Be sensible with what you pack. A good rule of thumb is to carry all of your luggage around the block; if you struggle, then you may need to reconsider what you have packed. Packing too much can be very inconvenient and can add a great deal of stress to your travels! 

Remember that you will be able to purchase items you need while abroad. While most products will be different from what you are used to, you will learn that this is an important part of your experience. You also may want to consider getting an ISIC card which offers travel insurance and student discounts worldwide. 


Packing Essentials

  • Passport (including appropriate visa stamp, if required)
  • Original and photocopies of all documents, IDs, prescriptions for medications, immunization card, and other important documents. Keep copies separate from originals.
  • Letter of invitation from host institution abroad (if applicable)
  • Airline tickets
  • Money (credit card, ATM card, traveler's checks, local currency or some combination)
  • Language/phrase book
  • Camera

Looking for more tips? Check out the Padnos International Center's Packing Pinterest Board

Other Items to Consider Packing

  • Flip-flops or shower shoes
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Shorts (if appropriate)
  • Skirts/pants
  • Shirts
  • Sweaters/Hoodies
  • Light jacket
  • One set of formal clothes
  • Hat / Cap
  • Good walking or hiking shoes
  • Backpack for short trips
  • Rain gear
  • Sheets & a pillow case
  • Travel Pillow 
  • Light Towel
  • Toiletries
  • Comb/brush


  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Instant hand sanitizer 
  • Favorite soap and deodorant
  • Suntan lotion/ sunglasses
  • Extra contact lenses, solution, and glasses
  • Small packs of tissues
  • Moist towelettes
  • Travel toilet paper
  • Contraceptives/condoms
  • Multi-vitamins
  • Aspirin or other pain reliever/antacid/cold medicine
  • Prescriptions
  • First aid kit


  • Guide books/maps
  • Pictures of your loved ones
  • Luggage lock & tags
  • Flashlight/head lamps
  • Laptop with charger
  • International adapter/outlet converter
  • Pocket calculator
  • Address book
  • Travel journal
  • Battery alarm clock
  • Sewing kit
  • Insurance information
  • International Youth Hostel Card
  • Music
  • Novels/Magazines
  • Calling card

Page last modified February 4, 2015