What to Pack
"When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then, take half the clothes and twice the money."
Susan Heller, The Times Journalist
Packing can be tough, especially when you're not familiar with the city, country, or region where you'll be studying. It's important that you check out the weather and climate of your host country, but also consider your day-to-day life. Sadly we won't be telling you exactly what to pack, but this section will help you plan your packing by asking the following questions:
What will you be doing?
There are a ton of ways to go abroad: internships, service, research, teaching, and study programs. You may need different types of clothes based on your program type. It may also mean that you need to pack some personal or clothing items that aren't covered here. Think about what activities or hobbies you have here in Lexington, and if or how you'll do those abroad. To get a little more specific, here are some tips based on your program types and some free time activities:
When are you going?
Your packing list may be very different than your friend's, especially if you're going on different program types or going to different locations. If you're going to Costa Rica for a service learning program, you're going to want different clothes than your friend who is going to London for a business internship.
Ask the program director for suggestions. Contact deets for the program director will be on the program page where you applied.
Reach out to your program provider and see if they have any tips or suggestions. They may even put you in contact with other students.
Check out the University or College's YouTube channel, Instagram, and Facebook page to see what students are wearing to campus.
When are you going?
Just because you're going on a "summer" program doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be going somewhere where it is summer...anywhere below the equator has opposite seasons to Kentucky -- such as Australia South Africa, Chile, etc. Plus summer in Kentucky may be very different than summer in Tokyo, Edinburgh, or Oaxaca.
Now our office and University don't endorse any websites over others. There are a ton that will help you research weather and climate, and a few of our staff members like to use these to look up average temperatures and rain/snow fall for the months you'll be gone: Holiday Weather or Wikipedia.
If you're going for a semester or academic year, you'll need to pack for multiple seasons. Bring clothes that can be layered and adapt to the changing weather. Some students will even pack the basics they need, and buy other pieces abroad...just an idea! You may not have the perfect outfit for every day, but packing light will make travel (and souvenir shopping) much easier.
How long are you going?
Psst...it doesn't matter...
Still have questions?
Things You Might Not Think About
- Good Walking Shoes
- Sewing Kit and/or Safety Pins
- Duct (Duck) Tape
- Reusable Grocery Bag
- Ziploc (or other brand) Bags
- Multi-socket Power Strip
- Compression Socks for Flights
- Favorite or Preferred Over-the-Counter Medicine
- Feminine Products
- Power Adaptor
- Deck of Cards
- Luggage Locks and Zip Ties
- Travel Camera, Tripod, Selfie Stick
- A Good Book
- Pen and Paper
- First Aid Supplies
- Sunscreen and Lip Balm
- Bug Spray
- Power Converter
What should you absolutely not leave home without?
Well, your passport for one, and we always suggest a raincoat, good walking shoes, and sunglasses - maybe even a water bottle. But this is a tough question because it often depends on where you're going. No matter what you take, here are three tips that have stood the test of time.
Get your suitcase ready with these tips:
- Roll your clothes instead of folding them.
- Put dryer sheets in your luggage to keep clothes smelling fresh.
- Bring comfy, broken-in shoes for tons of walking...maybe even two pairs.
This isn't a mandatory packing list.
Take a look at the pieces we've mentioned above. Use the pieces that will work for you, and toss the ones that won't. You may even find some new tricks along the way that aren't listed here. The most important thing is to be flexible and plan ahead!