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Traveling to Study Abroad? Here is your Ultimate Packing Guide

Sep 15, 2023

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Settling in a new country seems daunting but packing for your study abroad trip need not be as difficult as it seems. In this travel checklist guide, we'll go over what you need to pack for studying abroad, including the necessities to take and the outfits to include. No matter where your abroad education adventure takes you, it should be a terrific starting place.

Before you start your study abroad journey, it is crucial to buy the right type of luggage. Make sure your luggage is easily adaptable, portable, and large enough to accommodate everything you need for your stay abroad. The ideal option is a bag with four wheels since it takes the weight off your wrist while traveling. If you decide to carry a rucksack, then consider one with wheels. Students also need to check the permissible weight limit in the flight so that they don't end up overpacking and paying hefty fees at the airport. 

What are the Essentials to Pack?

You definitely don't want to forget any of the following essentials. In fact, you could pack the items on this essentials list in a carry-on bag rather than in your check-in luggage to avoid any mishap in case the airlines misplace your luggage during your journey. 

1. Passport and visa

You will need to carry a valid passport with you if you're leaving your home country to pursue your education abroad. You must apply for a visa in advance for the majority of countries that offer abroad programmes. So, do so before you even begin packing.

Make copies of your passport and visa. Make sure to keep photocopies and the originals in different bags. You can also keep their e-copies in an online storage folder or on a USB or hard drive. If the originals are ever lost or stolen, then this will make updating both the passport and the visa at the country consulate far easier.

2. Important documents

If you are wondering what to pack to study abroad, then your passport is not the only identity document you'll need to bring.Other documents over and above your passport and visa you should keep in your cabin luggage are:

  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • Background check report, as necessary
  • International and local driver's licence
  • A letter of acceptance from the university or proof of an academic programme
  • House contract where you will be living 
  • Travel authorisation (if needed)
  • Proof of health and travel insurance
  • E-mail or phone numbers for the embassy or consulate
  • A compilation of emergency numbers
  • Health documents, including copies of medical records and immunisation records
  • Information about your travel plans, including airline tickets and lodging (if applicable)
  • Bank statements (if necessary to provide evidence of funds)

To ensure their safety in the event of misplacing, you should also make photocopies of these documents and save them online. Put your copies in different sections of your luggage, much like you would your passport, but make sure you store them in a neat, accessible location.

3. First-aid kit and medications

Preparing for any emergency during your study abroad programme is always a good idea. Compile a simple first-aid kit with helpful medical supplies that will enable you to take care of yourself. 

What you pack in your first-aid kit should be based on what you'll need there, the activities you'll be doing there, and your medical requirements. The basic things you can pack are crepe bandages, band-aids, antiseptic solution, medications for fever or food allergies, and any other medications you may need.

4. Local currency

Today, a U.S. dollar or a credit/debit card is usually the best way to access international funds, although you may still want to bring some foreign currency or traveller's checks with you. Keep some foreign currency in your wallet at all times if you want to eat at the market nearby in the host country or in an environment where cards are not accepted. You can visit a kiosk at the airport or your neighborhood bank at home to exchange currencies.

5. Power adapters/converters

For your phone, computer, or e-reader, you'll probably need a few chargers on your trip. You will require a converter and adapter for that. Changing the plug's design might not be sufficient to make your charger work because not all countries use the same power voltage. In fact, doing so could be harmful and short out the gadget. 

To ensure you have the appropriate adapters for all of your devices, be careful to research the voltage and plug types used in the country you're visiting. It is also a good idea to bring a reliable power bank or a portable solar charger with you in case there is a blackout where you will be studying abroad.

What clothing items to pack in your check- in luggage?

 1. Consider the season of the place

Consider wearing light, breathable fabrics if the host country has a warm environment. This will be your key to staying cool and at ease while you are studying. Compared to packing light for summer or warmer destinations, it is more challenging to do so when studying abroad at a place with a cooler environment.

To be warm, you'll need more layers and accessories. It is a good idea to carry a lightweight jacket that fits the average temperature during the winter semester or a coat that falls just above the knees to protect your legs from strong winds. You will also need to carry your shoes accordingly.

2. Mix and match clothing.

Reduce the amount of clothing you bring by packing adaptable clothing on your study abroad packing checklist that you can mix and match every day: 

  • Solid and/or neutral-coloured shirts, blouses, trousers, and shoes, are quite easy to pair. Additionally, clothing with few designs is a fantastic addition. You can put them on more frequently without bringing attention to your smaller wardrobe.
  • If you intend to do a lot of walking in any environment or indulge in any physical activity like hiking, then high quality walking shoes are necessary.
  • Reversible swimsuits are a must-have if you are going for abroad education in a warmer area.

3. Respecting the local culture

Even though it's totally acceptable not to be acquainted with the cultural customs of different countries, ignorance can lead to rude actions like wearing the wrong garments. Unintentional confrontation resulting from your appearance might negatively impact you and the concerned locals.

It is best to bring clothing that respects the local dress culture. Do your homework and inquire with your college coordinator about all acceptable and modest dress standards.

4. Traditional wear for festivals 

Nowadays most universities celebrate the key festivals of their students belonging to different countries. This is a way for students to feel less homesick, display their culture and bond with their classmates. It may not be easy for you to find traditional wear while you are abroad so you can consider carrying one set of traditional clothes so that you can showcase your culture and celebrate such festivities on campus with gusto. 


You are now prepared to pack for your study abroad trip. Just plan carefully for what you'll take and what you'll leave behind when you get back. Pack a couple of days before leaving for your trip and donate or throw out everything that won't be necessary when you are returning back to your home country. Don't worry if you forget to pack something because you'll probably be able to find the bare necessities abroad. If not, you can locate equivalent alternatives. 

To get more help on essentials to pack for studying abroad and anything related to your programme, contact KC Overseas, one of the top overseas education consultants in India.

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