What to Take to University: The Ultimate 2020 College Packing List

Friday, 4 Sep 2020

What to Take to University: The Ultimate 2020 College Packing List

So, you’ve been accepted into your university of choice and are coming to terms with facing an extended time away from home. Now the question is, what do you bring with you? Deciding what to take to university or college is daunting in any normal year, never mind the chaotic and turbulent times of 2020.

We know - you need help. The Send My Bag team have had plenty of experience packing our own personal belongings for university (and shipping it for students!) and have put together the ultimate packing list for college and university, identifying the most important items to pack this year.

Study Essentials

While there may not be as many lectures or seminars in the coming months, you’ll still want to have all the necessary study items on hand. Especially if you’re facing a period of study in your dorm. You will need:

  • Key textbooks
  • Books from the reading list
  • (Bilingual) dictionary
  • Stationary kit – highlighters, pens, pencils, ruler, etc.
  • A study diary/journal

If you’re worried about the extra weight books may add to your bags, remember you can always wait to purchase them from your university or college shop when you arrive.

Clothing Items

The first year of university has most students dressing to impress and this year will be no different. Depending on the climate you’re moving to, you may wish to bring: 

  • Underwear for at least a week
  • Socks for a week
  • T-shirts/tops
  • Jumpers
  • Shirts
  • Everyday jeans
  • Dressier/going out jeans
  • Accessories – belt, watch, jewellery
  • Light jackets
  • A heavy coat
  • A formal outfit
  • Everyday shoes
  • Smart shoes
  • Umbrella
  • Pyjamas
  • Slippers
  • Workout clothing
  • Dressing gown


You never know when shops will run out of the essentials so it’s a good idea to arrive to campus with at least some toiletries. Pack as many items as you usually would for a vacation or holiday:

  • Small shower gel
  • Small shampoo/conditioner
  • Make up
  • Make up remover
  • Moisturiser
  • Deodorant
  • Shaving foam
  • Razor
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Contraceptives
  • Hairdryer
  • Hair straighteners
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Sanitary items
  • Flip-flops (for communal showers)


Hopefully you’ll manage to avoid the cold and flu (never mind anything else!) in your first semester. Travelling can also have adverse effects on some, while a change of climate could impact you more than you realise. Pack these essential medical items in your carry-on luggage:

  • Prescription meds
  • Painkillers
  • Indigestion tablets
  • Cold and flu medication
  • Plasters/band aids
  • Antihistamine cream or tablets
  • Plasters

Home Décor

Make your dorm feel a little more like home by bringing a few non-essential decorative items such as:

  • Photos of family and friends
  • Posters
  • Plants
  • Fairy lights
  • Cushions and throws
  • Your favourite mug (carefully packed)
  • A warm blanket
  • Cosy bed sheets
  • Hot water bottle

Kitchen/Food Supplies

If you’re moving into a hall of residence, your kitchen should be stocked with kettle, microwave and a toaster. There may be a few individual items the accommodation provider has not supplied for you, however. While you would be smart to bring some of your favourite food items from home just in case you can’t find them in your new environment:

  • Cereal bars
  • Chocolate
  • Gum
  • A food item specific to your home country
  • Wok
  • Frying pan
  • Tupperware
  • Bowls and plates
  • Mugs
  • Reusable water bottle

You may not wish to pack some of these items in your luggage. If not, you can always purchase on your arrival or you may find some of them are already provided. It may be a good idea to use your own if your particularly cautious about sharing common kitchen items, however.


With COVID-19 self-isolation measures, you may find that you’re studying from home or your dorm on a more regular occasion and it is therefore absolutely necessary to ensure your kitted out with the necessary technology to continue your studies. While you will need entertainment to pass the time.

  • Laptop
  • Chargers
  • Back-up/hard drives
  • Headphones
  • Desk lamp
  • Headphones
  • Magazines
  • Fiction books
  • Travel adapters
  • iPad or other tablet (with access to Netflix)


Research everything you need to bring to enrol at your institution. It’s a good idea to pack these items in your carry-on luggage in case your checked bag gets lost. Even better: ensure you have access to digital copies of these documents at all times.

  • Passport
  • Visa documentation (if studying abroad)
  • Driving license
  • Letter of acceptance from the host institution
  • Student accommodation letters
  • Travel insurance details
  • Student finance documents
  • Bank details

Staying Safe at University/College

With COVID-19 likely to be with us for some time, it is essential that you act responsibly and in accordance with local guidelines. It is a good idea to bring the following:

  • A reusable face mask
  • A supply of single use masks
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand soap
  • Disposable gloves
  • Digital Thermometer

Do you agree with the items listed on our Ultimate 2020 College Packing List or do you have any additional items you would like to include? Let us know on our Facebook page or Instagram Page.

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