Packing Tips

  • he most important thing to remember: DO NOT OVERPACK! Lugging big, heavy bags through airports, train stations, metros and city streets is exhausting, inconvenient, and embarrassing. Also, it can be costly if you have to pay airline fees for checked bags, or call a taxi every time you need to move your luggage. A good rule of thumb: pack only that which you think you will need…and then remove half of it.
  • Be sure to consult the website of your specific airline to find out the size and weight limitations of your luggage on international flights.
  • Bring a carry-on bag that can double as an overnight bag for trips you may take during your time abroad. One that you won’t mind toting around all day.
  • In your carry-on bag, you should pack:
    • Your passport – you will need to present it several times when you depart and disembark. Make sure it is with you at all times.
    • Any prescription medication you require. They should be in the original containers with the pharmacy label clearly stating your name and the doctor’s name. Take enough for your entire time abroad!
    • Valuable items (electronic equipment, jewelry, etc.)
    • Arrival instructions and contact information for your program, and important phone numbers, names, and addresses of people you may need to contact while abroad.
    • A change of clothes and other important items (in case your checked luggage is lost!)
  • Think about how you deal with stress and pack things that will help you de-stress (music, yoga clothes, journal, books, etc.)
  • Do research on what is culturally appropriate in the place where you will be studying and pack accordingly. Bring one nice outfit for receptions, interviews, etc.
  • Don’t overstock on toiletries since most things are readily available overseas. Pack liquids separately in a plastic bag to avoid leakage.
  • Bring extra passport photos in case you lose your passport while abroad. Make 2 photocopies of the ID page of your passport; pack one in your suitcase and leave one with your family.
  • Be sure to bring a credit/debit card. Have a toll-free number for credit card replacement handy in case your card is stolen while abroad. If you purchase travelers checks, be sure to list the numbers of checks and pack them separately. Ask your program or other students who have been on your program about the best way to bring funds to your host country.
    • Bring about $100 worth of local currency to have on-hand when you arrive.
    • Tell your bank that you will be abroad, and discuss usage fees
  • Check out the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website for up-to-date travel regulations.