The Ultimate Study Abroad Packing Guide

I know you want a comprehensive list of what to pack when you are traveling to study abroad, and we all get annoyed when someone says “There’s nothing difficult in packing”.

Packing for a  vacation is easy: sunscreen, shoes, swimsuits, and dresses, and you’re all set! Packing for six months or even a year studying in another country? well, that’s a bit higher on a difficulty scale.

This ultimate study-abroad packing guild will make this task easier and help you put together some study-abroad packing tips for all of you out there planning on studying abroad for one or two semesters.

You’ve been invited to study abroad. So, what do you need to bring, what don’t you need and how do you get it all there?

If you’re interested in that, keep on reading what is to be added to your packing list!

The Ultimate Study Abroad Packing Guide-what To Pack?

Whether you’re a notorious over-packer, a last-minute packer, or the kind of person that always forgets something useful, the biggest question of all time is- What should I pack and what not?

Clearly, you can’t take your entire home with you due to luggage constraints, bearing in mind the airline restrictions.

Besides, trying to shove your whole life into one suitcase is practically not possible (except if you’re a minimalist).

So, below is the ultimate study abroad packing guide. Are you ready? If yes, let’s go through the Study abroad packing list one by one.

1. Documents

One important thing to add to your packing list is your travel documents. It’s advisable to have photocopies of your original documents in a carry-on bag to be on the safer side.

The necessary items to include in your important documents are as follows:

  1. Passport and visa (plus copies, just in case)
  2. Driver’s license/photo ID
  3. Plane tickets
  4. Printed CISI insurance card
  5. Enrollment confirmation from school/university.
  6. Debit/credit card.
  7. Student card.
  8. Health insurance card.
  9. Travel insurance.
  10. Fee receipt of allotted accommodation
  11. Cash in local currency for initial on-site expenses (check your pre-departure information for recommended amount)
  12. Photocopies of important travel documents 

2. Clothing

Before anything, you have to do some pre-research on your destination. Notice the kind of clothing people wear, the type of weather, and the dress code in your university (if any).

Also, find culturally appropriate clothing for the location. And based on all these points, start packing your clothes.

You can fill in these things:

  1. Jeans, pants, skirts, or other comfortable bottoms.
  2. T-shirts, shirts, or tank tops.
  3. Hoodie or sweatshirts (if the weather is cold).
  4. Undergarments ( 2 weeks worth).
  5. Socks and handkerchiefs (4 weeks worth).
  6. Casual clothes like leggings, shorts, dresses, etc.
  7. Formal clothes like a suit.
  8. Daily wear clothes like pajamas.
  9. Workout clothes.
  10. Towel.
  11. Comfy footwear.
  12. Flip flops.
  13. Walking shoes.
  14. Sleeping Bag
  15. Accessories like a belt, watch, scarves, hat, etc.

keep in mind not to overpack clothes as you have to pack other necessary items too mentioned below.

3. Toiletries

Are you specific about brands? If yes It’s always better to carry your daily essentials when going to a new place before you gradually find an alternative in your new location.

  1. Shampoo/ conditioner
  2. Toothbrush/ toothpaste
  3. Skincare products include; face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen, body lotion, etc.
  4. Deodorant
  5. Feminine products (one month’s worth)
  6. Brush/ comb
  7. Razors/ other shaving supplies
  8. Contact lenses and solution
  9. Glasses
  10. makeup
  11. Nail clippers
  12. Medications (if any)
  13. Tissues/ toilet paper (you don’t want to be stuck in a bathroom when it runs out)
  14. Hair straightener and hair products

4. Electronics

No doubt, electronics are an essential part of our lives today. That’s why you must pack them.

  1. Smartphone with charger
  2. Notebook/Laptop with charger
  3. Power outlet adapters in case your destination’s power outlets and voltages are different (ideally 2 or more)
  4. Camera with case and charger
  5. Flash drives, USB sticks, memory cards
  6. An E-reader with a charger
  7. Powerbank
Read Also: How Much Does It Cost To Study Abroad

5. Food

To me, this has to be the most important thing to park.

Traveling to study abroad,  mostly you’ll find food from other countries bland and flavorless. Also, adjusting to the new food will take a long time.

So, carry enough frozen food, provisions, foodstuffs, and snacks for 8 weeks worth that can help you pass your transition days.

If you love spicy food, pack some spices too.

Things you should rather buy in your host country

There are a few things that would take up a lot of space in your luggage, but would be relatively cheap to buy after you have arrived in your host country. 

some items should be left at home. For starters, don’t bring anything that marks you as a foreigner. 

This includes sports jerseys, Greek life apparel, and popular American brands, like Ford. Skip items with an American flag or “USA” emblazoned on them.

 All of these items mark you as a tourist and an easy target for pick-pocketing.

You’ll also want to leave behind clothes that can’t be mixed and matched or layered. If you’re not sure how to create a wardrobe that optimizes mixing and matching, especially for a trip, you’ll find several videos on YouTube. 

Some videos specifically address mixing and matching clothes for men. A word of caution, though. Don’t shop for a completely new wardrobe to bring with you. Go with your favorites, and add a few new pieces, if you must.

Don’t bring everything, If you have gone through our packing list and still have room, pack them; otherwise, take care of the items after the arrival:

  1. Linens, bed sheets, blanket, pillow
  2. Towels and facecloths
  3. Laundry bag
  4. Toiletries you did not pack
  5. Essential course textbooks
  6. Office supply – paper, pens, folders
  7. Seasonal clothing and shoes you did not bring
  8. Blowdryer
  9. Umbrella

Final Study Abroad Packing Tips

  1. Start packing at least a few days before you leave for study abroad so you have time to do any last-minute shopping and aren’t in a rush.
  1. Remember to keep your packing as minimal as possible
  1. Pack, unpack, and then pack again. See what you can eliminate because I guarantee you will overpack the first time you do it.

Frequently asked questions

1. how many bags should you bring to study abroad?

Don’t overpack to study abroad

Try to keep your luggage limited to two large, checked suitcases for your clothes, toiletries, favorite products, and other necessities.


There you have it, the traveling abroad checklist.

Just follow the above information and you’ll be packed and ready in no time.

before signing off, here’s a quick tip for you that will help you in packing.

Just like you do dance rehearsal before D-day, do packing rehearsal too. Pack! Then unpack and try to do it at least two to three times.

This will help you to drop off extra luggage quickly and save you from last-minute anxiousness. 

Happy packing!

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