Browse our university guidance

What's on this page

An aeroplane wing with blue sky in the background

Traveling abroad for university

As a student planning to study abroad, there are several things to consider before traveling to your new country. We discuss several steps to consider before you leave home.

Book ahead

As with most elements of studying abroad, it pays to get ahead of the game and research and book your flights as soon as possible. As it gets closer to the date of departure, air fees tend to rise and availability may become more limited.

If you are traveling by other means, such as train or coach, the same rules still apply. Give yourself plenty of time to find the best deals and the most straightforward routes while you have the most choice available to you.

Read about where you are going

If you have never been to the city or country before, try and read up on the area, get an understanding of the different places in the city and the layout. This kind of information will help you to feel more familiar with your surroundings when you arrive. Small things like knowing where shops and cafes are will help you to settle in. Perhaps you can read some history about your destination, and find out about some of the best places to visit.

What to pack when traveling abroad

When you are traveling abroad for your studies, you may find your packing list is a bit different from going on holiday. It is good to try and pack as light as you can, purely for your own convenience when moving from place to place. With that in mind, try not to bring more than you really need with you.


A simple tip would be to invest in appropriate luggage. You might find that a large backpack with secure fastening is the best option while you travel, so you can secure your valuables safely, and also so that you have a convenient way to carry your belongings.


Clothing is one of the first items you will consider when packing. Pay attention to the season and the weather to expect when you arrive. You will thank yourself for packing suitable clothing on your arrival. If it’s going to be hot – pack lightweight clothing. If it’s going to be raining, bring a waterproof jacket! Try not to overload yourself by bringing your whole wardrobe, but do bring a sensible mix of clothing that can be worn together in different combinations. Try to bring only a sensible amount of pairs of shoes, and make sure that at least one pair is practical and comfortable.


Bring your passport and your study visa! In most cases when you study abroad, you will be required to have a student visa. If you have this document in physical form, consider bringing photocopies of this document with you. If you have a digital version, bring a backup on a USB drive, along with digital images of your passport, should you lose the physical version. You may also need to bring copies of items such as your birth certificate and evidence of health insurance.


Access to money when you arrive can be very useful, particularly in your first week. It may be wise to bring some local currency with you so you can buy drinks and snacks upon your arrival. In the longer term, make sure you have a credit card or debit card ready for withdrawing money or paying for items in your new country.


While it may be tempting to bring your entire collection of toiletries, it is much better to pack only the essentials that you will need in the short term. Consider this to mean items like a toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash/soap, deodorant and essential makeup items. Anything else, you can buy in your new location, and make it one of your first fun shopping trips!

Power adapters and electronic items

The chances are that you are bringing your mobile phone, a laptop and maybe other items like a tablet computer with you. You might be in the position that you can buy some of these goods when you arrive, which makes packing easier, but if you are bringing them with you – make sure you bring your power adaptors with you! If you can, bring a convertor plug for your new destination, but don’t worry too much as these can be found easily when you arrive.

Complete the checklist before you leave

We have put together a Google Document checklist for packing your essentials for studying abroad. Feel free to make a copy of this, download it, expand on it and print it as you wish!

View the Study Abroad Packing Checklist here:

Goingto.University packing checklist study abroad packing checklist
The Study Abroad Packing Checklist. Click the image to go to the document.