Studying Abroad? Here's Your Ultimate Packing List

by Heather Robinette / Jul 11, 2016 /
Heather Robinette's picture

Packing for short trips is hard. Packing for long-term study abroad trips is even harder. I will admit, I procrastinated until the last day to pack. It felt like such a daunting task. The biggest thing I learned is if you forget something, you typically can find it there or something close to it. So don’t overthink it too much! I put together this packing list to hopefully help you make packing a little easier. You'll be packing for the travel time (on the plane) and for your study abroad experience, as well as weekend travels, etc.

 Studying Abroad? Here's Your Ultimate Packing List

Clothing:

It’s not something you think about right away, but you will be doing laundry there. The below suggestions are based on doing laundry every week to week and a half. ​

•    Short sleeve shirts (I packed 10, but anywhere from 10-15) (Try to pack more generic shirts, if not, they can make you stand out)
•    Long sleeve shirts (3-5 shirts)
•    Undershirts/Camis (7-10 shirts, unless you don’t wear them)
•    Shorts (2-3 pair)
•    Jeans (2-3 pair)
•    A belt (if you typically wear one)
•    Comfortable shoes (you’ll do a lot of walking)
•    Sweatshirt/Hoodie (Try to pack more generic sweatshirts/hoodies. Small logos are fine)
•    Khakis/Slacks (2 pair, in case you need to dress up)
•    Button-ups/Dress tops (in case you need to dress up)
•    Dress shoes (in case you need to dress up)
•    Formal outfit (in case of a formal occasion) 
•    Workout clothes (1-2 pair) 
•    Underwear (minimum one week’s worth, but preferably two week’s worth)
•    Socks (two week’s worth)
•    Flip flops/Sandals (for showering)
•    Pajamas
•    Rain Jacket 
•    Coat (if you’ll be there in the winter) 
•    Winter items if needed (i.e., gloves, hat, scarf)

 

Toiletries:

•    TSA Compliant Toiletry Kit/ 1-quart Ziploc bags
•    Shampoo/Conditioner
•    Toothbrush/toothpaste
•    Soap
•    Deodorant
•    Brush/Comb
•    Perfume/Cologne 
•    Contact lenses and solution
•    Nail clippers
•    Razors/Other shaving supplies
•    Makeup
•    Feminine Products 
•    Over-the-counter medicines
•    Tissues
•    Travel toilet paper 

 

Extras:

•    $200 in local currency (in case they don’t accept your card or your bank freezes your account)
•    Backpack (for daily use and as your carry-on while traveling)
•    Purse/Wallet 
•    Important documents (passport, visa, itinerary, plane tickets, etc.) in passport/document holder
•    A copy of the important documents in another place (ie suitcase) 
•    Cell phone and charger (the cell phone can be with or without a signal, you may be able to use wifi, you can also use it when you leave and arrive) 
•    Laptop and charger 
•    Power adapter/converter (make sure you have the correct adapter for the country) 
•    Camera and charger
•    MP3 Player/iPod/iPad with headphones
•    E-reader or book if you like to read (plane, train, bus rides) 
•    Water bottle (make sure you stay hydrated) 
•    Umbrella 
•    Snacks (snacks from home can be comforting)
•    Sunglasses
•    Extra glasses
•    Extra contacts
•    Enough prescription drugs for the length of your stay. Make sure you also have documentation (prescription or doctor’s note) for the prescription and ensure the country allows it before leaving 
•    Extra space for gifts/purchases on the return trip (you can also buy an additional bag)
•    Anything else that is personalized to you (i.e., Fitbit and charger, pictures, hats, etc)

 

Things You Can Take, But Should Buy On-Site:

I purchased the below items once I got to London, and left them there when I returned home because I couldn’t pack them. Some of these things will vary depending on where you are staying and whether you would need them.

•    Sheets/Bed linens
•    Bath towels
•    Pillows
•    Plates, Bowls, Cups
•    Fan/Heater
•    Straightener/Hair Dryer (You can take yours, but buying it when you get there is safer because of the difference in electricity) 

**Note: If you do run out of something, you should be able to buy it, so don’t overthink packing it too much.

I hope this information is able to give you some insight into what to pack when getting ready for your trip. This is not an all inclusive list, so make sure you still sit down and think about other things you would want to have with you. This list comes from things I packed, as well as things I wished I would have packed. Just be mindful of what you buy, since you need to fly back home with it. Happy Packing!

Here’s what I took for a summer in London:
 Studying Abroad? Here's Your Ultimate Packing List
Photo courtesy and copyright Heather Robinette

 

Heather Robinette is the London Study Abroad Editor for Wandering Educators. She notes, "During the summer of 2011, I studied abroad for six weeks in London at the University of Westminster with Academics Programs International. I graduated from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. I currently work as a marketing analyst for a small company in central Texas. I currently work as a marketing coordinator for a real estate firm in Las Vegas, NV. I am also pursuing my MBA. While I was abroad in London, I was able to create many unforgettable memories that I will never forget! My study abroad experience helped me gain various skills, but above all else, it helped me to learn more about myself and the world around me." You can find her online at http://www.heatherrobinette.com/

 

 

 

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