10 things to consider while packing your bags before traveling abroad for studies

November 11, 2019


F1 Visa, Health Insurance, Travel Insurance

Traveling abroad for studies can cause a lot of anxiety, especially for those students who are venturing out of their home for the first time. Besides the usual apprehension about facing uncertainties in foreign shore, there is also a lingering fear about forgetting to pack something important that one might need while abroad.

Therefore, in this blog Student Cover tries to highlight the ten things to consider while packing your bags before traveling abroad for studies. One is also advised to pack things well in advance and not leave it for the last moment.


These include travel documents such as air-ticket and passport. While most air-ticketing these days is done online and a copy of it can always be retrieved from the mailbox in the smart phone or laptop, one must not forget to pack the passport in hand luggage. Students going abroad to countries like USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc. for higher studies are also advised to carry a copy of their university/college admission offer letter as well as academic certificates letter in the hand luggage.


Those, undergoing medication for any ongoing disease, should ensure that they carry sufficient amount of medicines to last at least a couple of months. It is also advisable to take the letter of treating doctor’s recommendation to be shown at the immigration counter (if asked) as well as to purchase them (or their generic version) in the foreign country. Unlike India, it is not easy to purchase medicines that are not Over-the-Counter (OTC) in countries like UK, US, Australia etc.


While the price of clothes in countries like the US is not as high as in India, in certain other countries, especially the UK and EU countries, they might be very costly. Considering the time of the year, one should take sufficient amount of clothes to last one season. One should take clothes based on the prevailing local climate of the country that they are visiting.

For example, while Florida (US) may have warm and temperate climate throughout the year, it gets extremely chilly in American states up North and in Canada. Note: Since Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are in the Southern Hemisphere, it is winter in the months of June-July and summer during November-December. One should keep that in mind while packing clothes.


Since it is mandatory for international students to have a health insurance plan during their study in countries like the US, they should not forget to carry the soft as well as hard-copy of their insurance documents. In case one doesn’t have the hard copy of the health insurance plan, they should at least take a print-out of their insurance card and keep with them in their hand luggage. The same applies for travel insurance. One should not make the mistake of putting documents in their check-in luggage.


It is advisable to keep a copy of one’s immediate contact in the foreign country as well as one’s contacts back home in their hand-luggage, wallet as well as check-in luggage. The contact details should be properly written with address (including Zip Code), phone number and email ID clearly mentioned. It should also have the contact address and phone number of the person that one should contact in case the student meets with an emergency.


Each country has its own currency for financial transactions. Students who go abroad to developed countries do not need to carry a lot of cash as most transactions are done either through cash cards or credit cards. However, one should not forget to carry some cash, or at least an internationally accepted cash card in order to meet initial expenses and financial requirements. One can get the currency exchanged at various exchange counters at the airport or get it done in advance through a bank or a certified currency converter.


Every country has its own set of rules regarding the substances that are allowed into the country. Students should make sure that they do not pack those items, be it chemicals, food items, equipment, antique or contraband products that are not allowed in that country. For example, certain countries do not allow clothes made of fur or body part of certain protected species of animals.
Similarly, certain edible such as alcohol is banned in several Islamic countries. If one is going to Germany or the EU, try avoiding those clothes, items or ornaments that have the ‘Swastika’ symbol. While many of these products may not land you in jail, they may get confiscated by the immigration officials.


Due to low cost of printing, the cost of books and study material in India is far less than that in developed countries. However, for a student studying in a college or university in the US, UK, Australia, Germany etc., getting access to good quality books should not be a problem. Nevertheless, it is better to throw in a few good books and journals, by Indian writers and publishers that one is unlikely to find abroad.


Certain gadgets such as chargers, adapters, external hard drive etc. are easily available in India as in the US, UK, Canada or Australia. However, the cost and quality might differ substantially between those purchased in India and abroad. Therefore, it is prudent for one to pack extra pair of chargers, adapters and other such electronic accessories that one might require abroad. Never put those electronic items that contain battery or have an inbuilt power source in the check-in luggage.


Last but not the least, always prepare a checklist in advance. At the time of packing, one might not be able to immediately recall the things that one needs to pack even if it is the most essential item. A checklist comes handy in such situation.

Let’s Wrap Up!

Packing is one of the important pre-departure activities for any student leaving for abroad. While packing bag before going abroad to study, students should make a list of things that they would require abroad. The things to pack may include documents, medicines, clothes, insurance papers and books and study material. They should also be very careful what they should put in the check-in luggage and cabin luggage. They must avoid taking substances that may be banned in the destination country.

Disclaimer: The content of the following article is based on the personal research of the writer. Readers are advised to exercise discretion. Student Cover will not be liable for any wrongful interpretation of the content of this article.

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