Packing Woes and Wins!


Noelle Cho is currently working in the UK Education Abroad office as a peer ambassador. She participated in a spring program with TEAN called Bluegrass Down Under and attended Griffith University in Australia. She has a few tips for

Packing Tips

While some of these packing tips may seem obvious, I want to emphasize the importance of specific tips, based on my experience studying abroad in Australia for four months.

  1. Minimize baggage. Limit yourself to one large suitcase, and if necessary, a small carry-on. I traveled with a single large suitcase, while my American roommate only brought a small carry-on luggage. At the education abroad program orientation, dozens of other students had two or three large suitcases and we watched them visibly struggling to gather their luggage. Not only will you have a shorter wait at baggage claim and easier time keeping track of your bags, but you simply do not need more than one large bag. In my experience, I wish that I brought less clothes because many items went unworn and needlessly took up suitcase space. You do not need to bring your entire wardrobe, so be realistic about what you actually need to bring and resist the urge to overpack!
  2. Electronics essentials. You wouldn’t forget to bring your phone, so don’t forget to bring chargers either! Travel converters, adapters, and extra chargers are critical but easily overlooked items to pack. Double-check, then triple-check which adapters you need for the specific country you are traveling to, since electrical outlets vary around the world. I recommend bringing two or three adapters, one extra phone charger, and a portable power bank. Laptop chargers are typically expensive but it may be worth the investment to bring an extra one. One of my American roommates had a faulty laptop charger barely hanging on by a single wire, and when it broke, she dealt with the stress and panic of trying to order a replacement. Internet access has become a vital part of everyday life, so remember that you’re better safe than sorry by bringing extra electronics items.
  3. Prepare for vision problems. If you have poor eyesight and wear glasses and/or contact lenses, ensure that you can still see if something happens or your lenses break. Bring contact solution, two contact cases (one for backup), and/or your glasses. Also, take out your contact lenses and switch to wearing glasses on the plane, so that you don’t have red, dry eyes during the long-haul flight.
  4. Stay warm regardless of climate. Even those who are traveling to a typically hot, dry, or humid country should bring a sweatshirt or jacket that will keep them warm. Cold, windy, and rainy days happen everywhere, so be prepared for atypical weather. Also, it gets chilly on plane flights, so wear a comfortable outerwear item you can easily take off if it gets hot later on or upon arrival.
  5. Which toiletries to take? It’s important to consider what supplies you should bring with you, and what you can buy in the country you will be abroad in. If you use or need specific toiletries, it’s best to pack enough for the duration of your time abroad. If you’re fine with using any kind of toiletries or are concerned about baggage weight, it will be more convenient to bring a few travel-size toiletries and wait to purchase other items.
  6. Remember TSA restrictions. On a similar note, regarding any toiletries you bring, remember United States TSA restrictions state that any liquid or gel substances in carry-on bags must be in individual containers of 3.4 ounces or less, enclosed in one clear, quart-size, bag per passenger. Larger containers must be packed in checked luggage. It’s frustrating when you are forced to throw away full containers of products because you forgot these guidelines, so don’t throw away your money and follow the TSA rules!