How To's & What Not To Forgets

Important Notes for Packing

Determining what you need from what you want. Fitting everything into the right size bag. Making sure you can lift said bag on your own……Packing correctly can be an art form. Luckily, we’re here to help you out!

Here are a few tips & tricks we have picked up along the way:


  • Prohibited Items. Be aware of items that are prohibited by your airline or the countries you are traveling to. For more information on what you cannot carry in your suitcase or carry-on bag, please call your airline and/or consult their website. You should also consult for additional guidelines as well as restrictions on liquids, gels, etc.


  • Luggage Restrictions. Check your ticket or call your airline for luggage restrictions on size, weight, number of luggage items, etc. You don’t want to be stuck at the airport because your luggage was the wrong size.


  • Pack light. Trust us. Once you get together all of your items to pack lay it all out on your bed, cut it in half, and then start packing.
    You will personally be transporting your luggage throughout your journey, so envision yourself navigating airports, train stations, down cobblestone streets, up flights of stairs, and various other forms of transportation with your luggage. If you can’t carry it all in one trip, cut it down.


  • Do Your Research. With traveling becoming an increasingly popular past time, there are now numerous packing articles and blogs out there just a quick Google search away. Before you start packing we recommend you watch a few packing videos to pick up on some tips and tricks.


  • Keep An Eye Out. During your journey, watch your bags at all times and do not accept packages from anyone.

Items NOT To Bring

While you are essentially moving to a different country for a time, there are just some items that should be left at home:

  • Large electrical appliances (coffee makers, irons, stereos, etc)
  • Alcohol
  • Expensive jewelry
  • Bedding, towels, pillows (will either be provided or can be purchased on site)
  • Kitchen items (will either be provided or can be purchased on site)



Leave Copies at Home

Before you leave home make 2 copies of all of your important documents. Leave 1 set at home with your family and bring the other with you abroad. This will come in handy if you ever misplace your original documents and need to have them replaced while abroad. Some important documents to be sure to copy:

  • Passport & Visa (if applicable)
  • Driver’s license
  • Debit / Credit cards
  • Your travel itinerary
  • Contact information while abroad

General Packing Checklist

Important Documents You Should Bring:

o Passport

o Entry Requirements: Letter of Acceptance, Visa (if applicable), other Entry Requirements (see program specific section)

o $100-$150 worth of local currency

o Cash (USD & Local Currency), Debit Card, & Credit Card(s)

o ID cards & Rail passes

o Athena Supplemental Health Insurance Card

o Medical Documentation (including vaccinations and/or prescription drug information)

Items To Pack (or purchase abroad)

o Clothing (see Weather & Culture sections) – Shirts, pants, sweater, jackets, swimsuit, underwear, etc.

o Comfortable shoes – There’s a lot of walking involved. You’ll thank us later.

o Flip-flops or sandals – To be used at pools, on the beach, or in showers

o Raincoat & umbrella

o Toiletries

o Chewing gum – It helps with your ears popping on the plane

o Contact lenses, solution, & eyeglasses

o Camera, memory cards, batteries – All of these can be more expensive abroad

o Sunglasses & sunscreen

o Bug spray

o Journal – For recording your experiences

o Backpack – For carrying books/supplies and weekend travel/excursions

o Money belt – Used to hold your money/passport while traveling (especially in subways, airports, etc.)

o General Medications – Vitamins, pain reliever, cough medicine, an antihistamine, & motion sickness meds.

o Prescription Medication – Please see section on Health & Vaccinations.

o Electric converters & adapters for use with US appliances – See location specific section for more details.

o Electronics & their chargers – Laptop, iPad, cell phone, iPod, GoPro, etc.



Leave Room In Your Suitcase

Remember that you are likely going to buy a good amount of things abroad so be sure to leave room in your suitcase for these items while packing for your journey. Here are some tips for making extra room in your luggage:

  • Pack an extra bag. Fold it up on the way there and on the way back you can use the extra bag for items that you buy.
  • Pack Less. Buy More. Pack limited amounts of clothing, leaving room for the new clothes you’ll buy overseas.
  • Pack items you can throw away. Toiletries, old clothing, books…Pack items your aren’t attached to or that will run out so you can toss them before your return journey.



Charging Your Electronics Abroad

Be sure to check the power outlets for the countries you are visiting during your time abroad. There are a multitude of outlet types throughout the world and you’re going to want to make sure you have the right equipment to keep your electronics charged and ready to go.

We recommend purchasing an adapter/converter kit before you go that has multiple adapter types so you’re not stuck in a foreign country with a dead cell phone.

A helpful guide for determining what electric conversion equipment you’ll need while abroad is or you can watch the video below!


Packing Your Carry-On

For most international flights passengers are allowed one checked bag, one carry-on item, and a personal item (i.e. a purse or backpack). It’s helpful to think of your carry-on items as your travel emergency kits. Sometimes checked baggage can get delayed or lost so it’s critical to have all of your important documents and items on your person at all times while you travel.

Here are a list of items you should keep on you at all time while you are making your way to your destination or traveling around during your program:

  • Passport/Visa (if applicable)
  • Flight Itinerary
  • All Travel Schedules
  • Emergency Contact Information
  • Medical Information
  • Any ID’s you bring
  • Money / Debit / Credit cards
  • Cell phone
  • Chargers
  • Converters/adapters
  • Essential toiletries
  • Extra set of clothing
  • Umbrella

While we hope it never happens to you, lost luggage is a real thing, so be sure you have everything on you that you need to make it to your destination.

There are a lot of helpful packing videos on YouTube such as the one featured above, so check them out if you find yourself in need of some extra guidance.



Take a Photo of Your Luggage

Take a picture of your luggage before you check it. Believe us! Given an accurate description of this suitcase you have had for ages is a lot harder after a long flight.

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