If you’ve ever been on holiday, you’ll know that you only ever end up wearing or using about half the stuff you packed – which is infuriating. Unfortunately, the same thing tends to happen when you study abroad and is ten times more frustrating, as you’re travelling for an extended period of time and therefore every single inch of your suitcase is valuable.

If you’re off on your semester or year abroad, you have probably at some stage Googled a ‘year abroad packing list’ to try and avoid bringing unessential items. However, these packing lists can often leave you more stressed and overwhelmed, as you’ll see a host of items that you forgot about and now believe that you absolutely NEED.

To prevent this from happening and to ensure that none of your suitcase space goes to waste, we have a created a Year Abroad DO NOT Pack List so that you leave with everything you need and have room to bring home presents (for yourself) at the end of the year. So, here’s what not to bring:


Toiletries are the main weighty culprits when it comes to packing, as heavy bottles of shampoo, conditioner and all manner of lovely liquid products can take up a good portion of your weight allowance.

It might be tempting to pack all of your favourite hair and beauty essentials, but the truth is, you can live without them and you can easily replace them. Unless you’re travelling to somewhere pretty remote, chances are you’ll be able to pick up these products in a local supermarket for a reasonable price.

Reminders Of Home

Every single prospective year abroad student gets scared of feeling homesick. No matter how excited you are to hop on that plane and explore the world, there’s a little part of you that is secretly scared of missing mum and dad.

From that comes the temptation to pack a pile of reminders; like photos and cuddly toys. However, with Skype, Whatsapp, Facetime and all manner of instant messaging options, these items are totally unnecessary, so if you can bare to part with your comfort blanket for a short while, be brave and do so.


Your lecturers and professors won’t want to hear this but don’t bring books with you on your year abroad. They’re big and heavy and chances are, you won’t even need them. Use a Kindle as a substitute or download ebooks on your phone.


If you’re a food lover (who isn’t?) you probably will get a craving for tastes of home; especially chocolate and other treats. However you should resist the urge to pack these in your case. Not only are they major space wasters, but foodstuffs and liquids can cause customs issues; especially if you’re travelling to another continent.


For many, the hardest task of all will be deciding which footwear to bring with you. You’ll try to convince yourself that you do really need every pair of heels you own. Deep down, however, you know this isn’t true. Try your hardest to pack practical shoes (as horrible as that sounds). As you explore a new town, city or country, you’re going to do a lot of walking and you’ll need appropriate footwear to withstand all of that. Of course you might need shoes to suit various occasions, but one pair per occasion will suffice. For girls, one pair of flat comfortable shoes, one pair of heels and one pair of boots. For guys, one pair of comfortable shoes, one pair of dress shoes and strong boots if you’re travelling somewhere colder.


If you’re going away for a full year, you will probably have a strong desire to just empty the entire contents of your wardrobe into your suitcase so that you don’t leave with that horrible feeling that you’ve forgotten something.

But as mentioned before, you’re unlikely to wear even half the items you pack. So be practical when sorting through your clothing. Selecting clothes that can be layered is always a good idea to ensure that you’re prepared for varying climates.

Before packing an item, ask yourself if you can wear it as part of at least three different outfits and try to think of at least three different occasions where you have worn the item before. This will help you separate the staples from the stuff that will probably stay packed in your case for the entire year.


There are certain electronics which are important, (like your laptop, phone and accompanying chargers), however, other items will act as a luxury rather than a necessity. Unless you’re a budding photographer, it makes little sense to pack a camera alongside your phone which already has a camera built into. Likewise, forget your iPod if you can store music on your phone.

Besides, these expensive electronics can make you a prime target for thieves. The less you have with you, the less you have to lose should anything so unfortunate occur.

This is a guest post from Lana Richardson, blog editor at Unibaggage.com – the number one student shipping company.


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