Expat advice: Ship now or shop later?

Could you imagine spending $55 for a set of sheets that you can see through and feel like they are made of fine grade sandpaper?  That was almost us!

Being a crazy planner, one of the first things I did when I found out we had just a few months to prep for our move was to research things that we wouldn’t be able to get in Colombia or that would be heartbreakingly expensive. I would recommend that anyone facing a long-term move do the same and soon. Because as your move date approaches, the last thing you’ll want (or have time for!) will be comparing prices, visiting multiple stores or making good decisions. In fact, as the days ticked down I found myself saying more and more, “oh, I’ll just buy it when we get there.”

Just so you know, I really took for granted the selection and prices of things in the U.S.  Not only does the U.S. have a lot of stuff but we have an abundance of cheap things!  By trolling expat forums and talking with our relocation company, I found out that linens and electronics are 2 or 3 times the price in Colombia. So, Cody and I (who, if we are being honest, are normally pretty cheap) said a tearful goodbye to our old Dell and raggedy bathmats and brought some new, quality items with us.

Once we arrived and I was able to see what was available, I was so happy that we brought these items with us. My comment above about the sheets is no joke! I could have purchased something similar at Ikea for $9.99. And just in case you are moving to Bogotá, dear reader, know that most housewares, furniture and decor items (save dishes) are quite expensive for the quality.

Keep checking back as I’ll be posting a bit more in the future about our experience packing and using a professional moving company, as well as the long wait for our things.

charlie bed
Charlie loves our new comforter too…

6 thoughts on “Expat advice: Ship now or shop later?

  1. And you are so bourgeois! Kidding. This kind of reminds me of Alaska, although not at all to the same degree…things were just pricey from shipping…you guys definitely have it rougher. Maybe you could learn to make textiles with local woolens and fibers. Good tips, though, for living in a foreign place.

    1. Ha! To be fair, there are some things here that are drastically cheaper (which I’ll post about later!). Until then, I’ll look into purchasing a loom ;-)

  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I am Colombian but currently living in Japan. I went to college in the US and we are thinking to relocate to Colombia. I left colombia 15 years ago and I am outdated. Could you please share any advice as of how to find a job before getting into the country? Thank you for your answer

    1. Hello Alejo—thank you for reading and commenting. Besides the obvious answer of using job search websites like Monster or LinkedIn, I’d recommend that you take a look at some of the larger online forums for expats, such as expat-blog.com or internations.com as both have forums where people post job opportunities. I’m not sure what kind of work you’re looking for, but looking at online postings through the bigger newspapers is also an option. Lastly, leverage your Colombian family members! I’m sure you know how powerful word of mouth can be :-) Good luck with your job search, and I hope you get to return to Colombia soon!

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