Study Abroad Packing List

A complete and comprehensive list of the things you’ll need when spending a semester studying abroad.

Planning a semester abroad can be daunting, especially when you consider everything you may have to pack. Make packing and life easier with our study abroad packing list.

In your carry-on bag

  • American cell phone and charger (in case you need to contact someone while you’re still in the U.S.)
  • Boarding passes (have a backup on your phone just in case!)
  • Cash (bring American dollars and the currency of your host location or money you can exchange for it—enough to use in case of an emergency, but not more money than you can afford to lose)
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copy of Social Security card
  • Debit and Credit card (notify your bank that you’ll be abroad before you leave to avoid your account being frozen)
  • Deodorant
  • Sweatshirt
  • E-reader or book/magazines
  • Emergency contact list
  • Face wipes
  • Chapstick
  • Snacks
  • Travel-size lotion
  • Gum
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Headphones
  • Travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Health insurance card
  • Passport
  • Prescription medication(s) you usually take (make sure you bring enough refills to last your entire trip—but future prescriptions can go in your checked luggage)
  • School ID
  • Spare outfit (in case your luggage gets lost or delayed)
  • State ID
  • Student visa
  • Travel itinerary
  • Electronic converter
  • Travel tickets (if you’re taking a train or other transport after your plane lands)
  • Wallet


Keep these in a plastic bag at the top of your checked suitcase.
Tip: To save room in your suitcase, buy standard items such as shampoo, conditioner and body wash in your host country.

  • Acne medication/cream
  • Face lotion/moisturizer
  • Makeup
  • Mini shampoo & conditioner (until you get the chance to get full-sized bottles in your new country)
  • Mouthwash (small)
  • Soap (mini bottle if you’re using body wash)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hairbrush


Tip: Because of the voltage differences in many electronic products, you may want to wait until you’re in your host country to buy items such as a blow dryer or hair straightener—plugging an American hair dryer into an outlet converter could overheat and break it.

  • Bobby pins
  • Comb
  • Contacts, solution and case (again, make sure you have all the contacts you’ll need for your time abroad)
  • Glasses and glasses case
  • Hair ties
  • Hairbrush
  • Headbands
  • Nail clipper
  • Razor(s)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Tampons and pads
  • Tweezers


You will likely have the need to do laundry on your trip, and you’ll be able to purchase detergent in your host country. Purchase towels and linens when you arrive to save space.

  • Wrinkle Release spray
  • Portable stain remover pen


Tip: Mixing and matching outfits and layering saves a ton of space in your suitcase! Make sure you check the predicted weather of the country you’re traveling to so you can dress appropriately. Don’t bring anything you’d be devastated to see ruined!

  • Athletic sneakers (1)
  • Bathing suits (1-2)
  • Boots (1-2)
  • Bras (2 sports bras, 2 regular bras, 1 strapless/convertible bras)
  • Casual dresses (2)
  • Everyday comfortable shoes (1-2)
  • Flats (1)
  • Flip-flops (1)
  • Formal outfit (1-2)
  • Gloves (1, if weather appropriate)
  • Going-out outfit (3-5)
  • Hat (1)
  • Heavier coat for colder climates (1)
  • Heels (1-2)
  • Jacket (2; a light one and one for colder weather, if applicable)
  • Jeans (2, one black & one blue)
  • Jewelry (remember that bringing jewelry to another country is always a risk; don’t bring anything too valuable!)
  • Leggings (1-3)
  • Long-sleeve shirts (3-5)
  • Pajamas (2-3)
  • Pants (1-2 nice pairs)
  • Purse (1-2)
  • Raincoat (1)
  • Scarf (1)
  • Short-sleeve shirts (5-7)
  • Shorts (2-4, if weather appropriate)
  • Skirts (1-2)
  • Socks (14)
  • Sweaters (3-5)
  • Sweatshirt (2)
  • T-shirts (3-5)
  • Tank tops (3-5)
  • Underwear (14)
  • Watch (1)
  • Workout clothes (2-5)


Remember that most of your electronic items will need an outlet converter in order to work! Buy one before you leave the US and bring it with you in your carry-on so you can charge in international airports.

  • Camera (remember your case and USB cords)
  • SD cards for your camera
  • Cell phone (keep in mind that you’ll be able to buy an international phone or SIM card when you arrive at your destination)
  • Chargers (for laptop, phone, camera, e-reader, etc.)
  • Flash drive
  • iPod
  • Laptop
  • Laptop case
  • Adapters (2-3)
  • USB cable
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • GoPro accessories


Tip: Remember to check if the medications you take are legal in the country that you’re going to by contacting the country’s embassy. Some over-the-counter medications are illegal outside of the United States.

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Allergy medicine
  • Birth control
  • Cold and flu medicine
  • Eye drops
  • Motion sickness medicine
  • Over-the-counter pain medicine
  • Vitamins


  • Backpack (small)
  • Gift for your host family (bring something that they couldn’t get in their own country, like memorabilia from your hometown)
  • Language dictionary
  • Map
  • Playing cards
  • Travel guide
  • Umbrella (small)
  • Photos from home
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