Determining What to Take and What to Leave Behind When Living Abroad

College-aged students are – by no doubt – consistently mobile. Whether they live in the dorms or in an off-campus apartment, students’ lives tend to be in a state of fluctuation as they take time to learn and explore. One of the challenges with frequent moves and temporary living arrangements is knowing what to pack and how to pack. Many students, for example, choose to study in a foreign country for a semester or longer. Questions that come up with these students include what to take, what to leave behind, and what items may be inappropriate to take due to inconvenience or custom restrictions in the host country. Some companies and experts provide general advice on student shipping options for this scenario.

Making the decision to study in another country can be an exciting time, but you don’t want to damper that excitement by stressing over not knowing what to take with you. Examples of items that can be left behind include health and beauty items such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and makeup. Since most of these items can be replenished or replaced at your destination, it simply doesn’t make sense to load down your luggage space with them. It also doesn’t make sense to spend the money to ship them to your destination. Another example of items to leave at home include personal effects, such as pictures and mementos (e.g. candles, commemorative gifts). Heavy textbooks and paper-based books should also be left behind since they can take up unnecessary space and be difficult to keep track of.

Examples of items to take with you include practical clothing items that will work with several outfits and occasions. A good pair of practical tennis shoes, jeans and cotton-based shirts can be paired multiple times and work in multiple scenarios. Some degree of electronic-based items, such as an e-reader, a cell phone, and a tablet are good examples of items to take. You’ll want to check your host country’s electronic standards to see if you’ll need a different type of charger or adapter for your current charging cords. While space, portability, and cost efficiency are paramount, you also want to ensure you’re not leaving anything behind that will be of necessity for your studies. Traveling and living abroad can be a wonderful experience, but it requires thoughtful planning. Start by going through your items and determining what you need versus what you want.