If you are planning a period of study abroad, you will no doubt be struggling to fit your life into a suitcase. Packing lists will be growing by the minute as everything in your room assumes the status of essential item. This is not your average holiday packing list, however. You will want to make the most of your time studying abroad, and a carefully planned travel essentials list can help you do that. If you are struggling to identify the most important items to pack, Send My Bag’s study abroad packing list is here to help.
The reason you are moving abroad is to study, so make sure you pack what you need to participate in class and to complete assignments from the start. You will need:
- Key textbooks
- Books from the reading list
- (Bilingual) dictionary
- Notes from related courses
- Stationery kit – pen, pencil, eraser, ruler, etc.
Clothing and accessories
You will no doubt be able to do laundry during your stay, so don’t think you have to pack enough clothing to last the whole semester. The clothing you bring will depend on the climate you are moving to, but here is a sample packing list of travel essentials:
- Underwear for at least a week
- Socks for a week
- 7 t-shirts/ tops
- 4 jumpers
- 5 shirts
- 4 pairs of jeans
- 2 pairs of shorts
- Bathing suit
- Light jacket
- Heavier coat
- Hat/ scarf/ gloves
- Workout clothing
- Training shoes
- Smart shoes
- Outfit for a formal occasion
- Baseball cap
Pack as many toiletries as you would when going on holiday/ vacation. Thereafter, you can purchase what you need once you arrive, when you need it.
- Small shower gel
- Small shampoo/ conditioner
- Make up
- Make up remover
- Sanitary products
- Hair brush
- Hair styling product
- Hair straighteners
- Contact lenses and solution
Bring any meds that you rely on in sufficient quantities to allow you time to source them in the host country, as well as a supply of off-the-shelf medication to combat the effect of long journeys and the change of environment. Pack these in your carry-on luggage:
- Prescription meds
- Indigestion tablets
- Cold and flu meds
- Plasters (band aids)
Make your new accommodation feel like home and combat homesickness by packing a few much-loved home décor items with you, such as:
- Photos of family and friends (plus Blu-tack)
- Cuddly toy
- Colourful cushion or throw
- Favourite mug (carefully packed)
You will obviously buy food once you arrive in your host country but it can’t hurt to have a little something in your luggage to keep you going. You could also pack a food item that you love but that you know you won’t be able to come by in your new location.
- Cereal bars
- Sweets (candy)
- Food item specific to your home country
Having access to a laptop and a phone will mean you can stay in touch with home throughout the settling-in process, helping you to combat loneliness. Think about purchasing a data bundle for your smart phone to use during the first few days in your host country.
- Laptop (with a few downloaded movies)
- Travel adapters
- (Noise-cancelling) head phones
- A couple of fiction books
- Favourite magazine
Don’t be caught out by missing documentation. Research everything you need to bring to gain access to your host country and to enrol at your institution. Make sure you pack these items in your carry-on luggage, in case your checked bag gets lost:
- Visa documentation
- Driving licence
- Letter of acceptance from the host institution
- Other information provided by the institution, e.g. relating to student accommodation
- EHIC card, if travelling to another European country
- Travel insurance details
Pack things that will make it easy for you to quickly settle into your new home, especially in the period of time before you set up internet access or purchase a local sim card.
- Guide book about the host city, with a map
- Information on public transport from the airport and around town
- Credit card with no foreign transaction fees
- Cash in the host currency to last you a week or so
If you still think you will struggle to pack everything you need to study abroad within a manageable amount of luggage, you can easily send the rest to your host country with Send My Bag.
There is no need to pack just the travel essentials. Instead you can have that extra outfit, those notes you may or may not use, and that emergency supply of chocolate bars. Just stick them in a suitcase or box and have Send My Bag deliver it to your new accommodation. Visit our student page to find out about the service that thousands of international students are using to help them recreate a home from home when studying abroad.
We have plenty more top tips for studying abroad, including ‘Top Ten Tips for Your Third Year Abroad’ and guides to studying in France, Germany and Spain. You might also want to check out opportunities for taking a degree course that uses English as the language of instruction. If you would prefer to spend just part of your degree studying abroad, you could consider taking part in the Erasmus+ programme or working as a language assistant.
Are you thinking about studying in the UK? Find out what visa you will need and check out our ‘Moving to the UK Guide’.
Last month, American Airlines and United joined Delta in offering passengers a Basic Economy fare. Some critics are understandably referring to this as an ‘economy minus’ fare. In an age of budget airlines and pared-back service, the packages offered by legacy airlines such as American Airlines and United were luxurious by contrast. By adopting the Basic Economy fare it seems like these companies are headed in the same direction as the no-frills airlines – charging for anything but the bare minimum in order to boost profit margins.