The Complete Study Abroad Packing List

Do you know what should be in your study abroad packing list?

Although it seems like a trivial decision, it can be really difficult deciding what to pack when traveling to study abroad.

It is important to have a well-thought-out list so as not to end up only with the things you want but also the things you need.

Remember that you are traveling all the way to another country and you don’t have the luxury of traveling back home at whim to go get things you forgot to pack, so you need to make sure that you are adequately prepared for it. A study abroad checklist is good to have but if you are concerned about what exactly to pack, then you are in the right place.


The Official Study Abroad Packing List for Students

#Important Documents:

Documents are probably the most important things to pack and you should probably pack them first because it contains papers that will ensure your departure from your country, entry into the country where you would study and papers that would determine your study.

In order to be more organized and make sure you have everything, you should probably write down and list and check it as you pack each document you will need. The document you will need for the airport (including your passport, boarding pass, visa, medical clearance, identification) should be in your hand luggage.

Then, the other documents you would be presenting in your school can go into documents bag or a large envelope in your suitcase.

Money would also fall into this category because you would need to spend money on miscellaneous (in your country and your host country). So you should take a small amount of your local currency to spend in your country and money to exchange when you get to your destination). For the rest of your savings, you should inform your local bank about your travel so you can be properly advised on how to transfer the money.

#2: Clothing:

There are indeed basic clothes that you should pack; however, there are also a lot of factors to consider when making a decision on the kind of clothing to pack.

The climate and weather condition of the host country will determine if you are taking warm clothing or apparels for a warmer climate, especially if you would be spending more than a few months. You need to be ready for the climatic changes that you would be experiencing there.

Another factor you need to understand is whether the people in your host country are conservatives or liberals. The last thing you need is for your dressing to scream foreigner is a foreign country. The saying, “when in Rome, act like the Romans” is very true in this occasion. As a matter of fact, depending on the country, some form of dressing is punishable by law. So you need to put all these in mind when packing clothes.

You can also consider if your school is located in an urban area or a rural area so you can dress appropriately to suit the kind of environment you would be finding yourself in. For instance, if you would be in the country, fancy shoes and heels might not be as necessary as boots.

Having known the factors to consider in packing clothing, there are other basic things you should have among your clothing. They include underwear (enough), cardigan/sweater (heavy and light), jacket/coat (for colder climates), swimsuit (warmer climate and liberal environment), formal clothing (suit and dress suit for females), casual dresses and dinner gowns (females), jeans, shorts, skirts for female, tank tops, pyjamas, heels, athletic and fashion sneakers, flip-flops, workout clothes, sandals, flat shoes, comfortable shoes, socks and gloves, t-shirts, shirts, hats or scarf, and belts.

#3: Toiletries:

Taking certain toiletries with you is very important so you don’t spend the time you need to settle in having to run to the stores and so you don’t even spend money unnecessarily. You need tissues, shampoo/ conditioner, soap, detergent, deodorant, feminine products – sanitary towels/pads or tampons (three months), toothbrush/ toothpaste, brush/ comb, hair ties, headband, contact lenses and solution, razors/other shaving supplies, glasses, sunglasses and sunshades, nail clippers, hand sanitizer, face wipes and wash, and makeup.

#4: Gadgets:

There are certain electrical gadgets you should not bother packing and it might be better to buy over at the host country because of the differences in the electrical voltage. For instance, hair dryer and hair straightener would be advisable to be bought in the host country. Other gadgets you should pack include; laptop and laptop case, cell phone (you will have to buy an international phone or SIM card when you arrive at your destination), iPod, camera and camera case, USB cord and cable, chargers (for your laptop, phone, camera), flash drive or hard drive, and outlet adapters (2-3)

#5: Medications:

Makes sure you take over-the-counter medications because you might not be able to get those drugs in your host country. Also, visit the embassy of the country to be sure the medicine is not illegal in that country before getting it. Some of the medications that would come in handy include; drugs for menstrual cramps (if you are female and have them), pain reliever, allergy medicine, cold and flu medicine, contraceptives, and protection, eye drops, Motion sickness medicine, adhesive bandages, and vitamins.

#6: Supplies:

Other supplies you will need consist of linens, bed sheets, towels, stain remover pen, travel sheet, sleep sack, travel pillow, some cloth hangers, pegs, portable umbrella, and anti-wrinkle spray

#7: Miscellaneous Items: Miscellaneous items you should definitely have with you include; snacks, backpack, headphones, e-reader, water-proof watch, bottled water (in your hand luggage), travel journals and pens, some educational materials, travel wallet, gift for host family (if any), travel guide, map, language dictionary (you can get this at the host country).


  1. You do not need to pack new clothes. There is a possibility you will buy some more clothes when you get to your destination.
  2. Keep the “what if”. It is not necessary or at least, take at least one or two and concentrate on the essentials. Also, don’t pack clothes that you can’t easily match with other things. Leave the color-sensitive pair of pants at home and take instead a black or brown pair of pants that can work with almost all colors of shirts.
  3. You will be traveling outside of the country, you don’t want to risk forgetting something important, therefore start packing a few days before you have to leave, so you don’t have to do it hurriedly.
  4. Definitely, have a written down list consisting of everything you will need. Make sure the list is ready for a few weeks or at least a week before because you might need to go shopping for some of them but it will also keep you organized.


There you have it, a complete study abroad packing list for you. Tell us your experience, what do you pack when you want to study abroad.


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