The Essentials Trünk: What is it & why do you need one?

This is a sponsored guest post in collaboration with Trünk Moves

I’ve lived in ten different countries. You’d think I’d have expat moves all figured out, yet until recently I’d never even heard of the Essentials Trünk. Whether you’re moving overseas or to another state, you might like to consider packing a special type of moving abroad essentials box called a Trünk.

The Trünk is a mini container where you can pack your most prized possessions and get them shipped fast and securely wherever you’re moving to in the world.

The Essentials Trunk Moving Box

Why I could have used a Trünk

I wish I’d had a Trünk all the times when I was so desperately homesick and would have loved some English tea, framed photos and some light hearted novels.

I wish I’d had one for all the practical stuff I’ve missed, like a kettle, a snuggly blanket and most importantly a corkscrew!

And for the many occasions I’d forget things for the main shipping container, then end up having to stuff all the surplus in my bulging suitcase. Or when I’d be moving without a shipping container and overestimated my flight baggage allowance.

Sure, I could just plan better, prioritise and pack all this stuff in my luggage. However if you’ve moved overseas, you’ll no doubt get the last-minute chaotic couldn’t-have-planned-for-it stress. Sure, I can buy equivalents somewhere in my new country. However you can’t buy sentimental items. And shopping around in a new country takes time, patience and energy – of which I have very little when I first land.

Like the time I moved to Chile and arrived to a wonderful apartment with twelve forks, but no knives or spoons. Or the time I moved to Angola where I had no internet and would have given my left arm for a good book. Or, most recently when I came back to the UK with little more than the shirt on my back and forgot my kid’s favourite teddy.

So, if you’ve been in my shoes and you’re curious to hear how this Trünk might help, read on…

moving day box for expats

The Essentials Trünk

a guest post by Trünk Moves

In this guest post, the team at Trünk Moves explain more about what this unique essential box is, what you need to put in it and why you might benefit from one for your next move.

What is an Essential Trünk? Why do I need one?

The Essentials Trünk is an essentials box that we ship fast and securely for your move abroad. Also known as a first night box or a survival box, the Essentials Trünk for moving abroad is especially important.

It is literally a box (or several boxes) with the most important things you need in your life. It should contain everything you need to get by in the last few days in your empty old home, and the first few days of your new home, wherever in the world you are moving to.

In it go the things you need or want on a daily basis, which would cause a real headache if they were packed away in the shipping container, or that are tricky to find in your new neighbourhood.

If you’re moving internationally, the Essentials Trünk is an especially good idea in case removal firms or flights get delayed. If things go wrong you will at least have your essentials on you to help you get by.

The Trünk is designed with expats in mind to help you:

  • Protect your essentials
    When you’re shipping something that’s not only valuable but essential to you, you risk it getting damaged, delayed or lost during shipping. With Trünk, your belongings are protected. And you only need one tracking number per Trünk, instead of managing several smaller packages. Each Trünk is tracked and insured up to $1000 USD (with the option to upgrade this insurance if required).
  • Feel at home right away
    Each Trünk has enough space to ship what you’d pack in 2.5 large suitcases. Considering that most airlines allow you to check up to 2 pieces of luggage of 50 lbs each (23kg), you’d only be able take with you whatever fits in those 2 bags. Everything else will either cost more (oversize/overweight bags) or take longer to get to your new home. However, if you ship with Trünk, you can have the equivalent of 4.5 bags (2 checked bags + Trünk) of your belongings with you by the time you’re in your new home. This means you can pack not only your emergency items, but also emotional items that will make you and your family feel at home.
  • Get settled quicker
    It doesn’t matter if you don’t have much furniture, because the Trünk itself can be used as storage, a toys chest, a coffee table, a bench…
  • Manage your budget
    There is no price guessing or the need for an in-home estimate. You get a flat price for each Trünk you ship; there are no hidden fees.

moving day essentials

What do you need for moving day? What should I put in my Essentials Trünk?

Moving home, and moving to a new country can be an exciting, but stressful experience for everyone in the family – especially kids.

With this in mind, the Essentials Trünk is a vital space for packing home comforts like favourite teddies, familiar bed linen, family photos or other sentimental items. It’s these little things that make us feel at home when we most need it.

You can also pack everyday essentials such as kitchenware, electronic devices and so on – anything you may need for the first few nights until you feel a bit more settled.

The Essentials Trünk should be the last you pack and the first you open.

You might like to pack just one Trünk, or depending on the size of your family and whether you’re moving to a new country, you might prefer to pack one Trünk per person.

At the end of the day, ‘essential’ means different things to different people.

moving day box for expats

What is a Trünk?

The Trünk is your essentials box that we ship for you. With Trünk Moves you can get all your essentials delivered to your home fast and securely, wherever you are in the world.

Sometimes, the shops in your new country don’t sell the things you want / need. Sometimes removal companies get delayed and you’ll need some essentials to tie you over. The Trünk provides a little extra peace of mind.

Unlike some postal systems whose rates can get rather complicated, there’s a single flat rate per country of destination for each Trünk you ship. For a domestic move within the USA, it’s $389 USD. Some clients pay for Trünks privately, others request Trünks as part of their company relocation package.

Trünks are a standard size. They hold up to 110 pounds (50 kg), the equivalent of 2.5 large suitcases. They measure 39 inches long, 23 inches wide and 18 inches tall (99 x 58 x 45 cm). Wherever you move, no matter how often you move, you can rely on your Trünks.

Each Trünk is tracked and insured up to $1000 USD, which can you can chose to upgrade, too. So it’s safer than many conventional postal methods.

Finally, moving to a new country can feel rather chaotic and the Trünk is an extra space for anything you might have forgotten to pack.

Moving day box when moving abroad

How does Trünk Moves work?

Your Trünk arrives flat and it takes minutes to assemble without any tools. As you add items, you keep track of your packed items by filling a packing list, then when you’re ready print off your shipping label.

Our shipping carrier then picks up your packed Trünks on your selected date. Next you can check for updates through a tracking code.

When it arrives, you can dissemble your Trünks and store them until the next move, or keep them as a handy kids’ toy chest, or storage box.

How to pack an essentials box when moving abroad - the essentials Trunk

Tips for packing your Essentials Trünk 

  1. Order your Trünk in good time and keep it at the ready as soon as you start thinking about packing. This way you can add items you know you’ll need as you go along, rather than running around at the last minute.
  2. Don’t underestimate the importance of entertainment. You may not have internet (or electricity) when you arrive at your new home.  Pack toys, (non messy) crafts and games for children who won’t have friends yet to play with and might get bored when you’re busy unpacking. Lego, Stickle Bricks, origami, pencil colouring sets, friendship bracelets, scratch art and reusable water reveal colouring pads are some ideas.
  3. Pack plenty of spare clothes. Moving dusty boxes and cleaning a new home can take its toll.
  4. Place your Trünk in a separate area to your other packing boxes and label it clearly. Remember to tell your removal workers that your Trünk is not for shipping.
  5. Schedule your Trünk pickup for when you leave your empty house. Don’t seal it until the last moment. This way you won’t have to break in to add or remove an item at the last minute.
  6. Unlike a regular moving day box, an Essentials Trünk is there for your international moves. With this in mind, it’s not recommended, and in some cases not allowed, to ship the following items:  any liquids (including drinks, soap, household cleaner, repellent, alcohol, toiletries), also food, snacks and dog food). See below for the full list of prohibited items.

tips for packing your essentials box

Essentials Trünk checklist

What to put in your Trünk

Our clients tend to pack a mix of important sentimental, emergency and daily essentials.

Always refer to your country destination import regulations – every country is different and you may be prohibited from taking certain items.

Here’s a complete list as a guide: (click here for the free printable version)

Everyday essentials

  • Hand soap (bar block, not liquid version)
  • A dishtowel and a dishcloth
  • Dustpan & brush
  • Kitchen roll
  • Bin bags
  • Coffee (sealed, in original packing)
  • Tea bags (sealed, in original packing)
  • Cup or glass, plate and cutlery per person – don’t forget the removal workers
  • Cooking equipment. While you might not need anything too fancy, a pan, frying pan and wooden spoon might be of use.
  • Kitchenware – toaster, can opener and bottle opener
  • Kettle (and a simple coffee maker/ coffee filters too, if you’re not a fan of instant coffee).
  • Non perishable condiments e.g. ground spices (some countries prohibit the transport of seeds)
  • Chargers and travel adapters for phones, laptops or other devices
  • Scissors or a penknife for opening boxes
  • Pen and paper
  • Pyjamas
  • Towel and hand towel
  • Bed linen – sheets, pillow cases (if necessary also pillows and blankets)
  • A change of clothes per person including bulky winter clothing or summer wear, depending on where you’re travelling to
  • Glasses / contact lenses (avoid packing liquid contact lens solution)
  • Hairdryer
  • Alarm clock
  • Blackout travel blind

Emergency / just in case

  • An emergency first aid kit (use sealed pouches and wipes as alternatives to liquid presentations (alcohol, antiseptic, etc.).
  • Over the counter medication – including pain relief e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen, allergy medication and vitamins. Prescription medication should be packed in your carry-on, not in your Trünk.
  • A wind up flashlight (torch)
  • A basic tool kit – screwdrivers, hammer, screws, nails, duct tape.
  • Extension cords
  • Hot water bottle (in case the heating fails; also useful for stomach cramps)
  • If relevant – mosquito nets.
  • A list of important telephone numbers / emergency contacts


  • Sentimental items
  • Photos / photo album
  • Favourite soft toys for children
  • Throw / Blanket
  • Books
  • Musical instruments
  • Sports equipment
  • Anything else that makes you feel at home.

What not to pack in your Trünk: 

While there may be additional prohibited items specified by the country you’re moving to, here’s a list of the main items not to pack in your essentials Trünk.

  • Alcohol
  • Aerosols, perfumes, aftershaves, eau de toilettes, nail polish
  • Batteries: loose, damaged or defective batteries
  • Cash
  • Cigarettes, cigars and tobacco products
  • Electronic cigarettes and pipes, e-hookahs, e-cigars and vape pens
  • Flammable and corrosive substances: matches, firearms, ammunition and explosives
  • Food and perishables
  • Any hazardous materials – these include cleaners such as bleach, bleach powders, ammonia liquids etc.
  • Liquids
  • Medication – including over the counter and prescription medications. Some drugs, for example codeine and psuedophedrine, a common ingredient in Sudafed and Vicks, are illegal in many countries. Medicinal cannabis and of course, illegal narcotics, are prohibited, too.
  • Nuts and seeds (for example whole seeds are banned in many countries and poppy seeds in any format are illegal in many others)
  • Power banks
  • Some electronic devices are flight-banned, including Samsung Galaxy Note7 and Samsung Note7 devices.

Keep with you:

We’d also recommend you keep the following with you on your person (e.g. hand luggage):

  • Passports
  • Visa documentation
  • Other important documentation and paperwork for the move day
  • Personal medication supplies with relevant documentation

Essentials Trünk printable checklist

For the printable version of the Essentials Trünk checklist, click here.

You won’t need everything on this list; it’s a comprehensive guide. Your list will depend on where you’re moving to, the size of your family, your personal lifestyle and so much more.

moving day essentials box printable checklist

For more information on shipping Trünks either privately or as part of your company relocation package, visit 

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Trünk Moves. It is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Always check your country destination import regulations.


  1. Elisabet Anton Velaz
    November 3, 2021 / 5:07 pm

    Hi! This is Elisabet from @andnowwelivein

    We always carry or keep a trolley with important documents, jewels or meds, but having the Trünk Moves option would mean having many more comforting stuff right away. Very good option. I would keep it in mind for our next move.

    • Nina
      November 3, 2021 / 5:09 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Elisabet! Yes I keep my kid’s meds in my hand luggage when I fly too. The Trünk is a genius idea right?

  2. Jenny Cole
    January 16, 2022 / 6:35 pm

    Hi Nina! This year I will be moving to Chile from the US with my husband (Chilean) and two young kids. This trunk would be great but I don’t see that they ship to Chile, or anywhere in South America for that matter. Do you know of any other solutions for shipping something of this size more or less? We don’t need to ship a whole 20ft container but it would be ideal to be able to bring a bit more than just what we can take on an airplane. Any tips or thoughts would be so appreciated! I also really appreciate all your posts and resources about living in Chile, so thank you for doing what you do 🙂

    • Nina
      January 18, 2022 / 10:49 am

      Hi Jenny,
      Thanks so much for your lovely words. OK, re getting stuff to Chile – yes it can be tricky in my experience. Firstly, have you checked with Trunk Moves directly? They are able to ship to much of South America, and while Chile may not be listed on the website, it’s best to check directly.

      It might also be worth asking around friends / Facebook groups if anyone is shipping a container and has some spare space. Of course please be v careful if you don’t know the person well and can’t vouch for them.

      Finally, I’m not sure if they can help but have you tried Chilean relocation companies like Unipack? We used Unipack to move stuff from Chile and in our case at least they were v professional (we’re still moving around and have our stuff in storage so I can’t give Unipack a proper seal of approval until we take our stuff out of storage, though). Another options is Ward van Lines. Personally, I would not recommend Decapack.

      There are of course companies like DHL forwarding which may be worth investigating, too, although I’m pretty certain they’d be horribly expensive.

      I’m asking around friends in case they have more ideas, but wanted to send these ideas to you in the meantime.

      Good luck!

      Nina x

      • Jenny Cole
        January 22, 2022 / 9:16 pm

        SO helpful, thank you!!!

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