With summer study abroad programs just around the corner and fall semester exchange programs fast approaching as well, I thought I’d share some pearls of wisdom on what to pack for your study abroad journey.

Packing smarter is something I definitely wish I’d done differently (read about my trials and tribulations in my Study Abroad: What Worked (and What Didn’t) post), so please learn from my mistakes!

I have made a few similar posts including packing tips (more of how to pack) and travel essentials, but this is specifically for students on more long-term academic study abroad programs than weekends away.

Your luggage: Packing smart starts with your luggage! Think about what you want to get out of the bag (storage space, easy to carry around, durability, etc.) and that can help you decide what kind of bag you want to buy. I personally took rolling suitcases and put smaller bags inside of them, but students on summer programs might want to consider a travel backpack if they think they will be traveling before, after or during their program. I strongly recommend name brand luggage. You can find great quality bags for discounted prices at stores like Ross and Marshalls (for my American friends). A valuable lesson I learned: rolling suitcases can be great for getting through the airport with minimal effort, but other places may not have easy accessibility and your boyfriend gets stuck awkwardly carrying a 50-pound suitcase down stairs the to the tube during rush hour (thanks, honey!). Don’t forget to save space in your bag for things you might bring back and get luggage tags.

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