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How to Pack for Study Abroad in 4 Easy Steps

by Matea Manterola
Packing tips for study abroad | AIFS Study Abroad

When beginning to prepare for your study abroad journey, packing may come as one of the most stressful parts. How are you supposed to fit everything you need in a suitcase? Personally, I remember panicking how to pack for study abroad and how I was going to fit everything I needed.

It’s important to remember that the clothes on your body or the shoes you wear aren’t as important as the experiences and memories you are about to make. After grounding yourself and maintaining perspective, you can get started.

Here are some stress-free tips on how to pack for your study abroad experience:

Step 1: Clothes

Pack solid and neutral color clothing.

These items will be your basics and you can wear them multiple times a week with different accessories to make it look like a completely new outfit. For example, if you pack a solid black shirt, one day you can wear it with a necklace, then the next day you can wear a scarf with it, and the next pair it with a sweater or jacket. Continue this process with different accessories and that single black shirt has easily made multiple outfits.

Pack basics and items can be dressed up or down.

Examples of this are a pair of black jeans that can be worn in the day time with a t-shirt, and at night can be worn with a nice sweater or top for a more formal occasion. Another example is a basic sweater or button-up shirt that can be worn very casually or at a nicer event.

Pack what you feel the most comfortable and confident in.

When you are in a new place that is very different and far from your comfort zone, the last thing you want is to feel utterly uncomfortable in what you are wearing. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing an item at home, you most likely will not feel comfortable wearing it abroad, so don’t waste suitcase space on it!

Step 2: Toiletries

My next packing tip is about what toiletries to pack. Toiletries take up a lot of space and are very heavy, and the weight is what you want to avoid when packing.

Don’t waste suitcase space on shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, etc. All of these items can be purchased when you arrive in your new city. These products will likely be available in most cities and you will be able to find recognizable brands, so you do not need to worry about putting them in your suitcase. I recommend only packing the products that are really specific, doctor prescribed, or that you know cannot be purchased easily.

Step 3: The Sentimental

Lastly, make sure to pack a few items that are special to you and that remind you of home. For example, during my study abroad experience I had a picture of my family that I packed to put next to my bed. Doing this may help bring you happiness and — if it is an item that you typically see at home every day — it may help keep you feeling like you are in a routine.

Step 4: Leave Extra Room

As you are packing for your journey, make sure to leave some room for items to purchase while abroad. It’s quite possible that you will return home with lots of new goodies.

I hope this helped you with how to pack for study abroad! Safe travels!

Packing tips for study abroad | AIFS Study Abroad
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