July 5, 2024

The Ultimate Packing List For Study Abroad Students

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The Ultimate Packing List For Study Abroad Students

Packing for a study abroad can be daunting, whether for an entire quarter, semester, or even a few weeks. As you prepare to immerse yourself in a different part of the world, one crucial step stands between you and your exciting destination: packing. Whether you’re heading to a bustling city or a beachside town, having the right items can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable study abroad. 

In this guide, we will help you navigate the dos and don'ts of packing for a study abroad. So, grab your favorite TOM BIHN travel bag and accessories, and let's get packing! 


Notes From A Former Study Abroad Student

As someone who went on a study abroad, here is a list of things that I wish I had known before I packed.


Before any trip, research is a must! Consider the weather and the style of the country you are visiting. You will also want to consider the activities you will do on your trip. Will you be hiking? Going to the beach? Walking around the city? Going to museums and galleries? Keep these activities in mind while you pack and form your packing list. 

Here is a list of necessities we recommend for your own travel packing checklist–this list can be modified based on your destination, trip duration, and personal preferences. 

Clothing Toiletries Electronics Travel Documents Miscellaneous

How To Pack Like A Study Abroad Like A Pro

Depending on the duration of your study abroad, you may have a lot or a little to pack. Regardless, it could feel like you simply do not have enough room in your travel bag. However, it is not worth overstuffing your bag. To help you fit everything on your travel checklist in the bags, we’ve compiled a few of our best packing tips.

Ask yourself, do I really need this? 

It is a habit to pack everything and anything when you're going on a long trip, especially a study abroad where you will be living in another country for months. However, this can make your trip less enjoyable when you're lugging around heavy bags and have no room for souvenirs. Instead, make a list of the absolute necessities to go in your bag and consider what could be purchased once you’re at your destination. Consider purchasing shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, or anything that takes up an excessive amount of room once you’re at your destination. 

Determine The Perfect Travel Bag For Your Needs

Picking out the perfect travel bag for your study abroad is important in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable trip. I recommend using a travel backpack rather than a rolling suitcase as they are more mobile and less bulky–which is important when you arrive at your destination. If you’re able to fit an entire study abroad’s worth of necessities in a travel backpack, we recommend the Techonaut 45 or any other large travel bag that can be worn on the back. Standard Airlines allows you to have one free carry-on bag and one smaller personal item. Use these two bags to pack all of your necessities. 

Maximize Space In Your Bag By Rolling Your Clothes

Maximizing space in your bag is key to making sure you can fit all your items without overstuffing. Rolling your clothes rather than folding them can save space in your bag. Rolling helps to compress clothing and allows you to make the most out of the space you have. Here’s how to roll different clothing items: 



  1. Start by folding the shirt in half vertically so that the sleeves are pressed together.
  2. Lay the sleeves over the body of the shirt so that you have a rectangular shape to work with.
  3. Smooth out the shirt to get rid of any wrinkles, then roll it up tightly.


  1. Fold the pants in half—one pant leg should lay on top of the other, with the outer pockets facing out.
  2. Smooth out the pants and roll them up tightly.

Use Organizers to Separate Items In Your Bag

When traveling for a study abroad, things can become misplaced very easily. We recommend using internal organizers to keep everything together. The more organized you are when you pack, the less time it will take to find things you need when you’re on your trip. From packing cubes to laundry sacks, there are many different packing tools you can use to stay organized while traveling. 


Packing Cubes

These small bags come in various sizes and colors, making it easy to organize clothing, shoes, and other items in your travel bag. 

For example, you could use different colored packing cubes to organize clothing, such as pajamas in a blue bag and swimwear and workout gear in a red one. 

You can also use smaller packing bags, such as the Cubelet or 3D Organizer Cube, to store miscellaneous items like charging cables, travel documents, etc. These smaller bags can also be converted into a shoulder bag with one of our shoulder straps–making for a perfectly small on-the-go bag once you're at your destination. 


Toiletry Bags

Rather than dumping everything in your bag and digging it out when you arrive, keeping everything in a designated toiletry bag makes it easy to find. Keeping all of your toiletries separate also protects your clothing from potential spillage. 

Clear organizers are a great option for liquid toiletries, like shower gel or face wash. The Clear 3D Organizer Cube meets the TSA guidelines for liquids and makes for the ideal toiletry bag. 

Keep Travel Essentials In A Smaller Bag

It is vital to keep all of your go-to items in an easily accessible location. Keep all travel documents, water bottles, in-flight entertainment, and necessary toiletries in a small organizer bag within an easily accessible bag, perhaps in your personal item.

Traveling for a study abroad can be a daunting task, but with the right preparation and packing strategy, it doesn’t have to be.  No matter where you’re heading or for how long, the key to a great experience is a well-packed bag. 

We hope that this guide has provided some relief for your upcoming study abroad. The most important tip is to have fun and enjoy every moment–and don’t forget to send a postcard here and there!

Bon Voyage!


Mark - July 7, 2024

Great post. Very excited to see what the upcoming travel bag is – not to mention the other project and the Synik 26! Hoping for the 400d replacement before too long as well, everything is crossed haha

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