Traveling around the world in any regard requires quite a lot of preparations, accommodation reservations, tickets, budgeting, currency conversion, and the list goes on. When you are studying abroad, your travel plans will expand even further to include paying tuition fees, enrolling in courses, applying for scholarships, organizing academic credit transfers, and securing just the right visa.
No matter where you are traveling, for many the hardest part about traveling is packing. On the other hand, your decision of what to bring and what to leave at home will be entirely dependent on where you are going and what you are doing.
However, what to bring for when you are in transit never changes, thankfully. There are some items that are just always great to have, whether you are stuck in a seat aboard a plane thousands of feet in the sky or wandering around a random airport anywhere in the world. Here are 10 items that I never leave at home!
1. Passport Holder
The perfect place to keep essential documents all in one place. These handy organizers will also save you time searching for miscellaneous documents when you venture through security checkpoints or check in counters.
2. World Plug Converter
Don’t arrive at an airport for your layover with a dead battery and no way to charge your electronics, bring a converter for the country you are traveling to or one for the whole world. Nowadays there are compact ones that fill fit easily in any carry on too. If you can’t charge your phone or computer upon arrival you could be left with no way to communicate with loved ones or be left bored out of your mind on a long layover (Note to self: a battery bank is also a good investment!).
3 . Neck Pillow
Save your neck on long flights and bring along a neck pillow. Blow up neck pillows offer comfort and convenience since they don’t take up as much space in your bag. This simple travel accessory will help you sleep soundly on aboard and arrive without horrible kinks in your neck.
4. Crosswords, Word Searches, & Sudoku
All of these will help work your brain, distract your mind, and help you fall asleep on board. You can even get mini puzzle books so you don’t use up much space or weight. They are also great for airports where you might only have a few minutes or a few too many hours of waiting. On-board movies are often old or ones you’ve already seen, so puzzle books can become a go-to form of entertainment no matter what.
5. Fuzzy Socks
Keep you feet warm while flying with warm, comfortable socks. Ideally, you should slip rubber soled socks in your carry on which allow you to walk about the plane without slipping your shoes on.
6. Toiletry Bag
These organization bags can provide you easy access to all necessary toiletries throughout your trip. You can keep your toothbrush, face wipes, glasses, and anything else you might want on board, right under the seat in front of you instead of fumbling with over head bins. Especially on long haul flights, toiletry bags are an essential component to having a comfortable flight and arriving at your destination without feeling like you are in complete disarray.
7. Nutritious Snacks
Plane food is not always very nutritious and delicious, and the food in airports can often leave you feeling greasy and bloated. So it it always a great idea to pack nutritious snacks like nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, or anything else with real nutritional value and energy. Keep your body running well and your wallet a little fuller by preparing for hunger ahead of time. A little something sweet stored for a moment of grogginess never hurts either.
Whether you are on the place over night, or you arrive at your destination right before bed, melatonin is always helpful to have at hand. This over-the-counter supplement will help you wake up feeling refreshed no matter what timezone you end up on. It helps your body adjust to the right sleeping schedule and fall asleep at the right times (aka. combat jetlag!).
9. Chewing Gum
Useful for not only bad breath, gum can help with ear popping and filling in the blanks when searching or waiting for food to eat. As usual, gum can also help pass the time by keeping your mouth busy for a while.
Planes and airports are frequently all over the place when it comes to temperature. You can get on and be sweating and half way through get chills down your spine. Therefore, it is a good idea to pack a shawl of some type to keep you warm on board, on layovers, or upon arrival. Shawls are easy to take on and off when crammed in a small seat, which inevitably happens throughout travel abroad. They can also double as a scarf upon arrival to cold destinations.
Now that you are ready for your travels, it's time to pick your destination, and most importantly, the perfect study abroad program for you!