Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

What to Pack

What to Pack

Here’s a list of things you will want to consider packing.

Carry-On Essentials

It is not uncommon to lose luggage on international flights, especially on flights with multiple transfers. Keep these items in your carry-on in case your luggage gets lost:

  • Airline tickets and confirmation numbers
  • Passport and visa
  • Copies of other important documents (birth certificate, social security card)
  • UC Travel Insurance
  • State and Student or Faculty IDs
  • Travel itinerary
  • Emergency contact information
  • $100 in local currency
  • Extra eyeglasses or contacts
  • Prescription drugs for the length of your stay (Check to make sure you can bring them into the country and that you have a letter from your doctor)
  • Your laptop and other electronic devices with chargers
  • Adapters and converters
  • Deodorant
  • Spare outfit (in case your luggage gets lost)
  • Gifts for your host family and others


Before packing, get a sense of the standard dress code of where you are going. Check with someone who has been there to avoid inadvertently offending your host family or coworkers.

  • Underwear (two weeks’ worth)
  • Socks (two weeks’ worth plus a pair or two of wool socks)
  • Undershirts
  • Thermal underwear
  • Long sleeve shirts (good for layering)
  • Short sleeve shirts
  • Sweatshirt/hoodie (2-3)
  • Sweaters
  • Jeans/Khakis (2-3 pair)
  • Shorts
  • A belt or two
  • Skirts (for the girls)
  • A set or two of workout clothes
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit (for those going to warmer climates)
  • Coat/Jacket (one for cold weather and one that is water resistant)
  • At least one nice outfit for formal occasions
  • Flip flops/sandals of some sort (for warm climate or for hostel showers)
  • Walking shoes
  • Dress shoes
  • Boots/rain boots
  • Cold weather gear (gloves, mittens, hat, and scarf)


If you aren’t picky, a lot of these items can also be found in your host country:

  • TSA Compliant Toiletry Kit/1-quart zip-top Ziploc bags
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine products
  • Brush or comb
  • Razors and other shaving supplies
  • Contact lenses and solution or glasses
  • Nail clippers
  • Makeup
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Suntan lotion
  • Tissues or toilet paper


  • Alarm clock (battery operated) and watch
  • Backpack, large purse, or money belt for day-to-day use
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Travel Health Kit
  • Thin lightweight towel
  • Linens, bedsheets, and towels (Check with your program to see if these are provided, otherwise you may just want to buy them abroad because they tend to be heavy and take up a lot of room)
  • Small plastic bottles for toiletries for use in your carry-on or while traveling
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel books for the region(s) you will visit
  • Luggage and laptop locks
  • Pocket dictionary/phrase book
  • Pocket‐sized notebook/journal
  • Items for networking (such as your resume and business card)

A Note About Packing

Do not bring more than two normal-size suitcases and a carry-on. Most people pack more than they need. You will be able to buy many of these things in your host country so you should pack just enough to get you through until you can go shopping.

Bring clothes that are easily layered for various climate conditions, do not need ironing, can be drip-dried, and are comfortable and durable. Also, remember that dark clothing does not show stains and dirt as much as light-colored clothing does.  Most importantly make sure that all of your clothes are interchangeable, i.e. any of your shirts can go with any of your skirts/pants, etc.  This will provide you with many more “outfits” on a daily basis even with limited clothing items.

A lot of the toiletries mentioned can usually be found in your host country.  But they might not have a specific brand if you’re picky.  Also, some things just don’t work the same (deodorant in Japan, toothpaste in Korea) or aren’t used as prevalently (Tampons in Egypt).

Remember that most electrical appliances will not work because of the different electrical current. Generally, laptop computers will work but you will probably need an adapter. It is usually better to just buy small electrical appliances (like hair dryers) in the host country.

Bring gifts for your host site and host family. This is expected in most cultures, so bring extra, including children's gift, for example small toys, pencils, or pens. Research what would be considered useful.

Last updated: 30 Nov 2016