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Packing Tips

As you begin to pack for your journey abroad, remember that many basic items such as toiletries can be purchased almost anywhere in the world.  People wear clothes wherever you’re traveling to. You can always buy clothing items abroad. (Keep this in mind as you “pack light”!)

Make a checklist

Pack using a checklist to ensure you bring everything you need.  

Review the U.S. Department of State Traveler’s Checklist for helpful packing tips.

Here is a basic checklist to get you started!

  • Passport/Visa
  • ATM/Credit card/Cash
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Addresses (hard copy)
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Health insurance information
  • Eyegasses l contact prescription and
    extra contacts and supplies
  • Camera + batteries, memory cards
  • Clothes (layer clothing)
  • Toiletries
  • Medications with prescriptions (keep
    medications in original bottles)
  • Journal
  • Backpack
  • Money belt/neck pouch
  • Travel combination lock
  • Rain gear
  • Electrical converter and/or adapter
  • First aid kit
  • Alarm clock (battery operated)
  • Headset with microphone
  • Roll-up toilet kit



Travel cartoon: A man at airport check-in with lots of bags says,

  • Pack light to reduce the weight!
  • Label all bags and luggage, and tie a piece of string or a recognizable ribbon or tag on your suitcase for easy identification at the baggage carousel. 
  • Bring a comfortable backpack.
  • Use a TSA-approved lock. (Other locks are discouraged because officials in other countries may take them off to inspect your luggage.)
  • Be familiar with TSA requirements and airline bag limits.
  • Keep essentials in your carry-on bag: documents, change of clothes, prescription medications, toiletries, etc. Pack at least one outfit with underwear and socks in the carry-on in case your checked suitcase arrives after you do.
  • Toiletries: review TSA rules for liquids. (You will have to take out your clear plastic bag full of liquids when you go through security.) Bring just a small amount and buy more locally as needed.
  • Make sure your laptop/purse/briefcase will completely fit under the airplane seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment. (You will probably have to take out your tablet or laptop when you go through security.)

Clothing for travel overseas

  • Wear relaxed yet “nicer” or more presentable clothes, interchangeable items.
  • Limit your wear of printed or labeled clothing from home that marks you as foreigner.
  • Be respectful of local culture and demonstrate modesty (no short shorts or flip-flops).
  • Comfortable walking shoes and sandals are vital.
  • Consider the climate at your host location.
  • Remove inessential items from your wallet or money belt.
  • Pack light: remember you can buy supplemental clothing abroad, if necessary

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