You are currently viewing From Suitcases to Sofia: What to Pack When Moving to Bulgaria

From Suitcases to Sofia: What to Pack When Moving to Bulgaria

So you are planning on moving to Bulgaria, and your suitcase has been aggressively staring you in the face for weeks. “Why haven’t you packed me yet?” it whines.

Or… that’s how it feels in your head at least. Conversations with inanimate objects aside, packing when moving to Bulgaria can be super stressful. You can go from throwing everything but the kitchen sink in your bag, to deciding to go with hand-luggage only. No matter how small of a suitcase decide to bring, there are a few basic things that you should pack out of absolute necessity.

convertkit QMU1z6ReS5A unsplash

Essential Documents

This is probably the most boring, yet vital element of packing. Moving to Bulgaria, especially during the digital age, has never been easier. With only a handful of physical documents you can start a new life. Depending on your situation, your list might be a little longer, but the essential documents that everyone will need when moving to Bulgaria are:

  • A valid passport and student visa (if applicable)
  • Your boarding pass (In general you will need to print your boarding pass if you are entering from outside the European Union)
  • Acceptance letter from your university or Erasmus program documentation
  • Health insurance documents (health insurance is mandatory in Bulgaria)
  • National ID Card (If you have a European ID card, this can be used like a passport in many situations)
  • The address of your house or accommodation in Bulgaria (in case your phone dies)
  • Your driver’s license
  • Any other important identification or paperwork

My Top tip: Take photos on your phone or make photocopies of every single important document, including your passport. Keep these copies together in a folder – separate from the original documents. Having back-ups can be a lifesaver in emergency situations.

sarah brown oa7pqZmmhuA unsplash

Packing for four Seasons

One of the most amazing things about moving to Bulgaria is the richness of the seasons. Blankets of pillowy white snow coat the cities in the winter, while the long days of summer sunshine are perfect for topping up your tan. Coming from Ireland, a country who’s four seasons are rain, rain, and more rain, it was quite a shock.

With Winters in Bulgaria regularly dropping below 0°C/32°F, you’ll need to pack warm clothing, including a heavy coat, gloves, a scarf, and boots.

Summers in Bulgaria are usually 30°C/86°F or hotter. You’ll need to pack lighter clothing like t-shirts, shorts, and sandals.

Shoulder Seasons, like spring and autumn can vary, with both hot and cold days, sunshine and snow, and everything in between.

It is entirely possible for you to pack very little clothing, and shop for what you need when you arrive. Very often, it will be significantly cheaper to buy clothes in Bulgaria, especially in comparison to the high cost of adding extra luggage.

markus winkler m5JqBg1AMg unsplash

Electronic Devices

Unless you live under a rock, you probably have a plethora of electronic devices that you can’t live without. When packing for your move to Bulgaria, don’t forget to include:

  • Laptop or tablet for studying
  • Smartphone and charger
  • Headphones for studying and entertainment
  • A Universal power adapter to ensure your electronics can be used with Bulgarian outlets.
  • A valid sim card (especially important if you are moving from outside of Europe)

In Bulgaria, there are two main plug types – Type C and Type F, both of which have two prongs. The type C plug, aptly nicknamed “the Euro-plug” is used in most of Europe, with only a handful of exceptions. Bulgaria operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz, useful information if you don’t want to overheat your devices.

If you are arriving from outside of Europe, double check that your sim card will work in Bulgaria before you arrive. You can easily purchase a Bulgarian sim card on arrival, but you will need to show valid ID.

Should You Pack Food?

Bulgarian food is amazing, so you are already off to a great start. The Bulgarian culinary scene has been influenced by other Balkan countries, Slavic countries, and even Turkey and the Middle East. Plus with the growing population of immigrants, finding staples from your home country has never been easier.

However – bringing a little taste of home can really bring comfort during moments of homesickness. Its difficult to know in advance what foods from your home country won’t be available abroad until you’ve already left. While I don’t recommend packing a tonne of food, there are a few non-perishable items that will easily fit into your suitcase, such as:

  • Your favourite crisps
  • Chocolate or sweets that are in airtight packaging
  • Instant sauces in granule form, like gravy or curry
  • Foods by local brands that are unique to your home country

In Bulgaria, especially the more cosmopolitan cities like Sofia, there are ethnic grocery stores, specialty shops and world food markets where you can find food from every corner of the globe. If all else fails, you can always ask a family member to send you a care package, or order your favourite snacks from Amazon.

jeshoots com mSESwdMZr A unsplash

Final Advice when packing for Bulgaria

Pack Light

While it’s tempting to bring everything you think you might need, remember that you have limited space and it is actually pretty easy to  purchase the majority of essentials once you arrive in Bulgaria. Plus, every additional suitcase will cost you at least €50.

Stay Flexible

You know that you absolutely love your mom’s cooking and you’d be lost without it, but do you really need to pack five jars of her signature spice blend? Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and be open to trying new things. You might just surprise yourself.

By following this packing guide, you should feel ready to take on the world… or at least ready to finally start packing your suitcase. Moving abroad is a really exciting journey, and packing for Bulgaria just means that you are one step closer to an amazing new life. Best of luck!