Packing Topics / How to Pack it All

How to Pack it All

The number one student regret is over-packing.

When you fly, your luggage will have to be under a certain weight (usually 50lbs for checked luggage and 40lbs for carry-on luggage). So instead of just shoving as many pairs of shoes and sweaters into your bag and calling someone to help heave it into the car, let's be a little more strategic.

If you check on travel blog sites, Pinterest, and even in guidebooks, everyone will have their “expert” way of packing. Your best bet is to lay everything out on your bed or floor and start thinking through what is absolutely necessary versus what you’d like to take but don’t really need. Using something like packing folders and packing cubes, or big zip lock bags, can help to keep you organized. The number one student regret is over-packing, so be sure to only take what you really need.

You may also want to weigh your luggage before heading to the airport. Most airlines have extra fees for overweight bags...and let's be real, you don't want to start your journey paying more money before you even got on your first plane.

Carry-on Luggage

What to Pack

  • Medicine

    Your medicine will need to be in their original prescription bottles with your name on it, and it is a good idea to have a copy of a prescription with you. Some medicines we use in the US are illegal in certain countries, so be sure to research what you can bring, or what you’ll have to find substitutes for.

  • Important Documents

    Passport (duh), flight info, a copy of your passport, contact info for all credit cards, and any info you have about where to go when you arrive at the next airport and/or your program. We recommend sending an email of all of this information to yourself and a family member or friend as well.

  • Phone and other Electronics

    This includes cameras, laptops, tablets, chargers, power packs, e-readers, etc. You’ll have to get them all out when you go through security, so keep that in mind when packing. You’ll want to put these in your carry on not just to keep them safe, but to give you something to do on the flight.

  • An Outfit or Two

    This is a good place to put some outfit essentials, and maybe even a coat (if you aren’t wearing one). Check the weather of the place your landing in, and pack some things that could help if your checked luggage gets lost. It happens, so prepare and be flexible!

  • Water Bottle

    A reusable water bottle can be helpful while traveling on the ground and in the air. Drinking enough water is the key to feeling well when you land, and you’ll get to stretch your legs since you’ll be going to the bathroom more often…aisle seat is looking good, huh?

  • Snacks

    On most international flights you’ll get a meal, but if you’re a picky eater or a snacker, bring some things with you. You may want to buy these items once you get through security at the airport and find your gate.

  • Headphones or Earplugs

    Either the plane and people will be noisy, or you'll get bored. Bring some headphones or earplugs to block unwanted noise, and welcome the smooth sound of whatever music you like.

  • Sleep Stuff

    Bring an eye mask, neck pillow, or a blanket or scarf to be super cozy when trying to sleep on the plane.

  • Toiletries

    You'll want to refresh yourself either during or after your us. Bring a toothbrush, some toothpaste, face wipes, contact solutions (and a case), and your glasses. You'll be happy you did.

  • Something Fun

    You'll probably get bored on the flight, even if they have movies. Consider bringing something to read, some podcasts, or even a coloring book. 

Checked Luggage

What to Pack

Note: luggage does get thrown around. Take care when packing your stuff so that anything fragile is in the middle and well padded.

All Liquids greater than 3.4oz

For longer programs (2+ weeks), you might want to buy shampoo, conditioner, etc. in your host country. This will save you a lot of space, weight, and fear of bottle explosion in your bag. You’ll also have an excuse to explore your local grocery store or market.

Clothes and Shoes

We highly suggest packing clothes. Most cultures do not widely accept nudism, even if they are known for nude beaches. Be sure to bring a favorite t-shirt or sweatshirt. Having a UK t-shirt on hand can make for some great photo ops, and did we mention you can tag us on social media?? @ukyabroad #seeblueabroad

Empty Duffle Bag

This can be used for laundry, short trips, or as an extra checked bag on the way home

Everything Else

Anything you can go three to four days without should go in your checked bag

Pack with the return trip in mind. You'll pick up some souvenirs and such while abroad. Leave space in your suitcase for future prized possessions!