How I Packed for 5 Months of Studying Abroad

As mentioned in my previous post about getting prepared to go abroad, my biggest struggle throughout this process has been figuring out what to pack. I wanted to make a list of the things I am packing in order to help those who choose to study abroad have a better starting point than I did. This list will be pretty detailed because that is simply how my brain works, so please skip over things you’re not interested in. I plan on posting an update about half way through my trip about what worked and if I regretted packing anything. So here it goes:

Important Documents/information: I quadruple checked that I had these items because I was so nervous that I would accidentally forget one and be stuck in an airport for hours getting in trouble with immigration.

  • Passport
  • Student Visa
  • Driver’s license
  • Offer of Admissions from the University of Auckland
  • Insurance information
  • Guidebook (my mom got me this one and it’s amazing )
  • Pre-departure letter from ISA, my program
  • Pre-departure handbook from Chapman University, my home university

Money: I keep everything money related in my wallet so I made sure to clear this of all the junk that I would no longer need abroad. This meant all American loyalty cards, gift cards, and recreation cards were put into another wallet that I will not be using until I return to the states. This lightened my wallet and allowed more room for the important stuff. Also, do not forget that most places abroad only accept cards with chips, so make sure that your cards are updated.

  • American money ($10)
  • New Zealand money ($100)
  • Debit card
  • Credit card

Entertainment: I am the type of person who is easily bored when I’m not surrounded by my friends and family. This means I am definitely prone to boredom in an airport, so much so that I will literally walk back and forth on the moving walkways to pass time no matter how insane it makes me look.

  • Coloring book
  • Colored pencils (the smell of crayons is something I cannot stand)
  • Sudoku book
  • Logic puzzle book (this on is only a dollar! )
  • Reading material (I chose this one  )

Electronics: I am extremely connected digitally and I’m also obsessed with documenting experiences, so you can imagine that I am the type of person to carry around all the electronics I deem necessary. Luckily many of these items can also be used as a form of entertainment, so that’s convenient.

  • MacBook & charger
  • Iphone & charger
  • Earphones
  • Portable phone charger
  • Fuji film camera
    • Extra film
  • Kodak digital camera
  • Go pro
  • Small video camera
  • 2 flash drives for extra storage

Comfort: No one wants to be uncomfortable on a 13 hour flight, especially not me. I brought a few items to make sure that I would not walk off the plane with

  • Empty water bottle (fill it up in the airport)
  • Snacks (TSA and Jaden approved / / )
  • Neck Pillow
  • Scarf (can be used as a scarf or blanket for warmth as well as put over eyes in place of an uncomfortable eye mask)

School supplies: No matter how much traveling to New Zealand sounds like a vacation, I am actually going for school so I wanted to bring a few items in order to feel prepared. Not to mention, I am the biggest school supply junkie there is so I definitely have items I wouldn’t want to risk not being able to get abroad.

  • Planner
  • Planner stamps (planner decoration is a hobby I’m not willing to give up while abroad haha)
  • Travel journal
  • Lined post-it notes
  • Tiny post-it notes
  • 4 pocket folders
  • 2 notebooks

Toiletries: Besides the items that I cannot live without, aka my toner and moisturizer, I will not be bringing any full size items since I will be able to purchase them abroad. They weigh too much to make them worth taking when there is a weight limit on all luggage while traveling such a long distance. Also, these items vary for everyone so this list is what was relevant to me.

  • Any medication you may need (make sure it will be cleared by customs)
    • Birth control
    • Dramamine
  • Extra contacts
  • Contact solution
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Tide to-go stick
  • Travel size perfume
  • Q-tips
  • Body wash
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Makeup

Clothes: This will be the least detailed list out of all of them because although I am obsessed with my clothing after trying to fit the requirements of the airlines I was flying, I had to get rid of clothing last minute. A tip I came across that I strayed from a bit but found extremely helpful when going through my stuff was to take 3 tops for every 1 bottom. This helped me to make some better decisions and not just try to shove everything into my suitcase.

  • Tops
    • Workout shirts (tank tops, short sleeves, and long sleeves)
    • Every day tops (tank tops, short sleeves, and long sleeves)
  • Bottoms
    • Shorts (jean shorts, spandex, and cotton work out shorts)
    • Skirts (I took 2 circle skirts)
    • Pants (jeans, sweatpants, and leggings)
  • Dresses
    • A mix of styles including
      • Going out
      • Casual
      • Nice enough to wear to brunch
  • Outwear
    • 1 coat
    • Jackets
    • Sweatshirts
    • 1 cardigan
  • Delicates (I took all my underwear and short socks as well as a few crew socks)
  • Shoes
    • White converse
    • All black converse
    • Black riding boots (I will be wearing these on the plane to save space)
    • Black combat boots
    • Nikes
    • Black studded sandals
    • Black flip-flops
    • Brown booties with fringe
  • Accessories
    • Bags
      •  Duffle bag
      • Backpack
      • Cross body
      • Fanny pack
    • Scarf
    • 1 pair of gloves
    • 2 hats (1 baseball cap, 1 beanie)
    • Prescription glasses
    • Sunglasses

Conclusion: That’s a pretty good summary of what I brought with me, so I hope that helps you if you’re planning a trip abroad soon. In the end, only time will tell if what I brought was enough, too much, or just right.


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