What to bring:
What to Bring
The first days
Whatever is part of a routine or familiar activity, or is used every day that makes sense
to bring – do. It’s nice at the beginning to have some things you are familiar with, such
as a comfort toy, books, music and games, pillows and linens, coffee mug, soaps,
toiletries. Bring a pocket size translation dictionary, just in case you need it in transit. Documents
: marriage license, children's birth certificates, medical and dental records
(your Dr may charge a fee), letter from previous insurance companies, wills Photos
: you will need 10 to 12 passport size photos for each family member Prescription medicine and prescriptions
– bring a 3 month supply. Be sure to leave
medicines in their package along with the prescription – makes it easier if inspected while
going through customs. Crucial X-rays
– Pack some easy to make things in your suitcases so you have something familiar
to eat the first few days while you sort things out, like breakfast cereals and kids snacks.
Bring dinner service for family and a few cooking utensils, skillet, pan and a good knife.
When you move in walls are painted white. So art, pictures and posters, a rocking or
comfy chair, rugs, end and/or coffee tables can make it look and feel more like home.
PCs, cell phones and chargers are ok to bring – they have built in power adapters.
International electricity converters can be purchased at home or here. They cost
about 40 swiss francs, and can be used wherever you travel in the world. You will need one per appliance (eg, hair dryer, shaver) so it may be less expensive to buy some smaller appliances locally, or buy travel ones that can use both systems.
Beds/Bedding – The bed system here is IKEA style: a foam mattress on wooden slats.
If you find them really uncomfortable and bring a box spring mattress, bring the frame too.
Linens – king size sheets are not available here. Bring a few sets to have something
familiar, especially the kids’ pillow cases.
Europeans use comforter (duvet) covers instead of top (flat) sheets. However, they
What to Ship
Favorite cookware and bake ware
(US) Cupcake pan and paper baking cups – you can buy these here, but they are for
muffins, so shorter, and only in white.
Measuring cups and spoons, and a scale. Unless you’re used to the metric system, doing
conversions can be exhausting. If you don’t have a scale buy one when you get there –
they have multi-system ones, you can change from kilograms to ounces.
Towels, sheets, pillows
Favorite fabric softener sheets – Bring these especially if you or your family are
sensitive to perfumed products, because the fabric softener perfumes are very
strong. Fabric softener for babies is gentler.
Vanish stain removers – stick and liquid – are available at Jim’s Market.
Clothes & Gear
adult day pack
kid's backpacks, lunch boxes & juice holder
If you like sports, bring what you need. It will be expensive to buy new things here. Kids clothing swaps exist – check our Children’s page.
Medicines & Medical supplies
Medicines are only sold at the Pharmacie (France) / Apotheke (German), not at gas
stations or convenience stores, so it’s wise to take some with you when you travel around because stores close early, are closed Sunday, and you have to check the local newspaper, at a pharmacy or hospital to find 24 hour pharmacies. And it can be scary giving your kids meds when you cannot read the packaging. Children’s over-the-counter medicine is not available – you have to go to the Dr. Medicines will be very different, and flavors will change.
Pharmacies here carry "DAFALGAN" – dissolvable tablets which work great for fever, aches and flu symptoms. They do not carry the enormous supply of over-the-counter medicines here, and vitamins are expensive, so below is a list of some items you may wish to bring:
Children’s/infant’s vitamins and medicine, such as flavored cough drops, cold
Adult Ibuprofen, Benadryl, antibiotic creams, hydrocortisone cream, etc.
If you have certain face/skin/makeup products that you cannot live without, it would
be wise to stock up. You can find AVEDA hair products at the Aveda salon in
Geneva. Liquid antibacterial soap can be found at grocery stores (but not Cetaphil).
New books are more expensive here so we order used books via Amazon.uk, France
or Germany. If you want new books you can order them at local bookstores – our Shopping page lists new and used bookstores, and the Library in English has a large
Travel guides are much better in your mother-tongue. Michelin "green guides" make
traveling a richer experience for France, Switzerland and wherever else you plan to visit.
Translation dictionaries - you can buy them here and order them online, but it would
be easier to bring a pocket size one to carry with you and a big one to use at home.
Magazines in several languages can be found at the kiosks and bookstores
You can watch them on a laptop but not on TV until you get a multi-zone player.
Multi-zone players for non-Blu-ray DVDs are available in Switzerland, but not in France.
Europe is in Zone 2 – so Zone 1 (US) Blu-ray DVDs will not play here
Paper products are extremely expensive, so bring
Birthday and other cards in English are rare, but people might enjoy getting a
Craft materials (especially for kid crafts)
Kids’ birthday party, wedding, baby shower and your holiday decorations (eg - Easter,
Thanksgiving) will not be widely available.
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