(photo by Hannah Zoppi, Athena Alum – Paros Island, Greece)
If you are nervous about what to pack for your study abroad experience, you are certainly not alone. No matter the location or duration, one of the biggest concerns for students is: “How on earth do I pack for living in a foreign country?!” Fear not! We have compiled advice from those who have experienced all that is studying abroad to make a comprehensive and hopefully reassuring list of what you should, and should not take for your experience abroad. Broken down into four categories, use this as a guideline for your packing to ease your worries.
There are several important things to remember when packing for your flight due to airline restrictions and common airline blunders. Generally, you are allowed one or two checked pieces of luggage and one carry-on bag/suitcase. Here are general guidelines for what to pack in these separate pieces.
This is possibly the biggest source of stress for some students, and rightfully so. You do not want to be cold, hot, underdressed, overdressed or simply without your favorite sweater. We have some packing suggestions, but remember that even if you do forget something it can most often be purchased in-country.
Things to consider when packing your clothes:
Tips for Packing Clothes:
*Many times when students pack their bags they feel the need to bring their entire closet. For your own sake, avoid this common trap! Gather what you think you need, and then try eliminating half of it. You will be surprised by how much you do not need once you’re in-country. This is especially true with jeans. Jeans are heavy, hard to wash and dry (often dryers are not even available in your host country) and are sometimes perceived as ‘unfashionable’ (if that is one of your concerns). One or two pairs should be plenty.
Clothes you do not want to forget:
Different countries have different outlets and voltages for their electronics, meaning that there is a great chance of ruining your electronics should you plug them in abroad. Considering this, it is a good idea to leave most of your electronics at home.
Most toiletries can be purchased in-country, if you do accidently forget something. But try to remember the things you use every day so you can spend your money to sample local cuisine or take a day trip! It is also really important to remember your medication or prescriptions as those are very hard to obtain abroad and equally hard to have shipped to you from home.
We hope these guidelines were helpful in preparing for your experience abroad and making the packing process a little less stressful. Safe travels!