You’ve been accepted to an amazing university in London and you’re anxiously counting down the days until you depart. And now finally the time has come for the dreadful part of the process “what should I pack for study abroad?”
Since you probably are not sure about what is waiting for you it is daunting to try to stuff your whole life into one or two suitcases.
There are a lot of things you need to take into consideration when packing for study abroad.
So that’s why we wanted to break down what are essential things to pack for your year abroad. These are just some guidelines to follow and can be tweaked to fit your needs so don’t be afraid to get creative with this and tailor it.
In London, it rains less than you would think but a travel umbrella (https://www.tripsavvy.com/best-travel-umbrellas-4154703) is essential to throw in your bag and it’s going to save you from so many wet hair days.A raincoat could be a replacement for an umbrella but the weather can be so unpredicted in London that you may just want to carry your umbrella just in case even in warmer days.
You can always choose to buy an umbrella when you come to London too of course. But we suggest buying a really sturdy one first time around so you don’t have to keep buying a new one every time it breaks because the cheap ones do break. Carry one with you every day, because one minute it can be sunny and the next it can be down pouring.
You’ll probably be traveling to Europe at some point if you’re coming to study in the UK. And if you choose to take a cheap airline such as Ryanair, you will have limited luggage allowance. You will have a much better experience if you get a weekend overnight bag that will be easy to carry and will pack a lot of stuff in. It’s definitely worth the investment if you don’t have a bag like this. Just fold one up and throw it in your suitcase when you fly over here.
Chances are you are using a different plugging system in your home country and you will need to use a UK plug adapter for your electronic tools. The electrical sockets in the UK are three-pronged, however, and set up completely differently than the two-pronged US and EU sockets.
You can buy these over here, but you will want one on your first night to charge your phone, iPad, laptop or for your hair straightener and curling iron! You can buy them from Amazon or any travel or luggage store.
If you don’t have an adapter, add it to your list before you have to buy it in an expensive tourist shop in the airport.
It’s always advised to bring a rain jacket as it rains a lot in London no matter the season. It will keep you warm and dry in the winter but also since it can rain during the summer here having a lightweight jacket really helps. While you can always buy one from here, it will be really handy when you wake up to a rainy day in your first week.
Opting for more functional ones this that can be rolled up into your bag will be really helpful. You can also choose to get more than one option for different occasions such as one for outdoor activities and one for more formal situations.
As it was pointed out before, the weather in London can be very unpredicted but packing a few light sweaters and layers will save you! You will want to pack a heavy coat for winter and more layers that are short-sleeve shirts, long-sleeve shirts, and cardigans or thin sweaters for summer.
Don’t forget to pack a few pairs of comfortable pants and black jeans. Most Londoners typically wear darker colours so if you want to blend in a bit more bring darker colour clothing items. London is a very fashionable city where mostly anything goes, but if you do want to blend in a bit, opt for darker colours.
Also, pack a couple of summery items like a bathing suit and shorts just in case you want to book a weekend trip to Spain!
Everyone has a laptop these days and it is essential whether you are studying or working. It’s especially important if you’re studying abroad as you will need it to complete assignments, book flights, and hotels and even to Skype your friends & family.
Studying on your tablet may not be enough when you need to write an actual essay or work on some websites that may not work as well on tablets. Don’t forget to get a nice protective case for it to carry it on the plane. Also taking your laptop to your weekend trips may be risky so you may want to leave it in your flat in London.
If you’re looking for a laptop just for your study abroad semester that’s lightweight and easy to carry with you, check this list out.
Although it’s not rainy all the time in London, having waterproof shoes is an essential part of any London packing list.
For casual occasions, you can opt for a pair of waterproof sneakers or if you are planning to do outdoor adventuring you can get a pair of waterproof boots like these.
In addition to waterproof shoes, bring a good pair of boots to keep your feet warm. Remember to choose comfortable ones as you might have to walk a lot in them. And having wet socks and wet shoes is the worst thing ever when walking around London so come prepared!
Your phone’s battery dying is the last thing you would want to happen when you’re traveling on the weekends or just out for a long day in classes and on excursions.
Also, you will need your phone if you’re going to look for directions when you’re exploring London or just as safety in case you need to make an emergency call. In case you won’t be able to stop to charge your phone somewhere it’s always good to pack a handheld phone charger that you can carry with you in your bag.
Don’t forget to take your medical prescriptions if there is any that you take regularly rather than leaving it to get them when you get to London. You can still get some medicines over the counter here, but anything prescribed by your doctor is important to pack.
Bringing some unopened prescriptions can be easy to as many doctors will prescribe you more than you need so that you can have it for the duration of your program abroad. It’s especially important if you have a medical condition that requires you to take your medicine regularly. It’s also important to carry the prescription along with the actual medicine in case anyone at the airport asks.
Avoid getting caught off guard while in London and having to wait to get a prescription by packing medicine from home.
If you have your basics ready to go, we have other extras as kitchen supplies, towels, etc sorted at our residences.
Just pack your bag and start your London experience!