Never has a student complained about packing too little for their study abroad program. Over-packing is a classic mistake in study abroad. Also, remember that you must be able to carry on your own whatever luggage you bring with you. A good rule to go by is to lay out all the items you think you will need on your bed, then take half of the items away and pack the rest.
Here is a suggested packing checklist. These are only suggestions – you should adjust the items according to your own personal taste and style, and your destination and season. For example: in Italy, during the fall semester, the weather will be cool/cold so lightweight cotton clothing is not recommended.
- 5 – 7 sets of underwear
- At least one nice outfit (e.g. for evening wear)
- Some casual business wear and shoes
- One pair of pajamas
- One pair of dress shoes/ sandals
- Comfortable walking shoes (one running pair and one other type)
- A jacket/coat for cool/cold weather
- Boots for cold weather
- 5 – 7 pairs of socks
- 3 blouses/shirts
- Gloves, hat, scarf
- 2 pairs of jeans
- A raincoat
- 1 swimsuit and 1 beach towel
- Gym or workout clothes
Suggested personal items:
- Toothbrush & toothpaste ( regular and travel-size)
- Dental floss
- Shaving kit
- Washcloths and towels
- A temporary (e.g.; travel-size) supply of soap, shampoo, etc.( If you wish to save packing space, bring just enough of these items to get you through orientation/your first week, and buy the rest upon arrival; these products are easy to find in grocery stores and small shops in town)
- Shower shoes for traveling
- Vitamins and pain relievers. For example these items are available in Italy but are more expensive. If you use a particular product regularly, bring some with you in your suitcase.
- Bedroom slippers
- Extra pair of glasses and/or supply of contact lenses and contact lenses solution.
- An electricity adapter and a converter for your laptop, if needed.
- Travel backpack for your weekend trips (remember to check allowable dimensions for every airline)
- There will be activities that require you to do hands-on experiences and be out in the field or in a food production area. Please make sure to pack clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, long-sleeved t-shirts, comfortable shorts, and pants as well as comfortable closed shoes (such as sneakers) and non-slip shoes.
- If you will be studying in Rome, and are planning on doing sightseeing in churches (such as Saint Peter’s Basilica): pack long-sleeved shirts and clothes that cover you up to your knees.
- For formal/business type occasions and/or activities, please pack a few business casual clothes and shoes.
- Avoid bringing items of extremely high value, items of sentimental value or anything you consider irreplaceable. Most of the above items can be found in Italy, but you may want to bring your favorite brands, or enough supply until you become more familiar with the area.
- Bring a flash drive. You need it in case your email or internet is not working, and you can not send in assignments, or you need to print documents at a print center.
- Students bring their own blowdryers and hair curlers or buy them once they get to their destination (For example Rome). If you are not sure how your blowdryer or curling iron will handle the voltage conversion, you can consider buying both here. If you plan on bringing electrical appliances, check about how they handle voltage conversion.
Traveling with medication/refilling prescriptions
Bring any prescription medication you take, enough to cover your entire stay, if possible. If you do not have a lot of medication to bring, you can put it in your carry-on. If it is a lot of medicine or depending on the type of medicine, and you are not sure if you will have trouble when going through security, you can plan to carry some in your carry-on luggage and the rest in your checked luggage (just in case the checked luggage gets delayed) but it is advisable that you check with the airport staff at the check-in desk about the airline policy. Before you leave for your destination, it’s best to check with the international insurance you are covered with regarding prescription medication. Not all over-the-counter prescription medications are legal in all countries. International insurance can verify the legality of medications in your destination country and recommend alternatives (if necessary) that you and your treating physician can consider. If you are traveling to Rome and need to refill your medication, you will have to get a doctor’s appointment to get a new prescription to take to the pharmacy.
Additional resources and travel tips