How to pack for traveling to another country

pack_zainabali_file
Zainab Ali/File

Traveling and studying abroad comes with a to-do list that starts with obtaining your travel visa and ends with you sitting on your suitcase at 1 a.m. before your flight, trying to get all your clothes to fit in your suitcase. It’s a picture all of us know well, but we always seem to fall into this cycle again and again. We’ve all experienced the frustration of being abroad and forgetting something essential, but let us emphasize that overpacking is your worst enemy. But don’t worry, we at the Clog are here to relieve some of your travel woes.

1. Essentials

By “essentials,” we mean things that you absolutely will not want to forget on your trip, because you won’t be able to obtain these once you land in a foreign country. This includes a form of identification, though we recommend carrying more than one. You should have your passport anyway, since you’re traveling abroad, but we also recommend you bring your driver’s license. Another thing to remember when traveling abroad is your travel visa. Oftentimes, this’ll come in the form of a sticker or a piece of paper that you should put inside your passport. You should also keep your health insurance card printed and placed in your wallet in case something  happens while you’re abroad. Another useful tip is to write down the emergency number of the country or countries you’re visiting while traveling. Better safe than sorry!

2. Second-tier essentials

Some of these items include things like your phone and laptop chargers, portable battery packs, earbuds, one or two books (if you must take more, download them on your phone or Kindle), a device that can take photos, and voltage adapters (buy more than one if you need to use more than one device at a time). You don’t want to be caught trying to look things up on your laptop or trying to look for directions on your phone when your devices die on you. It’s also more difficult to get U.S. devices and products shipped to foreign countries because of the difference in voltage, so don’t forget to pack these essential items! Books will save you when you don’t have signal in a foreign country and you have time to pass. Unless you’re going to Canada, Mexico or Japan, you’ll need voltage adapters for your devices to be functional. It’s also important to note that many countries don’t have accessible water fountains, and you’ll often find yourself paying for water daily if you don’t have a water bottle. It may feel like a hassle, but pack a water bottle to save money while abroad.

3. Clothes!

For clothes, please resist the urge to overpack. Bring enough underwear to last you a week, socks that match, your favorite heavy-duty jacket, a light jacket and possibly a rain jacket if the country you are visiting often experiences rain. You should aim to pack two pairs of jeans, five T-shirts and one cardigan or sweater. Trust us. This sounds like nothing, but chances are, you’ll end up shopping during your trip, and your luggage will almost certainly expand. Try to pack one pair of dressier clothes just in case an occasion pops up while you’re abroad.

4. Shoes and accessories

Stick to one or two pairs of walking shoes and one pair of dressier shoes. If it rains often in the country you’re visiting, pack a pair of rain boots. Don’t reach for any more! It won’t be long before all your shoes are sitting in your luggage. As for bags, you shouldn’t need more than one for walking through the city. If you plan on going somewhere with more drastic weather changes or trekking, plan on bringing a backpack that you can double as an extra source of luggage where you can stash your trinkets and gifts that you’ll have acquired from your trip on the way back home.

5. A journal for memories

Bring just one journal, so you can log all the crazy, fun and exciting adventures you’ll experience while traveling abroad. You should keep a couple pens or pencils in your luggage in case you want to write something down in said journal.

This list of items may sound constricting compared to what you may have planned on packing. If this is the case, use it as a guideline for what you can keep or eliminate when packing. Be conscious of things that you may want to buy while abroad, and make space for these things in your baggage. If you plan on bringing another suitcase, it’s important to remember that you may be alone once you get to your destination, so you may find yourself rolling two suitcases with a backpack by yourself. Many of the public transportation systems lack elevators and sometimes escalators, and taxis are often expensive. Try to keep these factors in mind when packing. In any case, you’re headed off for adventure! Get psyched and try not to stress about things like packing. You’ll be out of here in no time.

Contact Chelsea Song at [email protected].

Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
Read our full comment policy