Baggage and Weight Allowance
Since policies vary, contact your airline to find out what specific regulations apply to you. As a general rule of thumb, suitcases should not weigh more than 50 Ibs. Airlines usually allow two checked bags and one carry-on for international flights, but it is important to confirm this before you arrive at the airport. If you have connecting flights on a different airline, please be aware that their policies may differ. Label your bags clearly with your name and address, and be sure to put this information somewhere inside your bag as well. Refer to your airline for the must up-to-date travel requirements.
Try to pack light! Remember that you will have to carry your luggage yourself. Porters are usually not available in railway stations and help is usually not offered on the public transportation system. If you have not yet bought a suitcase, it is suggested that you buy one with wheels. Also, keep in mind that you will be returning home with a souvenir or two so you should save some extra space. It may be a good idea to pack an empty piece of luggage so that you may bring home any new belongings.
It is recommended to travel with anything valuable in your carry-on luggage (cameras, jewelry, watches etc.). Additionally, be sure to pack your medications in your carry-on luggage in case there are any delays when collecting your checked baggage.
Bring as few electrical items as possible. The electrical system may be different from the US system in your host country. If you want to use a hair dryer or an iron, for example, you may need a transformer as well as an adapter for foreign plugs. Some past students have found that it is easier and cheaper in the long run to buy a small blow dryer and other electronics in country that already works with the local plugs and voltage. Check with your computer manufacturer’s customer service department to obtain a transformer or adapter of quality. For information on electrical systems in various countries, refer to the web site www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/
Do some research on the climate in your host country. Depending on where you are going abroad, the seasons may be completely different than what you are used to at home. It is recommended that you look into some of the cultural norms around attire for certain occasions in your host country. For example, in some parts of the world you may not feel comfortable in articles of clothing such as shorts or tank tops. You may not be able to enter some public buildings or tourist attractions wearing certain garments. Bring clothes you can easily layer depending on the weather and be sure to bring a pair of comfortable shoes for walking. Your closet space may be limited, so try to be strategic about the clothes you bring.
You might want to purchase a money belt or hidden pocket for money and important documents. It will be helpful to bring a small day backpack that you can use for day trips and weekend trips.
If you are staying in a homestay, it is thoughtful to bring a small gift for your host family. You may also choose to bring small things for the friends you’ll make. Suggested gifts would include something representative of you, your school, or state.
Keep a Journal
Writing down your thoughts and feelings about this exciting time will prove invaluable to you later as you look back upon how much you have grown and changed. Try to move beyond just writing about what you did and saw, and describe how you were impacted or impressed by what you experienced. Try to write in your journal on a daily basis so that you may identify with your feelings regularly.
It is helpful to bring a small medical kit so that you have access to supplies that you may need suddenly. Here is a list of items you should consider for your kit:
• Band-Aids, antiseptic
• Constipation remedy
• Cold/cough/allergy symptom relief
• Diarrhea treatment
• Motion sickness medication
• Pain/fever relief
• Antacid tablets
Note: For information about prescription medication and other medical needs, please refer to the section called “Medical Needs and Accommodations” under Health and Safety.