Bring Less! How You Need to Pack to Study Abroad

Yahoo TravelMay 15, 2014

It’s time to start thinking about what you will be taking with you for your upcoming adventure abroad. It’s tempting, but trust me, you don’t need your entire closet for a three-month trip. 

Spending extended periods abroad (London for three months, China for 6 months, and in France for 5 weeks) has taught me a little something about packing light. Here is what you need to do:

Step 1: Plan Ahead

Call your airline and find out how many bags you can take with you without getting charged ridiculous fees. Chances are, you will be allowed to check in one bag.

Also, Amazon International is your very best friend in this type of situation. If you have a delivery address where you are going, you can buy your basics like towels and linens online instead of taking up valuable packing space. 

Step 2: Toiletries

You only need enough toiletries for the first few days, at least until you can get to a local shop. This includes a toothbrush, your hair brush, deodorant, and other essentials you can’t go a few days without. The rest of the items, including shampoo, conditioner and body lotions, you can get when you’re already there.

Step 3: Electrical Appliances

The first thing you need to do is find out what the electrical current is where you are going. If the current is different than where you are coming from, you will be better off getting new appliances there. 

If you have any doubts regarding electrical appliances abroad, watch my video on electrical conversions:

Step 4: Medications

If you take any prescription medication, make sure to take it with you and to take enough supply to last you your entire trip.

Other medications, such as ibuprofen, cold medicine and vitamins, you can find wherever you are going. If there is anything you cannot live without, TAKE IT WITH YOU!

Step 5: Clothes

The first rule when it comes to packing clothes is that you definitely need a lot less than you think! Even in our day-to-day lives, we only use a small percentage of what is actually in our closets. Apply the same concept when packing.

You want to take enough clothes to last you two-three weeks total. Remember: you are going to be doing laundry (hopefully)! 

For more detailed information on how to pack for long trips, check out my video:

Otherwise, here is a general packing list if you are going to go abroad at a multi-seasonal place.

For Summer:

- T- shirts

- Tank Tops

- Sundresses

- Skirt/shorts

- Bathing Suit

For Fall:

- Two to three good sweaters (sweaters are bulky! To pack these, use compression bags)

- Long sleeved shirts

- Button ups

- One multi purpose jacket

- Pants (Go lighter or heavier depending on where you are going. Preferably, choose pants that can be used for both day and night!) 

For Shoes:

Do not over do it! Girls, this goes for you.

Keep in mind that you will be walking a lot during your time abroad, so your day-to-day shoes should be comfy. Booties are always a great choice for walking around and a pair of flats are great for more relaxed occasions.

If you are going to a winter destination, take your heavy boots with you on the plane! This will save you on a ton of space and weight. The same goes for your winter coat.

No matter where you are going, or for how long, the golden rule to packing is: STAY AWAY FROM “WHAT IFs”! Odds are, these “what if” items will come back with you untouched.