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The Ultimate Study Abroad Packing List

You have a study abroad program coming soon and you’re getting everything ready, but there is one thing that is especially annoying to you: you don’t know what to pack and how much of everything should you bring. Here you will find your ultimate study abroad packing list to ensure you have everything you need while you study abroad!

Packing List unsplash

Of course, you cannot stuff your whole wardrobe inside your suitcase and you have to watch the weight of your luggage in order to avoid extra weight fees at the airport. When you ask others their opinion on what should you pack when studying abroad, most will say “It's common sense!”. If that didn’t help (probably didn’t) we compiled a list of all the things that you could possibly want/need when you study abroad, keeping in mind both guys and girls!

Oh, and there is one thing that you need to take into consideration before modifying this list, and that is the country’s climate. This is very logical since you won’t be bringing thick sweaters and gloves if you’re travelling to Spain or bringing flip flops, T-shirts and shorts if you’re travelling somewhere north where is cold, for example, Canada. So, let’s get started.


  • Underwear (two weeks’ worth)
  • Socks (two weeks’ worth plus a pair or two of wool socks)
  • Undershirts
  • Thermal underwear
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Short sleeve shirts
  • Sweatshirt/hoodie (2)
  • Sweaters
  • Jeans/ Khakis (2-3 pair)
  • Shorts
  • A belt or two
  • A skirt or two
  • A set of workout clothes
  • Pyjamas
  • Swimsuit
  • Coat/Jacket (I recommend at least 2 – one for cold weather, and one that is water resistant)
  • At least one nice outfit for formal occasions*
  • Flip flops/sandals of some sort (good if you’re going to a warm climate, but also good for hostel showers)
  • Sneakers/ dress shoes/ boots/ rain boots*
  • Cold weather gear for northern climates (i.e. gloves/ mittens, hat, scarf)


  • TSA Compliant Toiletry Kit / 1-quart zip-top Ziploc bags
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Plastic bottles for toiletries for use in your carry-on or while travelling (the maximum is usually 100ml)
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine products (one month’s worth)
  • Brush/comb
  • Razors / other shaving supplies
  • Contact lenses & solution
  • Glasses
  • Nail clippers
  • Makeup
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • 1 packet of tissues (you don’t want to be stuck in a bathroom when its run out)
  • Enough prescription medication for the length of your stay (you need to make sure you are allowed to bring them into the country and that you have documentation, either the prescription or a doctor’s note)


  • Pocket money in local currency (you decide the amount)
  • Purse/wallet
  • Important documents (passport, visa, itinerary, plane tickets, ISIC card, etc.)
  • Outlet adapter
  • Sunglasses / extra eyeglasses/contacts
  • Unlocked mobile phone (you can put any country & carrier's sim card into an unlocked mobile phone)
  • Laptop and charger
  • Camera with a memory card, cords and charger
  • Bath towels*
  • MP3 player / iPod (for long plane/train rides)
  • Backpack (for daily use and as your carry-on while travelling)
  • Water bottle / Nalgene bottle (since the Nalgene bottle is plastic, it’s a lot easier to get through airport security)

Can you add anything to this list? What is your study abroad packing list essentials?

Damian breen
Damian Breen Managing Director

Damian spent some 22 years living and working in various different countries in Africa and the Middle East, for several different leading international airlines, in senior country and regional manager roles.