In the previous post Packing Up Your Life I talked about packing up on a large scale. Hopefully this post will help you when you’re packing and coming across individual items you wonder whether you should or can bring or not. With electronics, will it work or will it blow up? Can you get your favourite products, treats etc. in Canada/England?
Electronics (including computers & laptops)
Start with checking the back of the power supply if it says input 100 to 240V it can handle both countries (Canada is on 110V and the UK is on 220V) and all you will need is an adaptor (not a converter) so that the plug will fit into the wall socket. The good news is most camera battery chargers and laptops these days can handle this.
If you have something electronic you want to bring to England (I brought my wireless earphones) then you can get this handy little converter from Maplin once you arrive in England for those things up to 100watts (it seems to go on sale regularly for about £15). There are more heavy duty ones as well should you need it.
In Canada you can buy similar items from The Source, or ebay is also a good place to check (search for voltage converter).
Personal Grooming (looking good)
Some hair dryers have a switch for travelling that allow you to switch between 110 and 220 volts. For most other things the above applies. Those appliances with the 110/220volt switch don’t always work the same, my hair-dryer went from 3 speeds in Canada to one speed (high) in England, but it did the trick for the interim until I could buy a new one.
For me, as a Canadian I always stock up on deodorant when home, deodorant in England just doesn’t seem to work as well. (As a side note I found this blog post by an American Expat about the use of spray deodorant amusing: Pffffffttttttt.) They don’t have Cover Girl make-up in England, so I make sure to have my favourite blush stocked up, though if I made the effort I probably could find one I liked as much in England, there’s no shortage of beauty products here.
For those moving to Canada it depends where you are moving, but most likely you will have to set aside some funds to buy a decent winter coat once you get to Canada and winter arrives, with the exception of the coastal areas of Southern British Columbia where they have similar weather to most of England.
For those moving to England it is all about layering, some days you can experience 2 or 3 seasons in a day, going from damp and cold, to the sun coming out and it turning warm and sunny. As well houses can be drafty, single panel glass windows are not uncommon.
Dairy can’t be brought into Canada from another country, I sadly found this out when my clotted cream was taken from me by customs on the way into Canada when I was returning from a visit to England (such a waste).
There are some shops (online and storefront) that specialized in selling things to expats, those things that you miss and can’t get at your usual shops. So if you find yourself in a bind with a mad craving for say Fruit Loops (Canadian)or Monster Munch (English) and don’t mind paying for it there are options out there. Then there is the obvious, friends and family, be sure to ask your visitors to bring a few things with them.
For the Canadians in England, make sure to check out the Caribbean section in the large Tesco’s where you will find Kraft Dinner and Kool Aid at “normal” prices. As well keep your eyes open for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (my personal favourite) and Pieces, they can be found in local shops (aka corner stores). If you come across Budgens they sometimes have the odd random American selection of things not found elsewhere.
For the most part if you make an effort to find it, or have a local see or try out the item from home, there will most likely be an alternative or equivalent for you. Before you know it you will have new favourites and can’t live without items in your new country.
That leaves, pets and phones (and for the Canadian’s Tim Horton’s), well those are whole other blog posts, and they are soon to be written so stay tuned!
Here are some links to lists of banned and restricted goods:
Information on importing your personal possession when moving to Canada, or England here are the links for that: