Ten essentials to pack when leaving for your studies abroad

  • Gradstar
  • March 28, 2022
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The anxiety about packing your luggage increases as the date of travel approaches closer. Going to study abroad is very different from going on a vacation. You may want to carry your entire closet with you but airline baggage limits and custom restrictions cannot be avoided. Pack your luggage in a way that you are prepared for your journey and a couple of weeks in a new country. Let us help you with a list of essentials.

Important documents and papers

You can buy, beg, or borrow everything except your official documents. Here is a list of documents would have to carry:

  • Passport
  • Tickets
  • Enrolment letter
  • Receipts, if any payments have been made either to the university, government, or accommodation
  • Insurance details
  • Medical certificates
  • marksheets and certificates
  • Proof of funds (check with your university).

Covid-19 guidelines may change from time to time. It is suggested that you check with your destination’s guidelines at least a week before. You may have to carry some or all of the following:

  • Vaccination proof
  • Covid negative report
  • Quarantine plan

Apart from keeping hard copies of all the documents, also make sure to store them on your phone storage.


Keeping a small amount of local currency will come in handy, especially when you need to buy small items like a bottle of water, coffee while waiting to board etc. To be on a safer side, enable international payments on your cards and digital wallets.


This will take up a major share of your luggage. Pack a limited number of items but cover all occasions and weather. A judicious mix of casual clothes for university visits and daily wear, two to three sets of formal wear for seminars and interviews is recommended. Also carry one set of ethnic wear for those popular ethnic day celebrations. Include cotton T-shirts for summers and jackets for winters.

Tip: Carry at least two T-shirts and a pair of pants in your handbag, just in case your baggage is delayed.


You need a pair of sneakers for long walks and while you are exploring the city, formal shoes for any presentation or interview and a pair of easy-going flip-flops. These are the essentials you would need immediately before you stack up your shoe rack as per your style and needs.


If you are on medication, make doubly sure you have them packed. Pharmacies follow country-specific regulations, hence stay on the safer side by carrying enough medicines to last a few months at least. If you take prescription medicines, then do not forget to carry your prescription along. Any hygiene products you use should also be added.


While you will find everything you need in your host country, carry some for the first few weeks – soap, face wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, basic make-up, shaving kit etc. Make sure you do not stack them up for six months or a year. Carry only travel-size sachets or bottles.

Electronics and Gadgets

Make sure your mobile phone, laptop/tablet, charging wires and adaptors, USB drives, electronic readers are carefully packed to avoid any damage. Carry only what you need. More than that will only prove to be a hassle as gadgets demand care and attention. Keep your mobile charger in your handbag. Enquire at the airlines about packing your power bank, if you must carry it.

Pastime options

Make a playlist of your favourite music, download a couple of movies, audio books/e-books, podcasts etc to keep yourself busy for those long hours spent on flights, boarding gates, and transits. Depending on your preferences you can also carry light puzzles/sudoku booklets, magazines, novels etc. They do not take up much space, nor do they drain your phone battery.
Psst… if you like to write, then carry a small journal to document your trip and all those thoughts running amok in your head.

Basic stationery

A notebook and a pair of pens should be enough to cover your classroom needs. A few paper clips should also come in handy to hold your handouts and other forms or leaflets.
Tip: Carry a blue and a black coloured pen as documents demand signatures in either colours.

Masks and Sanitizers

These are as essential as your documents. Although airlines and institutes provide disposable masks and sanitizers, it is prudent to carry your own. There are situations when you simply cannot rely on others to help you with protection against this deadly disease.

It is recommended that you take this checklist seriously and not skip anything important. If you want to know about university- and country-specific essential requirements you could contact a Gradstar executive here. We help students attain a seamless experience for their studies abroad.