Packing List for Going Abroad

The Study Abroad Packing List

I know students want a detailed list of what to pack when you study abroad, and we all get annoyed when someone says “its common sense”. Maybe you're creating a Europe packing list or Southeast Asia packing list. So, I’ve put together everything I thought you could possibly want or need when you study or travel abroad, keeping in mind both guys and girls. I wouldn’t expect you to pack everything I’ve listed, so use your own discretion. If you’re wondering how you’re going to fit your life into two suitcases, check out my appropriately titled post, “How To Fit Your Life Into Two Suitcases“. Feel free to print out both posts and use them as your complete guide and study abroad checklist on how to pack when you study abroad. As for now, here is my version of the ultimate study abroad packing list!

What to Pack For Study Abroad

Clothing Checklist for Study Abroad:

  • Underwear (two weeks’ worth)
  • Socks (two weeks’ worth plus a pair or two of wool socks)
  • Undershirts
  • Thermal underwear
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Short sleeve shirts
  • Sweatshirt/ hoodie (2-3)
  • Sweaters
  • Jeans/ Khakis (2-3 pair)
  • Shorts
  • A belt or two
  • Skirts (for the girls)
  • A set or two of workout clothes
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit (for those going to warmer climates)
  • Coat/Jacket (I recommend at least 2 – one for cold weather, and one that is water resistant)
  • At least one nice outfit for formal occasions*
  • Flip flops/ sandals of some sort (good if you’re going to a warm climate, but also good for hostel showers)
  • Sneakers/ dress shoes/ boots/ rain boots*
  • Cold weather gear (i.e. gloves/ mittens, hat, scarf)

 Toiletries Checklist for Study Abroad*:

  • TSA Compliant Toiletry Kit /1-quart zip-top Ziploc bags
  • Shampoo/ conditioner
  • Toothbrush/ toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine products (one month’s worth)
  • Brush/ comb
  • Razors/ other shaving supplies
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Glasses
  • Nail clippers
  • Makeup
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Tissues/ toilet paper (you don’t want to be stuck in a bathroom when its run out)
  • Medications, if any

Checklist for Studying Abroad Extras:

  • $300 in local currency
  • Purse/ wallet
  • Important documents (passport, visa, itinerary, plane tickets, ISIC card, etc.)
  • Outlet adapter
  • Sunglasses/ extra eye glasses/ contacts
  • Cell phone (you probably won’t be able to use it in your host country, but it’s invaluable if you’re stuck in domestic airports and need to contact someone for delayed flights, etc.)
  • Laptop and charger (don’t forget, you’ll need an outlet adapter for the plug on your charger to work)
  • Camera w/cords and charger
  • Sheets/ bed linens*
  • Bath towels*
  • Enough prescription drugs for the length of your stay (You need to make sure you are allowed to bring them into the country and that you have documentation, either the prescription or a doctor’s note)
  • MP3 Player/ iPod (for long plane/train rides)
  • Sleep sack/ sleeping bag (most hostels have sheets, however, some do not, some will charge you for them, and for those people that don’t like sleeping in unfamiliar sheets, I recommend a Cocoon Travel Sheet.)
  • Journal/ diary (you’ll be taking plenty of pictures on your travels, but it’s always nice to have something to write in. Of course I recommend writing a blog, but you may not always have your laptop with you.)
  • Backpack (for daily use and as your carry while traveling)
  • Plastic bottles for toiletries for use in your carry-on or while traveling (the maximum is usually 100ml)
  • Water bottle/ Nalgene bottle (since the Nalgene bottle is plastic, it’s a lot easier to get through airport security)
  • A few hangers

*I have a method for packing these items, which you should include on your study abroad checklist; check out that post, “How To Fit Your Life Into Two Suitcases“.