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What Not To Pack On Your Study Abroad

It’s easy to pack for a weekend away somewhere; suitable clothes for the weather, comfy shoes, a camera and some sunscreen and you’re already making good progress. Packing for 9 months of studying on the other side of the world however? Not so easy.

Although you’ll be advised to bring certain items abroad with you, it’s always a tough decision on what to take and what you should sacrifice in order to meet your baggage allowance. We’re here at HC to guide you on what not to pack for study abroad, and to help make that dreaded packing a little bit easier.

The Basics

Don’t waste any spare room in your suitcase with huge bottles of shampoo, deodorant etc. Not only is it really weighty, it’s going to be available to buy in your new country. The same goes for bedding and sheets –they take up way too much room, and you should be able to find some cheap dorm bedding deals when you’re abroad. You can donate them once it’s time to leave, or just throw them away.

One Pair of Shoes Too Many

It’s difficult to sacrifice, but you honestly won’t need that extra pair of high heels (that you can hardly walk in anyway). Realistically, you’ll need around 4 pairs of shoes depending on where you’ll be living: shower shoes/flip flops, trainers for outdoors & exercise, your daily shoes, and a pair of nice ‘going out’ shoes too.


It goes hand in hand with shoes, but it’s the biggest packing error for study abroad. Nearly every study abroad student admits to taking way too many clothes abroad – myself included. Most of the clothes you bring probably won’t even leave your suitcase. Just bring what you absolutely need and actually wear often, and make sure to research weather conditions to see what you’ll be living in. (Thermals and all of the sweaters in the world WILL be necessary for highs of -4 degrees.)

All of the Electronics

While some electronics are essential for your time abroad (laptop, phone, camera etc.) you don’t want to bring them all. Invest in a cheap hairdryer abroad, for instance, it will work better in the country you bought it in. Also, make sure you have enough travel adapters from home, otherwise it’ll have been a waste of time and space!

Lots of Snack Food

Okay, definitely bring some snack food. You’re going to miss peanut butter M&Ms when you’re in another country where they simply just don’t exist. But generally, too much snack food and it’ll get heavy – and probably messy. Don’t forget that you’re bound to end up discovering some amazing new snacks in your study abroad country. You could also kindly ask your parents to send you the occasional care package. 

Textbooks/Books in General

Books are also a bad idea to pack. They’re really heavy and take up a lot of luggage space. Finding your reading list for school beforehand is a great idea, so you can start ordering those second hand books from Amazon to arrive as you do. It’s good to take one book to entertain you on the journey, but don’t be excessive. Perhaps invest in a Kindle or iPad instead – numerous books, but without all the weight. 

Edited by Toni Moy

(Picture Sources: tumblr, giphy, tumblr, tumblr, mommyish.com, gurl.com, her campus, wifflegif.com)

Tabby is a 3rd year student at Swansea University in the UK, currently on a year abroad at the University at Albany, New York. She studies English & American Studies, and is the Travel & Study Abroad blogger at Her Campus Albany. She absolutely loves to travel, having already visited a number of cities in the U.S. and Canada since arriving last summer, including Boston, Chicago, Montreal and Washington D.C. Tabby also enjoys music, shopping, eating a lot of food (and instagramming said food) and excessively watching Netflix. She hopes to pursue a career in Journalism once she graduates in 2016, having done some work experience previously at Microsoft MSN and now working for HC. http://instagram.com/tabbyduff 
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