The Ultimate Study Abroad Packing List

30th July 2020 Joe Graham Featured, Study, Travel

Studying abroad is a scary and daunting experience. Getting everything ready can be stressful and making sure you’re prepared for the months ahead is crucial.

Aside from plane tickets and student accommodation, making sure you have everything you need packed and ready is of paramount importance. The last thing you want is to have left your wallet back in your home country!

Below, we’ve produced an essential study abroad packing list and guide, so you know exactly what you need to bring before your exciting new adventure abroad. Follow this and make the transition across countries that little bit easier.

What to Consider Before Deciding your Items…

When students go to pack for their abroad trip, they will experience the overwhelming feeling that they’ll need to pack EVERYTHING. And when we say ‘everything’, we mean things like your sink, wardrobe, and household pet.

We’re exaggerating, of course, but the point is students believe they need to pack as much as possible before travelling. This isn’t true.

Making sure you have the essentials is key before considering anything ‘extra’ in your suitcases. Additionally, you need to consider the country you’re going to and what they expect in terms of clothing.

Before we jump into specific lists, here are a few things to consider from a broader perspective.

Is the Country Liberal or Conservative?

Something that can be left in the dark when you’re planning to study abroad is the politics of the country. Believe it or not, this can have a profound effect on what you should be packing.

Imagine if you are going to a more conservative country and want to see the sights. You’ll get a shock when they refuse to let you enter places because all your brought were tank tops and shorts.

By all means, wear what you want and what you feel comfortable in. Just be aware that some cultures have different expectations when it comes to clothing and you need to respect this.

What is the Climate Like?

Studying Abroad in Hot Weather

Obviously, if you’re planning on studying abroad, check the local climate. You don’t want to be stuck in a thick jumper in a hot country. Make sure you pack to align with the standard weather expected in the country you’re travelling to.

Of course, you need to make sure you have a range of items to cover the changing weather. However, make sure you bias the suitcase in favour of the more common climate.

Rural or Urban?

Will you be moving into a city or a small town in the country? The answer to this question will influence what you pack for your abroad adventure.

If you are moving into an urban area, you might not need to pack a lot of toiletries. If there are shops nearby, you will be able to purchase all you need when you’re there, freeing up your suitcase and reducing the amount of packing you’ll have to do.

Alternatively, if you’re moving to somewhere rural, such as a jungle in Vietnam, you might need to pack a lot more toiletries and stock up your suitcase for the next few months!

How Long Are You Going For?

Of course, an important factor to consider is the length of time you’ll be staying in your host country. A shorter stay will require less clothes and resources, whereas a longer stay will require more.

Length of stay also matters because of seasonal changes. If you’re only staying for the summer, you can pack lighter on coats and jackets. However, if you’re staying for multiple months, you’ll need a bigger suitcase with a change of clothes when the weather changes.

Even in predominantly hotter countries, they’ll still have colder periods depending on the month. Be aware of this when packing.

The Basics: A Travel Abroad Checklist

Packing to Study Abroad

If you’ve considered the above, you’ll probably have a decent idea of what you need to pack. At this point, you should have done some research into the culture of the country, the average climate, and decided on whether you can buy what you need upon arrival.

However, if you’re still sat scratching your head, here is a list of basic things you’ll need to pack for your abroad adventure.

Of course, this is just a basic list and you’ll need to modify this based on your own needs and wants.


  • 2 weeks’ worth of pants and socks
  • Standard t-shirts, jeans, shirts, dresses, and other everyday items
  • PJs
  • A waterproof coat and another jacket
  • Flip flops
  • One nice outfit (shoes and clothes)
  • Workout clothes
  • Swimming gear
  • 2 hoodies
  • Belts
  • Shorts
  • Cold weather gear (if needed)


  • Travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Sun cream
  • Feminine products
  • Contraceptives
  • Any medication or prescriptions
  • Deodorant
  • Nail clippers
  • Makeup
  • Brush
  • Razors and shaving material

Also remember that you can purchase anything you need from local stores when you arrive, so don’t get too hung up if you left your shampoo at home!


  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Laptop and charger
  • Power bank
  • Plug adapter
  • Camera

Avoid this From Your Travelling Abroad Checklist

Studying Abroad Packing Mistakes

As well as a checklist of things you should be taking with you when you travel abroad, there are also a selection of items you should avoid bringing with you.

Here’s a few things you should miss from your studying abroad packing list:

  • New clothes – although it will be tempting to buy a new wardrobe for your travels, it won’t be the brightest of ideas. This is particularly true when it comes to footwear. The last thing you want is to experience a blister in the first week. Go with your ol’ faithful clothing and avoid splashing out on anything new before jetting off.
  • Don’t waste time with clothes that don’t match – you should be using all the space you have wisely, so only pick clothes that can be paired with a wide range of items and layered with coats. Avoid taking that bright top or those statement shoes, as you’ll probably find you won’t wear them.
  • Straighteners and blow driers – depending on where you’re coming from, the voltage might be different in the plug sockets and you may end up frying your hair appliances. It is sometimes better to pick up a cheap one in your host country when you arrive.

You’re Ready to Go

There you have it, the travelling abroad checklist.

If you’re stressed or worried about travelling abroad, you needn’t be. Travelling abroad to study is normal and millions of students do it every year. So, if they can do it, so can you.

Just follow the above information and you’ll be packed and ready in no time.

Joe Graham

Joe Graham

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