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Things you should bring to Canada from India

When you get your PR or study permit and start planning to come to Canada, that is when you realize want a herculean task it is to pack your life in just a few bags. The packing list for a student is slightly different from a PR. As a student, you only need to take care of yourself (unless you are coming with family) but as a PR, most likely you are coming to Canada with your family and have a load to pack. Here is the suggested list of things you should bring to Canada from India that will not only save you money but a lot of hassle for the initial months.

  • Start preparing early – The first thing is to start preparing early because last-minute packing is always tiring and most likely you will miss some important items. Make a checklist of important items you will need in the next year, as the chances are you won’t return for at least one year.
  • Get your luggage – If you are coming to Canada as a student most likely you will have luggage space for three (3) check-in bags (23 kgs each) and one (1) carry-on (7 kgs) plus a handbag/laptop bag (not exceeding the total weight of 7 kgs.). Most airlines offer extra baggage allowance to students. Other than a student, you are allowed two (2) check-in bags and the carry-on bags same as a student. Buy these bags as soon as you get your Visa. A four-wheeler stroller bag is the most convenient option for ease of walking. I got a really great deal on Amazon, all you have to do is to track the prices for a few days and buy when it is at the lowest price.
  • Luggage tags – Though a small thing but is important in case of Luggage mishandling/misplacement and identification
  • Digital copies – make digital copies of important documents. Upload it to the cloud, so you can access everything from anywhere. Prepare a Hard disk drive of all your important photos, and videos you want to carry along.
  • Universal adaptor – If you have a phone/laptop, bring your charger and a couple of universal adaptors as electrical sockets are different in Canada. You will likely bring a few more electrical devices from India, covered below.
  • Power bank – Bring a fully charged power bank just in case your phone battery dies sooner than anticipated
  • Utensils – If you are heading to a big city or nearby, most likely you will find common utensils for day-to-day life. However, you must consider bringing the most important utensils used in Indian cooking like flat pan (Tawa), casserole (you won’t find good quality here), pressure cooker (3,5 ltrs.), steel plates, wok/kadhai, tea pan etc. Remember to bring only flat bottom best quality utensils so you don’t have to buy things immediately. You will take time to search for places where you can get these items. Don’t overload because you will get most of the utensils in an Indian store.
  • Clothing – Depending on where you plan to live in Canada, you can decide what to bring. You will need a few jackets for sure, if possible, buy from Decathalon. Bring lightweight jackets, that work in cold temperatures. as initially you will have to travel by foot/public transit for a few days unless you are ready to spend a huge amount on a taxi. Don’t bring too many formal clothes as the work culture in most places is casual. Get a pack of undergarments, these wear out a lot due to washing conditions and are expensive to buy. You may not even find your brand for a while. Babywear is expensive, so get some, if you have kids. Sports shoes are readily available but if you plan to work in an office, get a pair of formal shoes, it is difficult to find the variety and are expensive.
  • Whole Spices – Most Indian stores carry products that you would need daily. In fact, more than what you need. You can bring some whole spices, as these are imported from India hence, expensive. A small quantity of one kg of whole spices (all mixed depending on your usage) will last you almost a year.
  • Electrical appliances – Consider a full-blown food processor with different attachments, it’s difficult to find one here or too expensive. The only option for an India-style food-processer (that has all attachments) we can is approx. CAD350, because it is imported from India. If you use a shaver, trimmer, hair straightener, epilator etc. bring them but ensure all appliances operate at 110V.
  • Mobile phone – Apple and Samsung are the two most widely available phones in Canada, apart from a few others not very common in India. If you are looking for brands like Xiaomi, Oppo etc. get them from India. They work well with most of the carriers in Canada but don’t expect the warranties to be covered. Most of the carriers have monthly subscription options which are really a good deal most of the time or wait for some offers on Black Friday or Boxing Day.
  • Medicines – If taken regularly, bring at least 3 months of medicine with the prescription and bill. This is for the duration you complete the formalities and get covered under the Canada Healthcare plan. For example, in BC, it takes approx. 3 months to get the Medical Service Plan (MSP) coverage. Many medicines may not even be available with the same salt combination or over-the-counter (OTC). You also need to be prepared with some most common medicines for headaches, cold & cough, etc. These medicines will generally have an expiry of at least one year and will save you money and the hassle of going to a doctor or a pharmacist. Remember, primary healthcare is free not medicines.
  • Driving Licence – If you have a driving licence, get the extract from RTO and carry the original. If not, and you have time, to learn driving, and get your licence, it will save you a lot of hassle. If you start learning from scratch here, you will need at least a couple of years to get an independent licence like G5 or Class 5 which allows you to drive a passenger vehicle independently.

In your carry-on bag:

  • Important documents for immigration – create a file/folder for all travellers, in case you are travelling with family
  • Some cash in Canadian Dollars – Up to $500 is good enough for initial days if you don’t have high-value expenses like rent, deposits, tickets etc.
  • Prescription medicines – In case you take regular medicines, carry them with you else put them in the check-in luggage. Make sure you double-seal any liquid (no more than 100 ml.), to avoid leakage.
  • Utilities – Phone, laptop, charger, power bank and other small gadgets
  • Toiletries – You won’t go shopping immediately after landing so it is a good idea to pack some essential items. If you use any specific brand, get it in good quantity, as the possibility is that you find it here. This happened to me as I use a specific medicated toothpaste that is not available in Canada, so I bought 10 of those and it lasted over a year. Rest everything in small quantity, till the time you don’t start shopping around. Consider – Toothbrush and toothpaste, Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and soap, Deodorant or perfumes, Shaver, shaving razor, shaving cream, comb, Sanitary napkins, Tissues and toilet papers, Makeup and some other basic grooming kit

Not to carry

  • Heavy Liquids in Bottles – Don’t carry big bottles of hand sanitizer, shampoo, or other liquids. A modest size that lasts for a month is good enough.
  • Expensive Items – Unless you plan to go to traditional parties, expensive items like jewellery should be avoided. These might get broken or misplaced during the journey.

Prepare well in advance for

  • Driving – If you don’t know driving learn. If you know, get your chip-based licence as soon as possible. You will need your chip-based licence and the Driving extract from RTO. All RTO offices have the process in place to give you the driving extract.
  • Medical check-up – Although primary care is free, it is better to get your regular body check-up done just to avoid any last-minute hiccup.
  • Dental procedures – In case you are waiting for ant dental procedure get it done at the earliest Dental procedures are very expensive and not covered in primary health coverage
  • Get your eyesight checked – Buy an extra pair of glasses with the latest prescription.

Feel free to comment and let me know if this article was helpful!

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