The Essential Study Abroad Packing Checklist

Author: NCUK Student Services

Packing to study abroad can be a little overwhelming. How much stuff should you bring? Will you remember everything you need? And will it all fit in your bag?

So before we go any further, relax. We’ve got this covered.

To help you out, we’ve created the essential study abroad packing checklist. You won’t need everything on this list. But if you make your way through it, you’ll be sure not to forget anything and you’ll be ready to study abroad in no time.


  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Plane tickets
  • Student ID
  • Purse or wallet
  • Credit/debit card
  • Cash in the local currency: just enough to cover any emergencies once you arrive
  • Backpack
  • First-aid kit


  • Underwear: two weeks’ worth. Sizes are measured differently in each country, so avoid the stress of buying new underwear in an unfamiliar place, at least initially.
  • Socks: two weeks’ worth. Bring a range of different lengths (full-length, trainer, ankle, etc.) so you’re ready for any outfit.
  • T-shirts
  • Long-sleeved tops
  • Casual shirts
  • Blouses
  • Jeans
  • Trousers/pants
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Sports clothes
  • Sweaters/sweatshirts/hoodies
  • Jacket
  • Light raincoat
  • Winter coat
  • Formal outfit: at least one suit or dressy outfit
  • Swimsuit
  • Shoes/boots
  • Trainers/sneakers
  • Flip flops: great to use in the shower!
  • Hat
  • Scarf
  • Gloves
  • Belts
  • Pyjamas: x2
  • Bathrobe: optional, but always nice to have
  • Sunglasses
  • Watch, jewellery etc.
  • Bum bag
  • Handbag


Here’s a list of all the toiletries you’ll need, but you don’t need to bring them all with you. Only pack enough for the first few days and get the rest once you’re settled.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Facewash
  • Shower gel
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Make-up
  • Make-up remover
  • Perfume/aftershave
  • Medication
  • Razors
  • Contact lenses
  • Contact lens solution
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair products
  • Face cloth
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Nail clippers/scissors
  • Suncream
  • Birth control


  • Laptop
  • Smartphone
  • Chargers: don’t forget these!
  • Laptop case
  • Plug adaptors: plug sockets vary by country – check which ones you’ll need beforehand
  • USB cable
  • Camera
  • Hair dryer: check the voltage before you go


If you’ve got some space left in your suitcase, try fitting a few of these in. But don’t worry too much about it – you’ll be able to get everything on this list once you arrive.

  • Hand towels
  • Bath towels
  • Dish cloths
  • Bed clothes: bedsheet, duvet cover, pillowcases
  • Glasses and glasses case
  • Contact lenses
  • Contact lens solution
  • Umbrella
  • Books: these are heavy, so travel light. Bring the books you’ll need for your course, and a couple of books for leisure. You can buy more once you get there!
  • Board games/playing cards
  • Sports equipment
  • Photos
  • Posters
  • Travel water bottle
  • Travel coffee cup
  • Stationery

Got everything you need? Great – then you’re all set. Don’t worry if it turns out you’ve forgotten something. You’ll almost certainly be able to pick it up once you’ve arrived.

Next step: check out the advice from our students for a flavour of what to expect at university. Then go and enjoy the experience of a lifetime!