Packing Your Luggage

You might be thinking why I am writing about something as boring as packing. Well, my luggage didn’t arrive on time when my study abroad program began. So, I am here to tell you some things you should and shouldn’t do when packing for a study abroad program so that you can be prepared.

First, research the airline you will be taking and see how much they will allow you to bring on the plane for free. The majority of airlines will allow you one personal item, which can be a purse, backpack, or some sort of brief case, one 50 pound luggage – this is your main luggage where you will put the majority of your items, and one carry-on item. This can be in a form of a small duffle bag or small luggage. Ensure you look at the dimension restrictions will all bags. Second, research the weather condition of the country you will be living. I would encourage those leaving during the winter to pack more sweaters to layer up as opposed to packing more shirts. Those going during the spring or summer, it might be best to pack a variety of bottoms for the heat.

Once you have an understanding of how much you can pack for free, you can begin packing! I will give you some pointers on what to do and not to do while packing your personal item, carry-on, and your luggage.

Personal item

The following is what you want to do when packing your personal item:

  • Include any books you want to read on the plane
  • Pack your wallet in an area accessible to you, but place it in a safer location when you arrive to your destination.
  • Place copy of your passport in a different area in your bag so you have some kind of identification in case you misplace your wallet or you lose your original passport.

What you don’t want to do:

  • Pack more than three fluid ounces because anything more than will be thrown out.
  • Try to hide any kind of sharp objects, even scissors, because it will be confiscated.
  • Stuff your backpack to the fullest. It can be heavy to carry around at the airport.


The following is what you want to do when packing your carry-on:

  • Consider taking a rolling luggage so you are not carrying a big bag around. (I had to carry around my heavy bag all throughout the airport, and my arm got sore.)
  • Pack AT LEAST four pairs of:
    • Underwear
    • Socks
    • Shirts
  • Pack AT LEAST two pairs of:
    • Jeans
    • Women – bras
  • Pack AT LEAST a pair of:
    • Comfortable shoes
  • Pack a jacket in case it gets cold in the airport.
  • Place your laptop in a safe case so you can quickly access it.

This might seem like a lot of clothes to pack in a carry on, but my luggage got lost for four days; I actually had to buy extra shoes and underwear because I did not pack extra items into my carry-on or my backpack.

What you don’t want to do:

  • Pack any fluids
  • Pack any sharp items


These are a couple of pointers on what to do when packing your luggage:

  • Pack lightly and wash clothes during the program so there is space/weight left over to bring back goodies for friends and loved ones.
  • Vacuum seal your clothes and other large items, like a towel and/or blankets, to give you more space.
  • Protect any delicate items, such as with clothes so it can be protected when the luggage is being moved around from plane to plane.
  • Tie an identification card on your luggage in case it gets lost.

What you don’t want to do:

  • Pack heavy. It is super difficult having to drag a fifty pound bag everywhere.
  • Pack a few hours before departure day. It is best to do it a day before because it gives you a chance to verify that you packed everything necessary.

I know packing can be stressful, but have fun with it! It will be totally worth once you board your plane to live and study in a different country!


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