Packing for your Study Abroad Program

“What to take” or “what not to take” on a trip can become a major dilemma. Often one may become quite overwhelmed by the desire to pack everything, believing that it may be needed sometime in the future. The fact of the matter is usually people tend to over-pack, only to discover later that half of the items were never used during the trip. It is extremely inconvenient to carry and transport heavy luggage. Listed below are some tips that might help you pack in a more efficient manner.

  • Pack your bags at least two weeks prior to your departure. This way you will be less inclined to forget items and will have time to purchase those last minute necessities.
  • Make a list of essential items and clothing that you might need.
  • Sort the various items you intend to bring into different piles. By doing this you can more easily judge how much you are bringing and also how best to pack.
  • Bring clothes and items that may be easily replaced. Leave expensive jewelry and family heirlooms at home.
  • Take clothes that you can wear at least twice without having to wash them.
  • Five sets of clothes should be enough for any length of time – be sure that these clothes “mix and match.”
  • Take footwear (dress shoes, walking/tennis shoes, slippers) that are comfortable; the shoes should go with all of your clothes.
  • If you are packing for cold weather, carry or wear your heavy coat and sweater onto the airplane. They take too much space in your suitcase.
  • Inevitably, when you pack your suitcase there will be some gaps in between your clothes. Roll your T-shirts, jeans and undergarments and stuff them into this space.
  • This will prevent your outer clothes from shifting and you will get the most use from the least amount of space.
  • Any breakable items should be placed in plastic bags and set between layers of clothing.
  • When you have packed your suitcase(s), carry it (them) around the block once. When you have circled the block, if you feel that your arms are tired or sore, this should tell you that you have packed too much in your suitcase. This is the time you should reconsider what you “really” need to bring. Reduce what you have packed by at least a third. You will have to carry your own baggage so make sure you can carry what you bring. Remember you can always buy necessary items abroad.

Read up on these 24 helpful tips and suggestions on packing for more inspiration!


  • Pack your own luggage.
  • Check with the airlines regarding size and weight limits.
  • Do not leave your luggage unattended at any time.
  • Do not transport luggage or packages for anyone.
  • The Transportation Security Administration has guidelines listing which items can and cannot be taken in air travel.