7 mistakes to avoid when packing to study abroad​

common packing mistakes when travel abroad

You’ve sent off your applications, bagged a place at your chosen university and have already started to plan life beyond your arrival. But before the fun begins, you need to transport your worldly possessions across land and sea so you have everything you need to make you feel at home.

Simple, you say? Well, you may be in for a surprise…packing slip-ups have the potential to be both costly and awkward – but don’t panic! We’ve uncovered 7 common packing problem that everyone – literally, everyone – makes. So go ahead and have a read, and please try to avoid these common packing mishaps!

1. Exceeding the maximum weight limit

Some of you may sneer, but overpacking is something that’s so easily done – especially if you’re in a rush or are a teensy bit excited – but overweight bags on international flights really can break the bank! Be sure to give yourself enough time to pack properly, take a few minutes to work out things you’re actually likely to need – clothes, books, sports kits – and don’t be tempted to throw it all in, ‘just in case’. Finally, before you leave the house make sure you weigh your case so you know it’s not over the limit – a set of bathroom scales is probably the easiest way to do this.

the weight limit for checked luggage is 50 pounds and mine was 49.5 pounds LMAO CLUTCH

— ashley (@ashSLAYYYYY) June 26, 2016

2. Making bad use of space

There’s really no need to fold everything with oragami-style precision, but it is worth taking a certain degree of care when it comes to packing your case. Remember, your luggage is going to be buffeted around and man-handled a lot, so be sure to pack well so you know its contents are protected. Pack any liquids or toiletries in a waterproof container or plastic bag in case of leaks, and cushion by packing softer items around the outside. Have a go at rolling your clothes instead of folding, to lessen creases and create more room so you don’t overfill your case and risk it bursting.

3. Restricted items

Check out the list of restricted or prohibited items for the country you’re travelling to and don’t pack any of these things – unless you want to spend your first few hours in the country with the local customs officials! Weapons, meat products, plants, alcohol and rare animal products can all be problematic and if you’re carrying large amounts of medication then make sure you have the documentation to justify it. It’s also worth bearing in mind the restrictions on liquids – 100ml or less unless it’s medicine with supporting documents.

4. Packing unnecessary items

Unless you’re going to be studying on top of a mountain in a remote and uninhabited area, the liklihood is that you’ll be able to get hold of the basics no matter where you are. If you’re trying to fit in enough hair product to see you the whole year through, you’re wasting valuable space! Toiletries, books and music can all be purchased locally (or digitally) and are not worth paying excess luggage fees for. If you have lots of items with sentimental value that you can’t throw away but can’t afford to take with you, find a cheap storage option instead or leave them with a relative for safe keeping.

5. Not thinking ahead

When you arrive at your destination you’re going to want a shower/sleep and check in/register without having to unpack every single thing to do it. With this in mind, pack everything you’re likely to need in the first 24-hours in one box or case so when you arrive, you can get settled in right away.

6. Being disorganized on the day

When it comes to the day of your flight make sure you’ve got your head round all the timings. When do you need to be at the airport? Can you check in online in advance and then just baggage drop at the airport? Whatever your estimate, add an extra half hour to allow for possible hold-ups. What you want to avoid is being so late for the plane that you make it but your cases don’t…

7. Believing that nothing could possibly go wrong

Airlines lose bags sometimes – it’s just a fact of life and there ain’t nothing you can do about it! If you’re arriving in a new country and everything you need to get settled is in your checked luggage, you can almost guarantee it will take another couple of days to turn up. So, why not make an emergency ration pack in your hand luggage? Take a spare change of clothes, toiletries within restrictions and essentials like adapters, chargers, papers and equipment that you will need straight away.

All set? Make sure you’ve covered all the points above, then start packing smart – and good luck with your study abroad adventure!


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