I studied abroad my first semester of college and there were a number of things I wish I remembered to bring with on my trip! Since then, I never travel without these must pack study abroad items! The first half of this post can be found on my lifestyle blog Samanthability.com! Check that post out when you’re done with this one for more must pack study abroad items you don’t want to forget. Click the images under each post to check them out on Amazon!
5. American Candy
This might be weird, but bringing American candy is a must. Trust me, American food is different abroad. From seaweed flavored Lays Chips to tiny Oreos, it’s just not the same. If you’re studying abroad for more than a month at a time, you’re going to start to crave Skittles or KitKat’s or whatever it is you like. Bring a few non-perishable candies and save them for when you’re especially homesick. Personally, I always pack a few PopTarts and Sour Patch Kids. What can I say, I like the classics.
Candy from home is also a great travel gift or souvenir to give friends and hosts you meet along the way. Candies are a thoughtful way to introduce someone to your own culture and thank them for their friendship or kindness! They’re lightweight and easy to travel with, so there’s no excuse not to carry some along!
4. Travel Lock
When staying in hostels or traveling using public transportation, you’ll want to have a travel lock to secure your bags. I usually just carry one small one which I can use to secure a travel locker or to hold my bag closed if I’m taking a train or a plane. Having a travel lock gives you the peace of mind of not needing to worry about having your backed pickpocketed in busy places. Keep all important belongings deep in your locked back, and keep valuables out of unlocked pockets. There are a lot of different options for travel locks, but I would recommend getting a combination lock rather than a key lock. Make sure the combination is something you easily remember. Better yet, save a copy of your combination in a secure place on your phone for safe keeping.
Keep all important belongings deep in your locked back, and keep valuables out of unlocked pockets. There are a lot of different options for travel locks, but I would recommend getting a combination lock rather than a key lock. Make sure the combination is something you easily remember. Better yet, save a copy of your combination in a secure place on your phone for safe keeping. Note that if you leave a lock on a checked bag through airport security, it’s likely going to be opened. Consider getting a TSA approved lock or having a backup just in case your lock is broken.
3. Eye Mask + Earplugs
I am cursed with the inability to sleep on public transport. It doesn’t matter how long the flight or train is, I have the hardest time falling asleep. I’ll admit to taking a Benadryl or Unisom to help get myself to rest on longer trips. The reality of travel and studying abroad means being busy all the time and needed to get sleep in the few moments of downtime. Whether you’re trying to sleep on the train between cities or in a hostel with 20 other girls, having an eye mask and earplugs is an easy way to ensure a better nights sleep. Just make sure your belongings are secure before you block out the world with an eye mask and/or earplugs or you make yourself an easy target.
2. Travel Alarm Clock
You’re probably asking why you’d need a travel alarm clock when you have your phone? Well, reader, it’s because sometimes you might not have your phone, or your phone might need to charge away from your bed, like in a crowded hostel. Travel alarm clocks are really inexpensive and take up little to no space, and you can keep it right by yourself in bed to be sure you actually wake up when you need to. It’s also always nice to have a small alarm clock to check throughout the night. If you’re sharing a room, you don’t want to wake everyone up with your annoying alarm. It’s not a good way to make friends.
1. Copies of Your Documents
It’s every traveler’s nightmare, but it does happen. You could lose your passport, ID, credit card, or whatever. If this happens, you’ll want to have copies of your documents ready to make the process way less stressful. It’s always good to carry a copy of your passport with you when you travel anyway in case you need it, but I would even recommend leaving extra copies at home with your family in case they need to intervene on your behalf. I would recommend making copies of the following before you step foot on a plane:
- Passport and ID cards
- Credit and debit cards
- Travel Insurance
- Emergency numbers in countries you are traveling
- Host family/dorm/hostel address and contact information
- Plane/train tickets
Keep copies of these documents in your personal belongings and also leave a copy at home, just in case. It’s impossible to 100% avoid any incidents abroad, and accidents happen. Having copies of these documents will help you if something happens. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Consider purchasing a travel organizer to keep your documents secure while you study abroad.
To read the rest of this post, check my other blog Samanthability.com!
What are your must-have travel items? What do you think everyone should bring when they study abroad?
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