Things NOT to Pack When Studying Abroad

by Fae Esperas

Not everybody gets to travel and study in another country, so once the opportunity presents itself, and your ducks are in a row, the trip should be fully taken advantage of. The first step to a fulfilling trip, is having what you need and leaving what you don’t. Don’t get bogged down by unneeded items in your suitcase, because they will literally weigh your trip down.

Lots of clothes
Lots of clothes. Photo by the GoAbroad Writing Team

1. A relationship.

Are you currently in a relationship? Well, if you're not totally serious with your partner yet, then it may be better to break things off before you actually leave for the trip. Let's face it: long distance relationships are not for the faint hearted; even the strongest couples still have the tendency to fall out when living apart, embarking on different pathways, and experiencing life in alternative ways. 

Being in a long distance relationship can also be an impediment to making the most out of your study abroad experience. You'll start missing your significant other and eventually limit the amount of time you spend meeting new people so you can maximize your time skyping, chatting, and writing letters to you know who.

2. Food.

Bringing food is not really a no-no, but it can cause you some drama at the airport and lessen opportunities for palette growth. Some foods and other consumable goods that are normal in your home country are not allowed to be transfered in to another country. You may not be able to pass airport security if you hold on to these items, and cause yourself some additional time at security checkpoints, although usually the worst thing that can happen is disposal of your treasured goods.

There may be some foods you feel you just can’t fully live without, if so first check if they are available at your destination before trekking the globe with them in tow. Secondly, double check if they can be transported across borders legally. However, most importantly, seriously consider if you can live without them, it will give you greater opportunities to explore the cuisine the locals live off of.

3. Lots of clothes.

No, it is not practical to bring your whole closet with you when studying abroad. Aside from adding excess weight to your limited baggage requirement, you will most likely not be able to wear all the jeans, shirts, and shoes you could attempt to stuff in your suitcase. You should definitely research the location first and see what ideal clothes to pack depending on the current weather conditions and climate variations of the country.

Prioritize. It's not efficient to bring a lot of clothes, and they will eventually eat up valuable space in the long run as you acquire new clothes and souvenirs throughout your travels.

4. Wads of cash.

Did you know that governments set limits on the amount of cash foreign travelers can bring into the country? They do this to prevent money laundering operations, thus there is only a certain amount of cash that you can bring when entering another country, and it may not be enough to last an entire semester abroad.

Sure, you need money. But at the same time you may want to place your money somewhere safe, like in a bank account and utilize an ATM card, instead of a giant, vulnerable wallet. Depending on the location, credit cards are often a good back up plan too. Plastic money can prove to be more convenient in countries where cards are widely accepted, especially when you factor in the annoyance of juggling multiple currencies and the ever-fluctuating exchange rates around the world.