Packing is an ordeal for many and the cycle is rough: pack, weigh, re-pack, re-weigh, contemplate…
While USAC does send a packing list to help students, it’s nearly impossible to include every single item you might need abroad.
You never want to arrive in your host country and think “man, I never thought I’d need to pack THAT.”
That’s why we’ve put together this list of five items you might forget while packing to go abroad. Hopefully it will help prevent a little of that angst.
1. Ziploc Bags
Huh? You can’t you buy those abroad? Depending on your location, not always!
Many people who’ve lived in the US and foreign countries comment that Ziploc-type bags typically sold abroad are often of poor quality or simply not easy to find at local stores.
By bringing bags of various sizes you will have them on hand for your to-go sandwich, leftovers, wet bathing suit, or bound-to-leak-while-on-the-plane liquids.
An added bonus is that they don’t weight much or take up space!
2. Several Outlet Converters
Converters are a standard on every study abroad packing list, that’s a given. What you might not consider is the need for more than one. Think about it. How many outlets are you using at any given time when you’re at home?
When the battery is low on your laptop, cell phone, and electric toothbrush, and you’re trying to blow dry your hair, things can get frustrating. Also, remember to look into buying a power strip; it could save you some stress.
3. Copies of Important Documents
You reach into your pocket to grab your passport and… it’s not there. When did that happen?! Now what? Bringing copies of important documents can come in handy if you lose items or get pick-pocketed during your travels.
It’s much easier to get a new passport from an embassy if you have a copy of your original. If your wallet gets lost or misplaced, having copies of your driver’s license, debit/credit cards, insurance cards and paperwork can be crucial. Also, when staying in hostels/hotels it is customary to present your passport as a form of ID. Call ahead of time to confirm if a copy will suffice – there will be less stress if it becomes misplaced during your travels.
4. Personal Linens
While USAC typically provides bed linens, it can still be a wonderful feeling to snuggle up inside your own sheets or blanket while traveling. Taking a sleep sack (aka cocoon travel sheets or a sleeping bag liner) and a super absorbent towel can save you money at hostels and provide a multitude of benefits while on the road: cleanliness, bug protection, comfort, warmth etc.
Sleep sacks are often made of microfiber or silk and are lightweight and breathable while still providing warmth (try to avoid cotton, it’s super bulky). Travel towels are perfect for showering, face/hand washing, and camping. For the tall, claustrophobic traveler, a custom DIY sack may be a better option.
5. An e-Reader
Books are the perfect travel companions. They provide readers with countless adventures, portable friendships, mysterious characters, and juicy gossip. But man, they are heavy! If you’re a book worm, or would like to start reading more, traveling is the perfect place to crack open a new book – virtually, of course. By purchasing an e-reader before heading abroad, you will be able to bring multiple books with you and save valuable space and weight in your luggage. That means more room for souvenirs!
**Bonus Items to consider – a journal, an mp3 player (that’s not your $500 cell phone from home, food from home**
Have questions or comments on what to bring abroad? Comment below and we’ll give you our professional opinion!