For Students: An Exciting Plunge into Academics and Foreign Cultures
Packing Tips
When preparing for your semester, year or summer abroad, keep in mind the general packing tips included in this section. You’ll want to read your IFSA-Butler predeparture newsletters and Preparing to Study Abroad for more specific guidelines on your host country.

Don’t get caught with
Heath and safety
Luggage guidelines
Packing 101
Sheets and linens
The ideal carry-on bag

  • A hooded rainproof coat with a zip-out lining
  • At least one sweater, unless you’re studying on a Northern Hemisphere summer program
  • A heavy sweatshirt
  • Jeans (two or three pairs)
  • Pants (one or two pairs)
  • Turtlenecks and button-down shirts (three or four)
  • T-shirts (three or four)
  • Two pairs of comfortable, waterproof walking shoes
  • One dressy outfit with the appropriate shoes
  • A warm hat, a scarf and gloves, unless you’re studying on a Northern Hemisphere summer program
  • Long underwear
  • Undergarments, socks, pajamas
  • Workout clothes

Don’t get caught with
  • Expensive or sentimental jewelry
  • Drugs or drug paraphernalia
  • Electrical appliances (voltages in most countries are different)
  • Anything that could be considered a weapon

Health and safety
  • Any prescription medications (leave them in their labeled containers)
  • Written prescriptions for refills (use the generic name)
  • Spare contact lenses and glasses
  • One month’s supply of contact solution
  • Toiletries

Luggage guidelines
  • Most airlines allow international passengers to check two bags and bring one bag onboard the flight. The weight limits for checked bags ranges from 20 to 70 pounds each and usually there is a size limit as well. If you bring luggage that exceeds your airline’s weight or size limits, the airline will charge you a penalty for each leg of your trip.
  • IFSA-Butler staff do not carry luggage. You'll have to carry your own bags everywhere, so be sure that you can carry all of your luggage comfortably.
  • A backpack is a great idea, but be sure you can wear it comfortably. Be sure to try on your backpack before buying it; don’t buy through a catalog or online.
  • Don’t feel that you have to fill up your bags. You want to bring home your class notes, books, souvenirs, etc.
  • Think about the climate in your host country; read your predeparture newsletters and Preparing to Study Abroad for more information.

  • Address book
  • Portable battery-powered alarm clock
  • Simple recipes
  • Family photo
  • Journal
  • Sewing kit
  • Small first aid kit

Packing 101
  • Pack dark, color-coordinated clothes.
  • If losing something would affect your happiness, leave it at home.
  • Theft happens.
  • Travelers accumulate stuff.
  • Jeans take forever to dry.
  • Bring tapes or CDs.
  • Break in your walking shoes.
  • Backpacks allow you to keep your hands free.
  • Carry on luggage must fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. Not everyone gets an overhead bin!
  • Label your luggage inside and out.
  • Make sure your can lift your bags.
  • Liquids (shampoos, toothpaste) have a tendency to ooze; pack them in a plastic bag.
  • Pack what you’ll need first on top.
  • Airline people are not sympathetic to tears, so do not overpack. They can make you re-pack your bags on the floor of the airport and that can be very embarrassing.
  • Use a plastic bag to separate dirty and clean clothes.

  • Current home university course catalog
  • Up-to-date transcript (a student copy is fine)
  • Preparing to Study Abroad
  • Name, phone number, fax number and e-mail address of your academic advisor at your home college or university
  • Name and e-mail of your IFSA-Butler coordinator

Sheets and linens
  • Used towels
  • Used sheets (if required by your housing; you may also purchase sheets while overseas)

The ideal carry-on bag
  • Your passport
  • Your tickets
  • Travel-size toiletries
  • Something to read and something to listen to
  • Spare clothes in case your luggage is lost (it happens!)
  • Any medications
  • Your spare glasses
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Camera
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