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The Ultimate Study Abroad Packing List

The Ultimate Study Abroad Packing List

Leaving to study abroad in a month and overwhelmed what to bring? See our list below for what to bring for your time abroad. 



  • Important documentations + ID
    • Passport, Driver License, Health Card
    • Student card (useful for discounted admissions) 
    • Credit Cards, Debit Cards - read about my favourite 'no foreign transaction fee' credit card here 
    • Boarding passes
    • Other documents
  • Local currency
  • Glasses/contacts - bring extras!! 


  • Travel backpack - I bought a 45L from Mountain Equip Coop - see options here
    • Tip: Iron/sew country flag to let other travellers know where you're from
  • 1-2 additional suitcases 
  • Daypack - for day excursions 
  • Locks
  • Packing cubes (see below for packing tips & tricks) 


  • Bed sheet + pillowcase - most hostels/ dorms will have but some may charge you for them 
  • Towel x 2
    • Large thin microfiber towel for on-the go travel (quick drying) 
    • Face towel 
  • Wash bag
  • Extension cord/Power strip - there are never enough outlets in dorms
  • Notebooks/journal, pens, pencil


  • Adapter
  • Electronics + charger 
    • Cell phone
    • Laptop/ iPad
    • Camera + memory card
    • GoPro + memory card
    • Kindle
    • Earphones 
  • External hard drive + flash drive
  • Portable charger - don't know what I would have done without this


  • TSA compliant toiletry kit for your carry on bag
  • Face: baby wipes, makeup remover, moisturizer, sunscreen
  • Eyes: Contact lenses, contact case, solution, eye drops - bring extra! 
  • Teeth: Toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, mouth wash
  • Body: Body wash, deodorant, sunscreen, razors/other shaving supplies
  • Hair:
    • Shampoo + conditioner + dry shampoo
    • Tools: Brush/comb, curling iron/straightener (make sure it works with the country ou are going to)
    • Bobby pins, hair bands 
  • Make up products + perfume
  • Nails: nail polish, nail file, nail remover
  • Other: cotton pads, q-tips, nail clippers, tweezers, small mirror, feminine hygiene products
  • Vaseline or coconut oil - multi-purpose for removing makeup or moisturizing
  • First Aid Kit
    • Band Aids, polysporin/ aloe vera for cuts
    • Thermometer
    • OTC medicine: Advil, Tylenol, Neocitrin, cough drops, BCP
    • Enough prescription drugs for the length of your stay (make sure you are allowed to bring them into the country and you have prescription/doctor's note) 


  • Portable luggage scale
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Small packs of kleenex
  • Stain remover
  • Ear plugs - for hostels/planes if you're a light sleeper
  • Umbrella
  • Playing cards
  • Sewing kit

APPAREL (winter + summer months) 

Bring clothes that's easy to layer for various climates, do not need to be ironed and can be mixed/matched (to avoid overpacking)! Make sure you check the weather of the country you're traveling to and any norms and don't bring anything you don't want to get ruined. 

  • General outfits:
    • Comfy but classy travel attire
    • Going out outfit with nice shoes 
      • For guys, bring dress shoes - some clubs won't let you in with sneakers
    • Business-appropriate attire for any presentations or professional events
  • Outerwear:
    • Sweaters
    • Winter jacket 
    • Rain jacket
  • Tops
    • Tank tops
    • T-Shirt
    • Long sleeve + short sleeve shirts 
  • Bottoms:
    • Pants/jeans
    • Shorts
    • Skirts
    • Leggings + Sweats
  • Dresses
  • Undergarments - enough for two weeks 
    • Underwear
    • Socks (plus a pair or two of wool socks) 
    • Tights
    • Bra + bralettes 
  • Shoes: 
    • Flip flops (for shower)
    • Sandals 
    • Formal shoes (heels, dress shoes) 
    • Running shoes 
    • Waterproof shoes (rainboots, etc) 
  • Accessories:
    • Sunglasses
    • Scarves
    • Hats
    • Gloves
    • Jewelry
    • Belts
    • Bags/purses
  • Other: 
    • Swimming clothes
    • Pajamas
    • Workout clothes
    • Wash bag for undergarments/swimwear 


  • Roll clothes to save room + pack in packing cubes to further help save space
  • Put tape over tops of containers with liquids
  • Bring plastic bags and ziplock bags
  • Bring a large scarf - will often double as a blanket


Carolyn Chen has done two backpacking trips around Europe and spent six months studying abroad in Italy. She loves finding the most beautiful scenery, hidden gems and indulging in great food. Find more posts by Carolyn here.

Follow her adventures on Instagram: @carolynjxchen

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Study Abroad - General Tips & Tricks

Study Abroad - General Tips & Tricks