Study Abroad Packing List

August 7, 2017

study abroad packing list

Anybody who is new to studying abroad has a very bittersweet feeling about the upcoming adventure. On one hand, you realize that you are about to have the experience of a lifetime. On the other hand, you about to leave behind your friends and family and might even worry about all of the things that you need to bring with you. Anybody looking for a study abroad packing list should be able to find all of the information they need here.

Don’t worry. You aren’t the first one to walk down this path, and I am here to help you. When I took my first trip studying abroad it helped me realize that traveling around the world is a passion of mine, and sparked a lifestyle that continues to this day. After traveling all around the world, you start to get a general idea of all of the things you need to have with you, and most importantly, what you don’t need to bring with you.

Packing List for Study Abroad

If you want a list with all the study abroad packing items and study abroad essentials that you will need in 2017, here is a list of everything that you may want for your international trip. Remember that you are about to do much more than study. You will also have a fulfilling life that you will want to carry out. As a result, you might not consider all of these items necessary, but having them all makes a big difference.

1.     One Backpack

I recommend getting the Tavik Sett Backpack. This design is awesome since it can easily carry everything you will need if you are a careful packer. However, I highly suggest getting a small foldable backpack like this one that can be used for day trips and that folds and fits inside your larger backpack.

2.     Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are one of mankind’s greatest inventions for traveling. Do NOT leave home without getting a set of these. You will thank yourself later when you have more space and can organize your things easily.

3.     A Nice Laptop

If you are studying abroad you don’t want to settle for anything less than the best computer. Apple is very reliable and will easily last your entire time studying abroad. My personal favorite is the Apple MacBook Pro with 512 GB of hard drive space. In any case, you simply DO NOT want to leave a nice laptop out of your study abroad packing list.

4.     Camera and Tripod

The last thing you want to do is leave home without a nice camera for taking pictures. Unless you have a photographic memory and simply don’t care to share your experiences, consider getting a nice Sony Cyber-Shot Camera and JOBY GorillaPod. Both of these will help produce stunning pictures and videos with the highest quality.

5.     Unlocked iPhone

Unless you already have a phone that is unlocked, it is great to have a device that you can put a local SIM card into. An unlocked iPhone is the perfect device for traveling around the world since it is compatible with almost every country. The Unlocked iPhone is an all-in-one device and is the perfect travel companion!

6.     Headphones

The music you listen to will only sound as good as your headphones. That is why you should go hard or go home when you decide which headphones to purchase. My personal favorites are the Bose SoundSport In-Ear Headphones, which are very easy to carry around and are very high-quality.

7.     Travel Power Strip

One thing you will likely forget about before leaving is having enough outlet space to be able to plug in all of your electronics at once. However, you don’t want a power strip that takes up too much space. This is why I highly recommend the NTONPOWER Portable Travel Power Strip which can power three USB and two regular outlet devices at the same time.

8.     Cable Organizer

While you are traveling you will more than likely have plenty of cords to store, and a limited amount of packing space. If you want to ensure that you keep all your cords organized, safe and secure, consider getting a product like the BAGSMART Travel Universal Cable Organizer. This is great for keeping your phone, chargers, and cords all in one spot.

9.     Travel Adapter

Anybody traveling abroad will likely need to adjust to using a different type of outlet than the ones we find in the USA. Getting a small universal design like the Universal World Wide Travel Plug Adapter will ensure that you can plug in your power strip anywhere.

10.  Kindle E-Reader

If you are studying abroad and don’t want to spend the majority of your free time going out and partying, you might also consider getting a device that will allow you to read in your native language. This is where a Kindle E-Reader will come in handy. Trust me, you do not want to rely on the local bookstore having a good book in English in the middle of a foreign country.

11.  Five T-Shirts

You don’t need to have that much clothes with you when you leave home since they will naturally get worn out. You will probably also buy local products while you are overseas. Consider getting a nice 5-Pack of T-Shirts, or simply pick out your favorite ones and leave the rest behind.

12.  Two Sweaters

Having t-shirts for temperate weather is nice, but you will also want to bring a couple sweaters that will assist in moderately cold weather. Hanes makes some pretty affordable sweatshirts that come in a variety of sizes and colors. However, you might already have your own to bring.

13.  One Cold Weather Jacket

Do not bring more than one cold weather jacket with you. If you are going to a place with a warm climate you will almost never wear it, and it will sit around in your backpack and take up space and add weight. Although if you are traveling out to a place like Siberia you should do the exact opposite and bring plenty of cold weather gear.

14.  One Pair of Pants

Normally I only have one pair of 7 For All Mankind Pants which I carry around with me and keep clean. I like visiting places with warm weather so this is always enough for me. Cold weather climates obviously require more pants.

15.  One Week of Underwear

Under Armour Boxerjocks will last a long time and are very easy to keep clean. If you are about to embark on a long overseas trip you will probably want to bring plenty, but this is clearly one of the study abroad essentials. If you leave underwear out of your study abroad packing list you might have to spend extra money when you get to your destination just for clothing.

16.  Five Pairs of Socks

Socks are one of those types of clothing that wear down quickly and need to be replaced. If you want to cut back on space, simply purchase a 5-Pack of Hanes Socks and then buy some local socks later on when you arrive at your new temporary home. No study abroad packing list would be complete with socks to keep your feet safe.

17. Everyday Casual Shoes

Everybody has their own style of shoes that they prefer. Mine is the Sperry Top-Sider. The reason for this is simply because they go with every item of clothing that I have. They are reasonably-priced and long-lasting. You might also want to bring a pair of gym shoes like the Nike Men’s Free Rn Cmtr Running Shoe, and a pair of shoes for going out, like the Cole Haan Men’s Briscoe Wing Ox Oxford Shoes. In the end, shoes are one of the most important things on any study abroad packing list.

18. TSA Compliant Toiletry Kit

Going on airplanes out of the USA will mean that you have to be TSA compliant. A good way to bring all of the hygiene products you need without worrying about having anything confiscated is to simply bring a TSA Compliant Toiletry Bag. These are great for saving space in your bag and giving you all the toiletry products that you need in one small space.

19. One Towel

Towels can take up a lot of space, especially if you want one big enough for taking a shower. I like using the Youphoria Sport Microfiber Travel Towel because it is both small and highly absorbent, allowing it to be used for much more than taking showers. Some people might consider leaving a towel out of their study abroad packing list since they can be large, but a small travel towel like this one is easy to carry around.

20. Folding Travel Toothbrush and Toothpaste

There are many different creative ways to keep your toothbrush safe in your travel bag. However, ever since somebody came up with the Travel Folding Soft Toothbrush, there hasn’t been a better option for keeping your toothbrush safe on the go. Of course, you will also want to bring some toothpaste to use it with. Unless you want to buy a toothbrush at your destination, do not leave this off of your study abroad packing list.

Study Abroad Packing List: Summary

You are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. In the end, you are the one who knows best about the things you need and what you don’t need. Although this study abroad packing list was prepared with personal experience in mind, everybody has their own way of being, and should not use this list religiously. As science class has once taught us all, the most important things in life are food, water, and shelter. If these things are taken care of, the rest the study abroad packing items listed here are not as important.

If you want more ideas on what to bring with you while studying abroad, check out my Best Travel Gear 2017 post.

Expat Life in Korea

Here is me with some friends while I was studying abroad in Korea for my MBA.


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