Practical Pre-Departure Checklist & Packing Tips

As you prepare to get on a plane, it is now time to review the below final checklist full of practical items and packing tips to ensure your travel goes smoothly.  You can find more packing information here!

Also, take note of what NOT to pack by visiting this website.

  • Notify your bank and credit cards that you will be abroad.  Make sure they won’t block your accounts when they see international charges, and ask for phone numbers to call from abroad in the event you have any issues. The 1-800 numbers on the back won’t always work from overseas.
  • Have all medications you may need for the full term & bring a copy of prescriptions (medication, eyeglasses, etc.) and carry it with you in your carry on.  Your carry on should also have all important paperwork, phone numbers, and a change of clothes in case your luggage arrives late.
  • Make photocopies of your passport/visa, ID, and cards (bank, credit card). Leave one copy of this packet with your parents and bring a set with you in your carry-on.  That way, if these items are lost or stolen, they’re much easier to replace.
  • Bring your flight confirmation printout to the airport.
  • Check the luggage restrictions for your airline before you pack.
  • Have some cash on hand to get you through the first few days (you can exchange at the airport if needed, but service fees can be hefty.  Banks can generally issue euros ahead of time, if they have notice.  Or simply withdraw cash from the ATM directly once you land – this can sometimes be easiest).
  • Have a copy of your arrival cheat sheet (coming next week!)  – and leave one with your family!
  • Set up a plan of communicating with your family members while abroad—we recommend calling or e-mailing them only once or twice a week while abroad. Your parents will ALWAYS want to talk to you more often than that, but remember that part of studying in another country is putting some distance between you and your old life. You’ll be better for it!
  • Buy a journal.  Study Away is a profoundly personal experience and Facebook updates alone won’t capture the spirit of what you are doing.  Keep a journal that is meant to be just for you.  
  • Do not plan to use your blow dryers and flat irons that you use currently. Even with a plug adaptor and converter, the higher voltage can destroy (as in burn to a crisp!) your appliances and could potentially knock out power in entire buildings, which isn’t a great way to make friends abroad. If you’re not willing to forgo the blow dryers and flat irons for a few months, then it’s best to purchase local versions that operate on 220 volts once you get abroad.
  • Bring a small weekend-size bag/backpack/collapsible duffle bag for trips you’ll take during your time abroad.
  • Don’t forget that you cannot bring more than 3 oz. of any liquid in your carry on for your flight overseas.  Airport security can be very stringent. Make sure you follow all the rules when it comes to flying!
  • If you follow a special diet (vegetarian, kosher, etc.) don’t forget to inform your airline ahead of time. It’s horribly unpleasant to be hungry and thirsty while you’re on a plane and they control when you get meals, so bring some snacks (stay away from fruit, as some countries don’t want you to bring perishable food into their airports). And make sure you have your own water on the flight (though, remember, you can’t take any through security).
  • Last but definitely not least, try to pack LIGHT.  Layers, layers, layers!  You will inevitably come home with more than you started with.