If you are off to study abroad, you are about to embark on an amazing and educational adventure. Before you start on your adventure, though, you've got to figure out what you need to pack. To make sure you have everything you'll need while studying abroad, we're sharing our ultimate study abroad packing list, as well as some tips to keep in mind while you're packing.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Packing for Study Abroad
Make sure you can answer these questions before you pack for your study abroad trip:
- Is your host destination urban or rural?
- Is the city more conservative or liberal?
- What is the climate in your destination?
- How long will you be studying abroad?
Probably the most important on this list is travel documents. If you forget everything else on your study abroad packing list, you'll want to remember these items:
- Passport and/or visa
- Driver's license/photo ID
- Plane tickets
- Proof of travel medical insurance
- Credit/debit cards
- Local currency
Almost everything else you'll end up packing can be purchased in your host country if you need to, but without these documents, you may have difficulty even getting out of the airport.
Make sure you research the climate and weather for the destination where you'll be staying (and consider the season you'll be there).
For most abroad locations, a variety of seasonal clothes will be necessary, like a warmer jacket, a raincoat, and boots of some kind.
It's smart to pack items that can be layered easily, including:
- Sweater or sweatshirt
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Workout Clothes
- One or two nicer outfits (you never know what exciting events you might get the chance to attend)
Don't forget to research the local culture and customs; you don't want to offend the locals of your host country with attire they may not consider appropriate.
Follow this guide from The Study Abroad Blog for tips on fitting your life into two suitcases.
Pro Tip: If you can buy it there, buy it there. Unless you're traveling to a remote location and are unsure where the closest convenient store may be, you can save packing space by buying most of your toiletry and bedding needs (i.e. sheets and comforter; towels; laundry detergent) once you get to your host country.
It's smarter still to pack travel-size toiletries to get you through the first few days of your abroad experience and to bulk up once you're settled.
These items include:
- Travel-size shampoo
- Travel-size conditioner
- Travel-size soap
- Travel-size toothpaste
- Tooth brush
- Hair brush
- 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)
You'll want your electronics to capture every moment of your study abroad experience, as well as to help you communicate with the friends you'll make overseas. Just remember: some appliances have different voltages, so before you short-circuit your favorite hair-dryer, double check the voltage or buy one there.
Electronics to pack include:
- Outlet adapter/converter
- Camera and extra memory card (because did you really go abroad if you didn't take 1,000 pictures?)
- Chargers for electronic devices
Don't forget the chargers for your appliances and any extra batteries you might need. You don't want to find yourself scrambling for extra batteries when you need them most!
Not sure you're prepared for the negative aspects of study abroad? Check out these 5 disadvantages — and remedies!
Study Abroad Packing List Extras
There are a few things you'll probably want to bring just to have on hand:
- Travel/overnight bag (for all those exciting excursions you'll take)
- A notebook (while you can get most of your school supplies abroad, take a notebook to journal about your travels)
- Water Bottle
Personalize Your Packing List for Study Abroad
No matter where you go, this ultimate study abroad packing list will come in handy when you prepare to leave for your excursion. You can always add more items, but these basics will get you by.
Use this list to create a personalized packing list for yourself. Add anything else that comes to mind that you know you can't live without. And lastly, don't panic if you forget something; you won't be the first or last person to forget to pack something!