Student exploring his surroundings while studying abroad.

What to Pack

Everyone gets excited when it’s time to pack for a trip abroad, maybe too excited. Half of the things that you think you absolutely need you most likely will not. You will sometimes find items cheaper abroad than in the United States.

Download a suggested packing list (PDF) that other Pace student have found useful while studying abroad.

Pack Accordingly

Think about the essentials. It's important to research and consider:

  • local dress customs and styles
  • activities you'll be doing
  • weather
  • comfort

There are destinations where you want to pack more conservative clothing so you won't stand out. Anywhere you travel, if you stand out as a tourist you are an easy target for pickpockets.

Regardless of how long your trip is, the most important item in your suitcase will be your walking shoes. A sturdy, comfortable pair of shoes is absolutely essential as you will have long days of exploring your new city. Many older cities have uneven, cobblestone walkways that can be dangerous if you are not wearing sturdy footwear.

Pack Lightly

For a semester program, we strongly recommend that you limit your luggage to 1 checked bag and 1 carry-on bag.

  • Practice carrying your luggage bags up and down stairs by yourself. If you cannot carry your luggage, you’ve packed too much.
  • Ask yourself if you really need everything. A great tip when packing is to lay out all your luggage beforehand, then remove half.
  • Depending on where you are traveling and your pace of travel, finding a laundromat may not be an option. A friendly tip – bring a small bottle of handwashing clothing soap or pick one up abroad. Planning to wash your clothing by hand in your shower or sink allows you to pack less.

Pack Smart

  • Check airline luggage allowances and weight limits before departure.
  • If you are going abroad and are expecting cold weather, save room in your luggage by wearing your bulkier clothing on the plane.
  • Leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs while abroad. You do not want to have to buy another suitcase only to find out the airline fees for another bag are $100+.
  • Hair dryers, curling irons, and hair straighteners should all be bought abroad. Countries run on different wattage/voltage systems and hot electronics do not have built-in converters or surge protectors; these items often overheat and can blow fuses. To avoid breaking your expensive hair styling tools you should plan to buy these abroad or purchase them from online stores before you leave.
  • For students studying on short-term programs, you may want to get in touch with other students you will be traveling with as you can share some items such as adapters and toiletries.

Happy Packing!