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Packing to Study Abroad


Packing the most suitable attire and the right documents can set the tone of your travels and experience abroad. No one wants to be stuck in the rain without the proper gear or at a country's border without their passport. The following list will help you prepare for your journey and start it off with solid preparation.  

Travel Documents:

At the top of your packing list should be your travel documents. You can easily purchase a clothing item if you forget to pack it, but documents are much more difficult to replace. Remember the following items:

  • Passport and/or visa
  • Driver’s license/photo I.D.
  • Plane tickets
  • Proof of travel medical insurance
  • Credit/debit cards
  • Local currency

Clothing:

Make sure to consider the season, and the typical weather that occurs where you’ll be staying and in the places you may travel to during day trips

Remember, Celsius is typically used outside the U.S.. An easy formula to use when converting Celsius to Fahrenheit: multiply the temperature by 2 and add 30 (The actual formula is multiply by 1.8, and add 32). 

A rule of thumb is to plan outfits for 12 days: two full weeks and one weekend. No matter how long you are abroad, these outfits will be enough to attend class, explore, and to shine at special events. 

We recommend packing necessary items that can be layered easily, including:

  • Tops
  • Bottoms
  • Sweater or sweatshirt
  • Socks
  • Swimsuit
  • One or two nicer outfits 
  • Coat
  • Rainwear
  • 3 types of shoes - shoes for everyday, for exercising, and for special events

Make sure to also research the local culture and customs; you don’t want to offend the locals with attire they may not consider appropriate.

Toiletries:

It's best to pack travel-size toiletries to get you through the first few days of your abroad experience and to buy more once you are settled. You can save packing space by buying most of your toiletry needs within the host country. 

Items include:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Hair brush
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Minimal makeup
  • Glasses/contacts to last the duration of your stay
  • Any prescription medications you might need
  • Emergency kit (stocked with Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, and pain reliever)

Electronics

You'll be using electronics (phone, camera, computer, etc.) to capture every moment of your study abroad experience, as well as to communicate with friends and family. Remember, other countries may have different electrical systems - the voltage of the current and the shape of the plug. Be sure to check the voltage in the host country or buy the electronic there.

 Electronics to pack include:

  • Outlet adapter/converter
  • Extra chargers and batteries
  • Laptop
  • Cellphone
  • Camera and extra memory card 
  • Headphones

 
Extras

Here are a few things you’ll may want to bring just to have on hand:

  • A light backpack for day trips
  • A notebook and a few pens and pencils for your classes
  • Water bottle
  • Sunglasses and a hat


No matter where you go, this handy study abroad packing list will help you prepare to leave for your excursion. May the journey begin!