How to Pack for a Study Abroad: 8 Essential Packing Tips

First off, congratulations on getting everything in order to be able to travel and study abroad for an entire semester. You’ve made a damn good choice – one that will no doubt that will change your life. From picking a country, getting your visa together and saving up the funds, you only have one little thing left on your list, and by little we mean massive, and that is packing everything you need to live in a different country into a single checked bag, nbd right? Really who needs actually needs real physical things to survive? Of course not you, just kidding. Ya, you can freak out a little as you figure out what to bring, what to leave and what’s actually essential.

There’s a lot of what to packs out there already. We’re going to try and make that simpler for you today by talking about some essential packing tips for a long trip, how to pack for your study abroad trip and what not to pack on your long journey.

8 Essential Tips for Packing for a Long Trip

  1. Pack versatile clothing options
    When you are packing, make sure everything you are bringing works for many different outfits. From your favourite pair of jeans to the perfect travel wrap dress that you can wear with everything. It’s it important to think about what you are bringing as a mini capsule wardrobe.
  2. Bring a raincoat + weatherproof shoes
    When it rain, it pours, so its best to always be prepared with the right coat and shoe options for when it happens, so you aren’t ever staying in due to the weather.
  3. More walking Shoes, fewer going-out shoes
    Walking shoes can double as going-out shoes, but going-out shoes don’t always double as walking shoes. And when you don’t have a car and will most like be walking and transiting everywhere you go, comfort is key.
  4. Travel size vs. full size
    You most like only need a few key items in travel size version, as no matter where you go there is store so you just need the smaller size to hold up until you can buy something in stores.
  5. Wear your heaviest clothing items on the plane
    If it gets too hot while travelling, you can just peel off the layers!
  6. Pack Your Heavier Items in Your Carry-on Backpack
    Since airlines are typically more restrictive of checked luggage but carry-ons usually don’t have the say limitations.
  7. Pack less than what you think you need
    There are stores where you are going, so pack less then what you need and if you need to buy something for the trip look into whether or not you can buy in your host country instead
  8. Leave some room for new things
    Make sure to leave some room in your luggage for all the new items you are bound to accumulate on your long trip aboard.

    Bonus: Buy a Local Sim Card

    Instead of buying an expensive package with your current provider, look into the cost of purchasing a local sim card in your host country. We have found that often this works out to be cheaper and it also gives you more data options.

How to Pack for a Study Abroad

  • Step One: Select the correct luggage
    Often we see people with this combination, 1 large checked luggage, 1 carry-on luggage, 1 personal bag. Although there is nothing wrong with that, you might want to consider instead of bringing a travel backpacking system instead of a carry-on luggage and 1 personal bag. We recommend this because travel backpacks can pack just as much as your personal carry on but they are way more convenient for your weekend travel adventures.
  • Step Two: Create a packing list
    There are a ton of amazingly detailed packing list from studying abroad. Just make sure you are also checking in with the school to see if they have any additional items they are asking for.
  • Step Three: Do a test run
    Gather all your items and make sure everything fits and is with the weight limits.
  • Step Four: List out what you are missing
    Before you go out and buy all your missing items, do some research and see if there is anything you can instead buy in your host country. This will save you a bit of room in your luggage and potentially a bit of money if you went over there and realized you didn’t need it after all or its something a roommate has and you can easily share.
  • Step Five: Curate what you have
    See if you can narrow down your options anymore.
  • Step Six: Pack it all again
    Now that you have added the items you were missing and narrowed down your options again, back it all up the night before.
  • Step Seven: Go through your packing list
    You don’t have to take everything out again but do a mental check of your packing list.

What Not to Pack for Your Study Aboard

  • Books
    Reading is a wonderful past time, but physical books can be challenging to travel with. Instead, download your favourite books on your phone and if you are craving a physical book, visit a local store or library in your host country and see what options they have
  • More than 5 pairs of shoes
    Shoes can take up at a lot of room and weigh down your luggage pretty quickly so be selective with what you are bringing with you.
  • Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable
    If you aren’t comfortable wearing it at home, don’t bring it aboard.
  • Anything you have never worn before
    Don’t just bring things just to bring things. If heels weren’t your thing at home, but bring the 4-inch pair, you have never worn aboard with you.
  • Too Many Electronics
    Reconsider whether you need your phone, laptop, camera, iPad, e-reader, wireless headphones, portable charger or anything other electronic.

Just remember that adventure is one of the best ways to learn so whenever you have a chance – take it – do it – and hold nothing back on your journey…the experience of studying abroad is a rare gift that often only comes once in a lifetime. As Wendell Berry said “ Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves. We tip our hats to you!

Let us know if you are studying aboard in 2019 and where you are going. If you recently went aboard and is reading these types of post for nostalgic reasons, please let us know if you have any essential packing tips that we should add to our list! Also if you have any questions, we can help answer…just drop us a line!

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