other computer gear. We bought a laser printer (HP LaserJet P1006) when we arrived and it was just over $100 – a good deal anywhere.
We brought over 75 lbs of books. We knew that there weren’t many Chapters/Indigo Books bookstores in Cuenca, so we loaded up. We would have brought less and then ordered what we needed – had we known how easy it is to ship them here. We’ve ordered books direct from Amazon via UPS and they arrived in just 2 days. You can also order via Club Correos which works flawlessly.
We moved with just 6 bags of luggage – 2 bags each at 50 lbs each. Each bag was carefully weighed on a bathroom scale at my parents place the day before (and morning of) our flight. As you can see in the photo, the 32 hrs of travel converted me into a deer-in-the-headlights starer.
In addition to the checked bags, we also had a large and small carry-on. I don’t think we could have brought another pencil without putting us over the weight limit.
Instead of shipping our own things to ourselves, we’ve leaned on friends and family who have come to visit to bring some extra things along, and it has worked out quite well.
When packing, the thing to remember is almost everything is available here – especially if you don’t mind paying for it.
Things We Should Have Brought:
- A warm jacket. The evenings in Cuenca can get cool and we weren’t fully prepared for that.
- A little less. Because we didn’t really know, we fully loaded ourselves up. But it wasn’t really necessary. Just set aside a little extra money and go shopping when you arrive. That way you won’t worry about American Airlines tacking on a USD$100 fee per overweight bag, and it’s easier to get around the airport too. And what do you need those worn out t-shirts and hole(y) socks for anyway? The beauty of moving abroad is that its a fresh start. So – turf those old clothes and buy some new ones here.
Things We Should Have Left Home:
- Water Purification System. Our UV light water purifier from MEC and the matching chlorine kill-everything-chemical-mix. Turns out that Ecuador has a great water system and we aren’t drinking out of a puddle after all!
- GSE in Bulk. We brought 4 bottles of GSE liquid at $16.99 ea (x 4 bottles). Imagine how happy we were to find the same thing for just $1.75 at the local grocery store. Guess we could have left it home, and saved ourselves some money too.
Don’t forget to weigh your luggage before heading to the airport. You’ll hit your max weight faster than you might think. Here’s our guide to choosing the best luggage scale for travel.