Hello again! After having experience traveling both to and within Australia, I figured I would share some advice I learned about packing for study abroad. Here is a list I created in no particular order but is split up into two categories. This list is ideal for a 6-week program such as the one I participated in, but it may not fit as well for a semester-long program. With that said, let’s get started!
1. Snacks are essential. Coming to Australia, I came with a second suitcase almost entirely filled with food. I had sweet and savory snacks such as Gushers and Pringles, but I also ramen and EasyMac when I needed a light meal. It saved me so much money and time to avoid heavy grocery shopping.
2. Tide Pods. Try bringing a small bundle of Tide Pods and dishwasher pods with you on the trip (packed in a way that won’t leak onto your luggage). Buying an entire package of pods while abroad for only a short amount of time will probably force you to waste the majority of the package, so just bring a few with you instead.
3. Pack your comfortable clothes. As I was packing for Australia, I was SO strict on limiting the clothes I brought since most of the people I knew overpacked and regretted it. However, it will never hurt to bring 2-3 long sleeve T-shirts if that is what you usually wear around. I regret only bringing one long-sleeve even though I can almost always be found wearing one at Pitt. However, please don’t bring that skirt you know you’ll never actually wear while your abroad.
4. Know the weather. So many of the girls in my program brought 5 pairs of shorts even though we could count on one hand how many times it was over 70 degrees in Sydney because they didn’t realize we were there during Australia’s winter. Although it is fine to bring a pair or two, make sure to have a solid set of winter clothes that will keep you cozy if you’re studying somewhere cold.
5. Know your interests. Before studying abroad, come up with a general list of things you’d like to do in the country. Plan on being at the beach? Bring a bathing suit. Hiking? Bring sturdy sneakers and a drawstring bag to hold items. Just think about more than normal, everyday outfits.
6. Bring travel size items. You’ll probably do a bunch of traveling within the country you study in, so try bringing travel size toothpaste, shampoo, and lotion with you from home so you don’t need to search for it abroad. The country you study in may not have brands you like. For example, when I was Australia, I could not find ANY travel sized hair mousse. This made sense because very little of the population had curly hair like me, but packing for other cities became annoying because I normally rely only on mousse to fix my hair. ALL FELLOW CURLY-HAIRED STUDENTS, PLEASE TAKE NOTE AND AVOID MY FATE.
1. Split groceries. For things like butter or honey, it may be hard to finish the entire container within the course of 6 weeks. Instead, try splitting these items between 2-4 roommates.
2. Don’t buy things you won’t finish/be careful what you buy. This seems obvious, but actually think about your day-to-day schedule when you shop for groceries. If you don’t have a lot of time to cook, then limit the perishables you purchase. You would not believe how much food some of the students threw away along the trip because they overestimated the shelf life of food.
*Note: if you’re studying abroad in Australia, be aware most things go bad much quicker than in the US because they limit the amount of perservatives in their food. I’ve had bread go bad in 3 days in Sydney. *Sigh*
Those are a few of tips, but keep in mind, every packer is different. Regardless of your packing experiences, I guarantee you’ll have the experience of a lifetime studying abroad. Happy traveling!