16 Essentials for a Study Abroad Packing List

Study abroad packing list
Credit: Amazon

The holidays may be over, but study abroad students are just starting to gear up for their travels. As a parent of a soon-to-be traveler, it can be daunting trying to ensure your student is prepared for the exciting new adventures they are about to embark on whether they’re heading to Italy or Costa Rica. To ease some of the pressure, we’ve put together a comprehensive study abroad packing list that will make your (and your student’s) life easier. 

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Our Top Picks

  1. Best Passport Cover: Melsbrinna Leather Passport Holder – $9.99 at Amazon
  2. Best Travel Backpack: Matein Travel Backpack  – $29.99 at Amazon
  3. Best Portable Charger: iWalk Mini Portable Charger – $25.99 at Amazon
  4. Best Outlet Converter Kit: Romeda Universal Adapter – $7.99 at Amazon
  5. Best Reusable Water Bottle: Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Water Bottle – 49.95 at Amazon

The Best Study Abroad Packing List Items

1. A Leather Passport Cover: Melsbrinna Leather Passport Holder and Open Story Passport Cover

Study abroad packing list: Passport cover
Credit: Amazon

Starting our list is something every study abroad student should have: a passport cover. Passport covers are both chic and functional, providing a layer of protection for the most important documents your students will bring with them. We love these covers because they have storage compartments for credit cards, as well as RFID-Blocking technology. Whether you opt for a colorful cover or just a classic smart black, your student is sure to be satisfied with one of these selections. 

Also, on that note, make sure their passport is up to date before they set out on their travels!

Buy the Melsbrinna Leather Passport Holder:

Buy the Open Story Passport Cover: 

2. A Travel Backpack: Matein Travel Backpack 

Study abroad packing list: backpack
Credit: Amazon

One of the most memorable parts of your student’s trip will be their weekend travels to other cities. Whether your student is a first-time traveler or a seasoned explorer, having the right backpack is a game changer. This backpack is made of water-resistant material, includes a built-in USB charging port, and has a compact design for a seamless travel experience. 

3. A Portable Charger: Anker Nano Power Bank and Wireless Universal Portable Charger

Credit: Amazon / Best Buy

A portable charger is something most college students could use in their day-to-day lives so they can keep up with texts and TikTok, but it is essential they have one when traveling to places they are unfamiliar with. Put yourself and your child at ease knowing that they’ll be able to charge their devices anywhere, regardless of the outlets available. The Anker Nano Power Bank is ideal for iPhone users thanks to its ultra-compact design and high charging capacity, while the Energizer works with all types of phones and tablets, though you’ll need to attach a charger cable to it.

Buy the Anker Nano Power Bank: 

Buy the Energizer Wireless Universal Portable Charger:

4. Outlet Converter Kits: Apple World Traveler Adapter Kit and Romeda Universal Adapter 

Study abroad packing list: Outlet converters
Credit: Amazon

One of the most important things for your student will need to bring  is an outlet adapter. It’s almost guaranteed that wherever in the world your student is traveling they will need an outlet converter to keep their technology charged — and to use their hairdryer. Just make sure the wattage is compatible, too! We found two great options for iPhone and Android users that are functional and come with everything your student needs to power up! 

Buy the Apple World Traveler Adapter Kit: 

Buy the Romeda Universal Adaptor, 4-Pack:

5. A Reusable Water Bottle: Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Water Bottle and  Brita Insulated Filtered Water Bottle  

Study abroad packing list: reusable water bottles
Credit: Amazon

Every student needs a reusable water bottle for their travels, and we found two great options. The Hydro Flask Stainless Steel water bottle is perfect for your active student, who may be hiking or engaging in the outdoorsy activities study abroad has to offer. It’s extremely durable and will keep water cold for hours on end, thanks to its double-wall vacuum insulation. 

For a lighter option, this reusable water bottle from Brita comes with a built-in filter in the straw and reduces chlorine to enhance the taste of the water. It’s a godsend for the student who doesn’t like the taste of the local tap.

Buy the Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Water Bottle: 

Buy the Brita Insulated Filtered Water Bottle:

6. A Bluetooth Tracker: Apple AirTag

Credit: Amazon

Losing a wallet or purse in a foreign country is one of the worst things that can happen when studying abroad. But with Apple AirTags, they can see exactly where their lost item is with the Find My app and ping the tracker to help figure out where it is. With a pack of four, they can use it to track their wallet, passport, backpack, and keys — just in case.

7. Lightweight Luggage: Delsey Paris Clavel Checked Luggage and Samsonite Foldaway Packable Duffel Bag

Credit: Amazon

Being gone for four to six months means students will need to pack a LOT on their journey. To help meet the 50-pound weight requirement for checked bags, a lightweight suitcase is needed. Reviewers like the stylish Delsey Paris Clavel suitcase, which only weighs just under 10 pounds. Its 30-inch size can hold a lot, there are multiple compartments, and it can be expanded if they are overstuffed.

Because they’re bound to come with more than they left with, we also recommend bringing a foldable duffle that they can pack in their luggage and use as a carry-on later on. This one from Samsonite is just under 22 inches long but folds up for easy storage.

Buy the Delsey Paris Clavel Checked Luggage:

Buy the Samsonite Foldaway Packable Duffel Bag:

8. Packing Cubes: OlarHike Packing Cubes and Spacesaver Vacuum Storage Bags

Credit: Amazon

Speaking of packing, one way to help ensure everything fits and is organized on their travels is to get some packing cubes. This set of six from OlarHike comes in different sizes, giving all their stuff a place. They come in different colors and are both tear- and water-resistant.

Another great idea our readers had is to use Spacesaver Vacuum Storage Bags to condense everything so it actually fits in their suitcase. This is especially helpful if they’re traveling somewhere cold and will be packing bulky sweaters. It also comes with a travel pump, so students can suck the air out of the bag if they don’t have a vacuum handy while abroad.

Buy the OlarHike Packing Cubes:

Get the Spacesaver Vacuum Storage Bags:

9. A First Aid Kit: Welly First Aid Kit

Study abroad packing list: first aid kit
Credit: Amazon

Even if they insist they’ll be careful, accidents can happen when traveling. Make sure your study abroad student is equipped with the necessary supplies in case of emergency. This travel-size first aid kit comes in a durable metal box and is equipped with bandages, tape, non-stick pads, butterfly strips, single-use ointments, and Ibuprofen. It’s small enough that they can pack it in their suitcase, too!

10. A Travel Lock: BV TSA-Approved Travel Luggage Lock 

Travel lock
Credit: Amazon

Getting your luggage lost or stolen at a hostel is the ultimate travel snafu. It’s important to stay vigilant and set your students up for safety when traveling by giving them a luggage lock. This lock has a  simple, TSA-friendly design, and it comes in a number of bright colors to help them easily identify their luggage. It will give both of you peace of mind.

11. A Travel Pillow: Napfun Neck Pillow 

Napfun Neck Pillow
Credit: Amazon

Trains, planes, and automobiles can take a toll on your student’s sleep and comfort. The Napfun Neck Pillow is the perfect antidote to cramped seats when they need a few extra z’s while traveling across land and sea. The Napfun pillow is crafted from  100% Memory Foam, and it provides both neck and chin support for maximum comfort, and it folds up conveniently in the included travel bag. 

12. A Travel Journal: Moleskine Guided Journal 

Study abroad packing list: Moleskine guided travel journal
Credit: Amazon

While a journal may not be essential per se, your student will absolutely treasure writing down all the special moments during their trip that they can look back on. The  Moleskine Traveler’s  Journal is a popular option because it includes prompts that will help even the least introspective students to take time for themselves and look back on their experiences. Plus, it has plenty of dedicated storage for their travel mementos.  

13. A Travel Laundry Bag: Miamica Foldable Travel Laundry Bag

Study Abroad Packing List: Laundry bag
Credit: Amazon

When they live out of a backpack and experience new places, your student’s clothes are bound to get dirty fast. This smaller laundry bag makes it easy for them to separate their dirty clothes from their clean ones when they are traveling from city to city. It has a compact design but expands to hold almost a week’s worth of laundry. Plus, it is water- and tear-resistant, so it can handle heavy use for the entire trip. 

14. A Toiletry Bag:  BAGSMART Toiletry Bag and WANDF Dopp Kit Toiletry Bag 

Toiletry Bags
Credit: Amazon

A toiletry bag is an absolute necessity when it comes to traveling — alongside travel-sized items of certain hair and skincare products. We found two options for both the male and female students in your life that will maximize space and utility for them when traveling. 

The BAGSMART Toiletry Bag unfolds so they can store as much skincare and makeup as their heart desires, even when working with limited luggage space. It can also be hung on a door so they can access everything easily. The WANDF Dopp Kit Toiletry Bag is water resistant and has a convenient carrying loop, all within a classic design. 

Get  the BAGSMART Toiletry Bag

Get the WANDF Dopp Kit Toiletry Bag

15. A Compact Mirror: Deweisen Lighted Travel Makeup Mirror 

Lighted Travel Mirror
Credit: Amazon

For the skincare and makeup-loving student in your life, a makeup mirror is a must if they’re unsure what their bathroom or vanity situation will be on their travels. This lighted travel makeup mirror is the ideal solution for touching up their makeup on the way to class or the train to the next destination. It’s rechargeable, dimmable, and magnifies up to 10x — plus, it has a sleek design

16. A Quick-Drying Towel: Rainleaf Microfiber Travel Towel

Rainleaf Microfiber Towel
Credit: Amazon

Whether they are sharing a hostel bathroom or procrastinating on laundry day,a travel towel is something every study abroad student should be equipped with. This microfiber towel absorbs water and sweat quickly and comes with a reusable zipper bag. It measures 30 inches by 50 inches and should be large enough to cover everything.   

Why You Can Trust Us

Hi, I’m Hannah Fierick, and I am a commerce and freelance writer for multiple publications covering tech and education, as well as travel guides for hotel chains. I have extensive travel experience myself. While in my junior year of college, I studied in Prague, Czech Republic. I have been fortunate enough to travel to a myriad of countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, Austria, the UK, Indonesia, Singapore, Italy, and more! 

When researching study abroad travel essentials, I looked at trusted travel blogs, review publications, and reliable retailers, and I read through verified customer reviews. I also reflected on my own travel experience and the items that I could not live without on my own adventures. These are the must-haves they’ll need before hopping on a flight to their next destination.

Prices were accurate at time of publication.

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