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Old 13.04.2011, 20:20
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What to ship from US to Zurich?

hello

I'm a Japanese who's moving to Zurich next year. I'm already preparing (I know, I know, it's my nature) and right now, what to buy now and ship is a big Q.

What are expensive there? If budget is limitted, what should be the priority?
My concerns are;
  • Wide Shoes
  • Petite clothing
  • Bargain US clothing (examples, Old Navy T-shirts for $5, "Ross for Less" find designer pant suit for $60. Worth buy up like crazy and bring them all?

I assume anything I can buy @ Ikea does not worth the cost. I understand specialty needs (like hot-sauce, some Japanese food which are hard to get) needs to be shipped.

What are your regret of "darn, I should've stretch my budget and bought and shipped!!" ???


Thank you so much!!

Shiso
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Old 13.04.2011, 23:05
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

While browsing the forum, you may already have found a few items you just MUST bring, such as

a) brown sugar, several varieties
b) your favourite oat bran / oat meal / rolled oats / steel cut oats
c) some cajun spice
d) wild rice (cost more than pure gold here)
e) brown sugar (actually its ordinary sugar plus molasses, but who cares?)
f) Spam, even if you wholeheartedly hate it
g) certain kinds of oats
h) maple syrup, if you lived in one of the eastern up-north states (available here, but maybe not exactly your kind)
i) brown sugar, preferably several varieties
j) Did I mention brown sugar?

Do NOT bring white tennis shoes. Wearing them in Switzerland will show that you come from the USA, which means you will be shot on the spot. That's what my American Other Half was told by several cousins before her first trip to Switzerland a few years ago. Seriously, those guys knew it for sure. They had read warnings on the Internets, so it must be true. Meanwhile, my AOH has been wearing her white tennis shoes quite a lot without serious harm, so maybe the Internets were a little bit wrong.

Now seriously... Petite clothing is no problem to find. It may be more expensive here, though, just like so many other things. What can be a serious problem is finding clothing at sizes beyond the American average, which is way beyond Swiss average, including the prices. But that doesn't seem to be your concern.

Bring brand-name jeans. The prices here are exorbitant. Every time I'm in the USA I buy a few Levi Strauss and Lees. That almost compensates for the flight fare. A few fancy T-shirts may be a good idea too, but you can buy sweaters and Ts with just about any US college logo here. With a bit of luck, you can even find those that read something like, "I never was at the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA."

Don't bring any fake Swiss watches you bought in Thailand or elsewhere. They will be confiscated and shredded. Seriously. It's like bringing Cuban cigars into the USA.

Oh, lest I forget, if possible, bring a tanker full of gasoline of your choice.

Ok, forget the gasoline thing. The customs will bill you to death.

By the way, welcome to the forum. Someone will remind you that it would be nice to give us a little intro in the Intro section. But that's not my job.
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Old 13.04.2011, 23:21
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Hello,

I have a Japanese work colleague who came all the way from Basel to Zurich to go to this Japanese shop that sells food from, you guessed it - Japan! - apparently very expensive compared to Tokyo. There are Asia stores scattered around but not sure if they have good Japanese produce.

I agree about buying up on clothes before coming to Switzerland. Much more expensive here!
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Old 13.04.2011, 23:23
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

OMG OMG!! Captain Greybeard! You are just so funny and you so made my day!

I read about brown sugar but I really didn't think of Maple Syrup. Thank you for the tip. I will go to Costco and buy several gallons

And I'm utterly surprised that I can find petite clothing. Really? Sorry to doubt you but that's too good to be true and I'm ecstatic to know that.

And so does jeans. Didn't even occur to me. How wonderful I was able to ask.

Re: introduction.... love to do but I work in computer security industry sort of and know whatever we post here, including private messages, can be retrieved by anyone along with our email address we used when sign up. I'm serious. There's service for that.
So, I'd like to bit cautious and keep private. I'm thinking I'd do really well in Switzerland with that kind of mentality. No?
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Old 14.04.2011, 00:48
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Well, since my OH is a genuine American, US size included, I have no real experience concerning petite size clothing. I made that remark based on the simple fact that, when I spend an hour at a Walmart in the USA, I see more oversize people than in a whole year in Switzerland. That says a lot about the average sizes in these nations. For obvious reasons, clothing sizes on offer usually are centered around a regional average, hence my conclusion.

As for your reluctance concerning private info, I fully agree. I have been active in Internet security matters since 1982, and sometimes I am one of those people who have to poke around on the Internet to collect sensitive data. I think that says a lot. However, nobody expects you to publish your entire bio here; it's more about a kind Hello to the bunch. I wrote that because sure like heck someone else would come up with that topic sooner or later. Your privacy is very much appreciated and respected on this forum, but so is a certain amount of -- how should I put this -- just being nice and somewhat sociable.

Swiss mentality? I dunno. I don't seem to be Swiss enough to give my vote there.
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Old 14.04.2011, 07:34
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Ship everything you can! Are you active in sports? Bring it all...tennis racket, skis, hiking shoes, helmets, etc.

See ya soon!
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Old 14.04.2011, 07:35
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Oh, and bring me some beef jerky please. Max is 3.5 kg.
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Old 14.04.2011, 08:16
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

I always regret not shipping my Harley over...
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Old 14.04.2011, 08:39
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Good luck with your move!

When my mom sends me care packages, I ask for ibuprofen. (I once paid about 11 chf for a package of 10 400-mg tablets. Once.) My mom also sends me wild rice, spices, books and makeup, which I've found to be much more expensive here than in the States. I heartily second the previous post about sporting equipment. That said, I'm still pretty new and may not have found the lowest prices available here.

By the way, when you arrive, you may have to put salt in your dishwasher.
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Old 14.04.2011, 08:45
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Buy:

1. Clothes that you will need
2. Running shoes. They cost about $175 here and about $85-90 in the
US
3. Most of the spices can be bought here although I am not that familiar with Japanese spices and cooking.
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Old 14.04.2011, 08:53
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

If you bake a lot, it might be worth it to bring baking powder and baking soda in large quantities. They only have them in teeny packages here in Switzerland. I also had my friend bring me a big bottle of real vanilla extract. You can only find vanilla suger or vanilla paste or beans in Switzerland. Vanilla extract is essential for baking American goodies.
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Old 14.04.2011, 09:02
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Some ideas from previous threads might help:

Moving to CH packing list

Appliances - what to bring from US

Sending my belongings over... [import duty]
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Old 14.04.2011, 09:11
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

I'll second the Captain with regard to petite clothing as while I do have a hard time finding larger sizes in suitable fashion (here it is back 30yrs to assuming that fat women must wear "old lady" styles in horrible fabrics in many of the "better" stores), many of the Swiss women I know make me feel tall (I'm not quite 5'5").

The thing I regret not bringing more of is my SHOES. Here, even cheapy ballerina slippers have cost me over 100chf and they were laid out similar fashion to the shoe department at Target. (Meanwhile, I left probably 15 really awesome pair back at my mother's, surely made good use of by my sis by now. ) I would agree that if you wear wide shoes, this is another reason to bring them if you have room / budget as well, mine are somewhere between wide and normal and a lot of the shoes I've tried are more like narrow.

Going back to clothing - if you have access to Ross, yes, do it. I also didn't have room to bring some of my more professional clothing (I knew I'd not be working immediately) and kick myself for not bringing my cheaply bought designer wear that I'd picked up at Ross. (I'm sure my sis is making prodigious use of this stuff as well.)


So far as foodie stuff goes though... brown sugar can be found here, as can maple syrup. Prices are quite different for them though as often they're imported. Vanilla can be had in small quantities - I use "bourbon vanille" packets or "butter vanille" vials easily gotten from the grocery chains... it is much tougher though to get hands on any flavorings BESIDES vanilla, rum, amaretto or lemon.

So far I've been able to find most of what I'm looking for if I'm in the mood for "Asian" flavors by shopping a variety of shops here in Basel. The grocery chains carry some and there are a number of Asian markets in town... if you are willing to head to a few different shops ("one stop shopping" really doesn't seem to exist here for any cuisine style), it is possible to find almost anything you need. Judging by what others who live in Zürich have said, it is pretty much the same there.
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Old 14.04.2011, 09:18
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

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If you bake a lot, it might be worth it to bring baking powder and baking soda in large quantities. They only have them in teeny packages here in Switzerland. I also had my friend bring me a big bottle of real vanilla extract. You can only find vanilla suger or vanilla paste or beans in Switzerland. Vanilla extract is essential for baking American goodies.
Yeah, I forgot about the baking soda. You get an ounce here for the price of an US pound. Don't ask me why.

As for vanilla -- it takes a while for Americans to learn how real vanilla (the beans) tastes.

Spices and the like: If you are into loveage, bring a jar (dried). It was available everwhere in Switzerland decades ago but has mysteriously disappeared from the market. I had to grow my own.

Meds: In the USA you get 300 Aspirin for the amount you pay for 10 (in words: ten) here. Granted, the Swiss version is stronger (500 mg instead of the 325 mg usually sold at every grocery store in the USA), but that doesn't explain the different pricing.

And if you are a vitamine freak, bring tons of them. The vitamine department of any grocery store in an American one-horse town is twice as big as an entire Swiss pharmacy in a big city (as far as there is any Swiss city that can be called big). The Swiss prefer vegetables, fruit and other fresh produce over bottled and capsuled stuff, so the vitamine industry has a very hard time here.
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Old 14.04.2011, 09:27
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

spices... You will need them for your daily life!
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Old 14.04.2011, 10:00
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As others have said, over the counter meds, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, plus anything like tums or maalox of which you are fond. Vitamins, although you can order them via iherb.com easily. Most cosmetics are less expensive in the US too.

In terms of spices cinnamon especially is very bland here. I usually go to the us and bring back a pile of stuff from penzey's, espc different types of cinnamon, chili powder, paprika and dried peppers.

I still buy most of my clothes in the US, even paying duty it's worth it. So bring what you can. I like the choice and quality for the price. You'll find a lot here tho if you are a small size.

I have wide feet tho, and have no trouble finding shoes.
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Old 14.04.2011, 20:46
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

I'm so glad to find this forum.
thank you everyone, you are so helpful!!
I compiled the list and will be adding more later. It helps to know in advance so that I can buy when sale/bargain if stock-able.

Household items:
OTC meds
Vitamins
makeup
razor blades
contact lens
brand/familiar stuff

shoes/clothing (if they are bargain in us, it will be super bargain in CH)

sporting goods

Food:
vanilla essence
brown sugar
baking soda
maple syrup
good cinnamon and spices
wild rice
oats/oatmeal
BBQ and other specials sauces
Some Japanese stuff
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Old 15.04.2011, 09:34
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Quote:
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hello

I'm a Japanese who's moving to Zurich next year. I'm already preparing (I know, I know, it's my nature) and right now, what to buy now and ship is a big Q.

What are expensive there? If budget is limitted, what should be the priority?
My concerns are;
  • Wide Shoes
  • Petite clothing
  • Bargain US clothing (examples, Old Navy T-shirts for $5, "Ross for Less" find designer pant suit for $60. Worth buy up like crazy and bring them all?
I assume anything I can buy @ Ikea does not worth the cost. I understand specialty needs (like hot-sauce, some Japanese food which are hard to get) needs to be shipped.

What are your regret of "darn, I should've stretch my budget and bought and shipped!!" ???


Thank you so much!!

Shiso
Bring everything you need, clothing, etc, ideally enough to not have to replace for at least a year, apart from small things...You will spend the initial year in price shock as it is, so try to minimize it!
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Old 15.04.2011, 09:43
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Zurich is So. Ridiculously. Expensive. And the stuff (in my opinion) does not even warrant the high costs! Looking back, I would have gone to DSW (or your favorite shoe store) and bought shoes for every season. Boots, flats, sandals, sneakers. Shoes here cost way too much money, and they're not even designer labels! Hmm, what else. If you like to bake - things like vanilla extract, brown sugar, etc. can be found but are very pricey. (You know those small McCormick extract bottles? 20 francs here, which is equivalent to over $20 in the US and for the same size bottle). Oh - I would bring medicine. Things like zyrtec, advil, cough medicine, etc. Everything has to be purchased at the pharmacy (often with prescription) and is far more expensive. I don't think the cough medicine works as well, either. I have to double the dose to get any effect. Hmm, try to find electrical adaptors. You can get them here but they of course are expensive. Stock up on bras and underwear if you need them, because they will be much more expensive here with what seems to be a smaller selection.

Don't get me wrong - Zurich is a wonderful city! Beautiful, safe, clean. However, when you are used to things being extremely convenient, inexpensive and in huge variety, you find yourself wishing you had just brought stuff from home.
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Old 16.04.2011, 03:14
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

@Lauragestewart & Quax
"inexpensive and huge variety" and "buy everything" It seems to come down to that better to bring as much as possible. It totally makes sense!

I guess aside from basic stuff that can be ok with whatever (say like, sweatpants @ home) I will max out my budget and buy things (yay! legit excuses for shopping spree!!)

Q1: But then, we have to consider shipping cost vs buying there, right?
My guess is that big/heavy stuff like furniture should be replaced @ Zurch unless they are very special. What are the thoughts?


Q2: Also, there are alot of shipping services right now like:
http://bongous.com/mail_forwarding_individuals.php
If there's a huge price differences AND they are small and light, I might want to have it mailed through them. Any thoughts?


edited list:

buy everything as much as possible but emphasis must be on

Household items:
OTC meds
Vitamins
makeup
razor blades
contact lens!!! (super expensive in ch)
brand stuff/familiar stuff

shoes/clothing
(petite sizes are available in ch)
stock up favorite underwear
shoes for every occasion (limited varieties and $$$)
Brand Jeans

sporting goods

Food:
vanilla essence
brown sugar
baking soda
maple syrup
good cinnamon and spices
wild rice
oats/oatmeal
BBQ and other specials sauces
beef jerky (if you love them)
any special items
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