You may be wondering how to maximize your wardrobe with limited packing space or ensure you don’t forget anything essential (so you don’t end up paying to replace it or ship it). Thankfully, there are preparations you can make to ease your worries and steps that make getting ready for your upcoming international adventure feel less stressful.
Here are 7 student travel packing tips for anyone getting ready to study abroad, as explained by Amy Wiener, Courtesy: Fareportal.
Remember the Right Documents
There is no getting around the fact that you will need to have the proper documentation with you as you embark on your study abroad journey. This means that you will need a passport for international travel. Do not underestimate how long it will take you to receive your passport once you apply. Also, some countries will require that you have a visa. This is why it is a good idea to check all of the restrictions and rules of your host country well in advance. It is also a good idea to have an International Student Card (ISC), giving you access to a host of discounts and medical benefits. Lastly, you will probably need an International Certificate of Vaccine (ICV) to prove that you are up to date on your immunizations. Be sure to bring these important documents with you in your carry-on, and not in your packed luggage.
Bring Clothes You Can Mix and Match
The best way to avoid overpacking is to bring clothing items that can all work together. Sticking to one basic color palette with a few accent pieces will make it easier to get more versatility out of your wardrobe. This will make it easier to stretch your items to work with a variety of different outfits. Bringing items that you can layer is also helpful. For example, pack a cardigan in a basic color that can work as a coverup in museums with dress codes or keep you warm on chilly nights. Choosing neutral colors for the shoes that you pack is particularly important since footwear takes up a significant amount of room in luggage.
Pack What You Actually Wear
There’s a rule when it comes to shopping that says “if you wouldn’t wear it when you’re walking out of the store, then you shouldn’t buy it.” Though you might think your time studying abroad will be the perfect time to wear those one-of-a-kind statement shoes or that hat you’ve been too shy to wear at home, it’s highly unlikely you will wear those items abroad. You’ll still be the same person, just in a different time zone. If you haven’t worn it in the last year, you’re not going to wear it abroad.
Resist the Urge to Overpack
It can be challenging to know what to pack if you are not familiar with your host country. However, it is important that you resist the urge to overpack. Remember that most international flights will only allow up to two checked bags per passenger. You can always have additional items shipped to you should you arrive and realize that you need more essentials. And depending on your destination, there will likely be opportunities to shop while you’re there. Also, leave plenty of room in your luggage to bring back souvenirs. Half of the fun of immersing yourself in a new country is picking up new essentials, making it even more important to leave some room in your luggage as you’re setting out.
Wear Your Heavier Clothes on the Plane
These days, luggage size and weight make a significant difference in your travel expenses. If you can bear it, wear your heaviest shoes and coat on the plane when you fly. This is harder if your program is in the summer and you’re taking cheap flights in June. But it will give you more room in your luggage and you’ll be less likely to incur the overweight baggage charge.
Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are another invaluable tool when your goal is to travel light. These organizational cubes will keep all of your travel essentials tidy and in the right place. The best packing cubes will even work to compress your clothing, freeing up more valuable real estate in your luggage. A packing cube can also serve double duty, working as a laundry bag, a pillow, or a toiletry bag. Savvy travelers use these cubes to organize their clothes into different categories, making it easy to grab and go with your outfits.
Buy an Adapter before your trip!
It is important to remember that many foreign countries run on different electrical standards, meaning that the voltage may be too high for your electronic devices. In addition, your device may not work if the outlet size and shape are different. An adapter will allow you to use your personal devices in several different countries. You do not want to arrive at your destination only to find out that you cannot charge your smartphone or use your hairdryer because you don’t have the proper converter…and then have to track down and buy the kind you need in your host country.
This column is part of a bouquet of tips being published all of August - a special offering by The Free Press Journal to help Indian students going abroad to study.