The Princetonienne's Guide to Study Abroad: Packing

Hello everyone! My name is Katrina and I am currently a junior in the philosophy department at Princeton. This semester, I am studying abroad at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco to focus on my certificates: Arabic and Near Eastern Studies. Although I have already settled in to school (we're going to be starting our third week of classes!), I'd like to give some preliminary advice to my fellow collegiettes who have yet to depart for faraway lands. 

First thing's first: what to pack? I always worry about what to pack, mostly because I hate getting to the airport and finding out that my bag(s) are overweight! So what I did first is make a list of the essentials, using a handy dandy app called Visual Travel Checklist on my iPhone. It's loaded with things that are essential for traveling, which is great because I didn't have to wrack my brain to try and remember things that I forgot to put on the list! Here is the list of things that I added to my checklist, edited to account for what I actually packed (so as to be exactly 50 lbs. with 1 checked suitcase, 1 carry-on, and a backpack):

To-Do
  • Halt Princeton mail
  • Print out airline ticket
  • Check weather
  • Withdraw cash (~$300)
  • Call bank to notify of overseas travel

Documents

  • Driver's license
  • Insurance cards
  • Passport
  • International student ID (I bought an ISIC card)
  • University acceptance letter
  • Vaccination sheet
  • Travel guide (Morocco and Spain)
  • Debit card
  • Cash 

Clothing

  • 1 hat
  • 6 blouses
  • 4 dresses
  • 4 sweaters
  • 6 long-sleeve shirts
  • 5 camis
  • 2 sweatshirts
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 3 jeans
  • 2 linen pants
  • 1 shorts
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 boots
  • 3 casual shoes
  • 1 dress shoes
  • 2 sandals
  • 1 slippers
  • 1 sneakers
  • 6 bras
  • 20 underwear
  • 10 socks
  • 2 sweatpants for PJs
  • 1 swimsuit

Accessories

  • 2 belts
  • 10 earrings
  • 10 necklaces
  • 1 pair gloves
  • 2 scarves (I intend to buy more here)
  • 2 sunglasses (1 pair black, 1 pair brown)
  • 1 watch
  • 1 umbrella

Hygiene

  • 1 bar soap
  • 1 travel-size shampoo
  • 1 travel-size conditioner
  • 1 travel-size toothbrush
  • 1 travel-size toothpaste
  • 1 deoderant
  • 1 facewash kit (I love Proactiv!)
  • 1 travel brush
  • 20 hairbands
  • 1 pack hairpins
  • 2 packs of dental picks
  • 5 months of contact lenses
  • 1 bottle of contact solution
  • Make-up
  • Feminine hygiene products (some countries don't widely sell tampons, so if that's your preferred product, take some!)
  • 1 lip balm
  • 1 nail clipper
  • 1 pair tweezers
  • 5 packs of travel tissues (you never know when a public restroom won't have toilet paper!)

Electronics

  • 4 AA batteries
  • 4 AAA batteries
  • 1 luggage scale
  • 1 camera + memory card + charger
  • 2 pairs earphones (Skullcandy's Titan earbuds have never failed me)
  • 1 laptop + charger
  • 1 external hard drive
  • 1 international cellphone (this can be bought in your host country) + charger
  • 1 electrical converter/adapter
  • 1 tablet + charger

Medication

  • Prescription medication enough for your stay
  • Allergy medication
  • Anti-diarrhea pills
  • Pain relief medication
  • Cold medicine (e.g. Nyquil)
  • Small first aid kit
  • Bandages

Miscellaneous

  • Backpack
  • Duffel bag (to be packed, not filled)
  • 2 purses
  • Carry-on suitcase
  • 1 wallet
  • Luggage ID tags
  • 1 sewing kit
  • Snacks from home
  • Writing utensils
  • 1 towel
  • 1 Brita water bottle + extra filters
  • 1 stuffed animal

I can say with confidence that all of these things fit in my luggage perfectly, and I avoided having to pay a baggage fee to check-in two bags. Make sure to pack really important things in your carry-on or backpack (i.e. prescription medication, a change of clothes, electronics, travel hygience items that are under 3 oz. and will pass TSA, etc.), just in case your checked luggage gets lost. Stay tuned for the next study abroad blog post, coming soon!