Packing is an art, whether you’re going away for six days or six months. The great thing about packing for your student exchange programme is that you have the chance to hone that life-skill, so whenever you travel abroad in the
Do your research
Learn as much as you can about your exchange country, family and educational establishment, as you’ll need to adapt your packing accordingly. Wherever you’re going, top of every list (and in the bottom of every suitcase or backpack) is a pair of really comfortable shoes or walking boots. Make the best use of space by filling these up with as many pairs of socks as you can. You can also roll up underwear tightly and put that in too.
Don’t underestimate what you’ll need for a cold and possibly wet climate. It’s possible to get waterproof over-trousers and a jacket that will roll up very small, and you can keep these tightly packed using strong elastic bands. Alternatively, for hot climates make sure you have appropriate lightweight clothes in cooling fabrics, bearing in mind that acceptable street wear in some countries for both men and women might be more modest and well-covered than at home.
Pack essentials first
As well as well-fitting shoes, comfortable casual clothing is essential, especially for traveling and everyday wear. This might be your favorite jeans or whatever makes you feel relaxed. T-shirts, shirts or blouses should be non-crease whenever possible.
Remember: the less you have, the less you have to worry about. However, it’s always advisable to have some clothing that’s both easy-care and smart. Formal dressing is an established part of social life in some countries. Choose the right fabrics, plus items that will mix and match well while going from casual to smart and day to night.
Be realistic about what you can take
When flying it’s as well to be aware of the size of baggage that’s permissible on board and in the cabin. This varies a lot, so never assume that you’ll be OK with the cases that you have. You can find references to the different measurements here.
Check out what’s allowed, too, and whether it can go as hand luggage. If you’re on regular medication make sure you have more than enough to cover your needs, with documentation. Stock up on feminine hygiene products if required. Don’t forget glasses and contact lenses!
The small stuff matters
There are some familiar essentials that don’t take up much room but make a difference to your comfort, such as:
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, brush,
- Phone, charger, headphones
- Nail clippers
Your document file
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget your documents. Keep them together in a small, sturdy folder. This is particularly important if something should go wrong with your travel plans. As a passenger, you have legal rights when problems arise. Keeping full documentation and being aware of your rights means you have more chance of compensation. Don’t leave without checking out your rights on the GIVT website here.