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Packing Hints

The #1 rule for packing is to pack light.  A helpful hint would be to lay out items and then whittle.  When you are finished packing - open your suitcase and remove a third to a half of the items you packed.  Leave them at home.  Pack light!  What follows are some general guidelines to keep in mind when preparing to study abroad.

  • Make sure that you know the luggage size and weight restrictions for each airline you may fly on.
  • Ask yourself this question:  Can you CARRY your packed luggage from Carver to Westerlin?  If not, you have packed too much!  Remember that not all airports, bus stations, train stations, metro or subway stations have elevators.  You may have to CARRY - not roll - your luggage up and down flights of stairs.
  • Leave extra room in your luggage or bring an empty backpack, which can be used for souvenirs
  • Always keep valuables such as money, passport and camera equipment in a carry-on bag.
  • Carry sufficient insurance in case things are lost or stolen.
  • Clearly identify your luggage inside and out with your name along with US and overseas addresses.
  • Place a strap around your suitcase to secure it in case the lock/zipper breaks

What SHOULD You Take

  • Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on in case your luggage is delayed or lost.
  • Toiletries - pack travel size and remember you can purchase items once you arrive.  Most brands are available in major cities abroad.  Women may want to bring a preferred brand of tampons/pads as they may not be as readily available abroad.
  • Make sure your clothes are hand-washable - do not take something that needs to be dry cleaned.  Pack durable, drip-dry, no-iron clothes.
  • Go to an electronics store to purchase an adapter.  Make sure it can "adapt" to the part of the world to which you are traveling.  If you can get by without a hair dryer - do so!
  • Small first-aid kit.
  • Small battery operated alarm clock - bring extra batteries
  • Playing cards - wonderful way to pass the time while waiting in stations and airports.
  • Augustana ID card - not required.  But it is a photo ID and easy to replace - less of a hassle to replace than a driver's license.
  • International Student Identification Card - Not required but it is another photo ID.  It is also relatively inexpensive and provides additional sickness and accident insurance.  For more information go to:
  • Photocopy of your passport and airline tickets.  Keep your photocopy separate from your passport.
  • Phone number to cancel credit cards in case of theft - or make sure your parents have all of the necessary information.
  • If you still use film - bring extra - it can be expensive overseas.
  • Travel size sewing kit
  • Plastic bags (ziploc kind) - ideal for damp, wet or soiled clothes, muddy shoes, bottles containing liquids. There are increasingly necessary for toiletries being taken as carry-on luggage.
  • Don't bring more than two pairs of shoes.  Make sure they are comfortable and waterproof.   However, be sure to bring a pair of shower shoes.
  • Travel size packets of Woolite - good for hand washing items.
  • Umbrella

Pack your common sense and prepare to be an American Abroad.

You should be aware that in a foreign environment you might be put in the position of being a spokesperson about the United States or our culture.  You will find that most persons outside of our borders are very knowledgeable about politics, issues and events both from a historical aspect and current events.  Returned students have often commented on how they sometimes had a difficult time explaining the history, politics and culture of the United States.  Many have commented that they wished they had read more newspapers or paid more attention to news programs prior to their departure.  So before you leave think about the following questions: What do Americans value? What do you think of foreign advisors selected by President-elect Obama?  Do you know about the politics/economy in your home state?  What would you tell someone about the culture of your state (or the United States? 

A Note on Electrical Appliances

Most appliances purchased in the United States are designed work on 110 voltage.  The majority of the world operates on 220 voltage.  To convert the 220 voltage energy to 110 voltage, you will need to purchase a travel voltage converter.  These are available at electronics stores such as Best Buy or Radio Shack.  You can also get items on-line at places such as TravelSmith or Magellans.

A World Electric Guide may be found by clicking here.

Voltage is not the only thing that varies from country to country.  Electrical wall outlets also differ in shape, assortment and arrangement of holes.  To be prepared, make sure you get an adapter set to go with the converter.