What Not To Pack When Heading Off To Study Abroad

If you’re anything like me, you bring way more on trips and vacations than you need to and end up wearing or using (maybe) half it. Packing for studying abroad can exacerbate the over packing tendency because so much is unknown. If that’s you – you’re in the right place! This article will help you to decipher between what you do and do not need to bring on study abroad.

To begin, think about and research the climate of where you’re going – will it be summer, fall or winter, or will you experience all of the seasons? This is important for a couple of reasons:

  1. You’ll be best prepared, and
  2. It will dictate the amount of what you can bring (winter clothes are bulkier than summer clothes).

Next, I find it helpful to get out everything I want to bring for a visualisation, then go through it all and put back at least half of the items. I tend to keep basic clothing items that are pretty versatile and I can create a variety of outfits with, rather than the really unique items.

I also limit myself to only a few pairs of shoes: joggers, flip-flops and a nicer pair of sandals. By keeping to the basics and practical items (such as a rain jacket, etc.), you’ll have more room for souvenirs, and there will always be cheap places to buy things that you may have forgotten.

I bought two pairs of slip-on shoes for A$10 at Payless in Australia for my semester abroad, which I wore so much I had to throw them away by the end! Op-shopping is a great way to save money both prior to leaving and while abroad. Packing with this mindset has also helped me get the most wear and use out of my clothes! Laundry facilities are usually easily available, and if not, make friends with people who have them.

In terms of toiletries, first aid and other miscellaneous items, unless you have certain needs and products that you really need, wait to buy them once you arrive. I typically follow the rule of packing the basics in my carry-on in case of an extra-long layover and just enough to get me through the first couple of days.

There are usually cheap dollar-stores in each country where you can buy soap, sunscreen, loofas and even towels. Not packing your toiletries also gives you less weight and room in your checked baggage! Another tip for things such as make-up and toiletries is to do your research on how much the ones you use are in your destination country.

If they are really expensive and you’re set on maintaining the same products, it may be worth it to you to bring them yourself. This is totally an individual preference and up to you!

Another important consideration is electronics and voltage differences – do your research here! This is important for laptops, phones and even devices that allow you to blow-dry, straighten or cut your own hair. Laptops and phone are usually safe and easy enough to buy adapters for. For items such as straighteners and clippers, either go without or find cheap options while abroad to keep yourself from accidently ruining your nice ones!

Overall, it’s important to remember that most of what you take abroad must come back, too! Keeping that in mind usually helps me keep my packing within reason, so I’m able to bring back gifts for myself, friends and family. And finally, the most important things to pack are a good attitude and an open mind for the experiences yet to come!

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