study abroad packing

10 Top Study Abroad Items to Pack

If you follow me on social media, you likely already know I started a travel blog! It’s called and it encourages other young women to step outside of their comfort zones and travel near and far! I’ll be sharing my tips for traveling as well as my own experiences! To celebrate the launch of my new blog, I’ve put together a list of 10 top study abroad items that you’ll want to pack if you’re studying abroad or traveling anytime soon! I studied abroad my first semester of college, and I quickly realized I forgot some of the most important things! Don’t make the same mistake! Pack these 10 top study abroad items and save yourself a headache. Click on the products under each header to learn more!

10. A Portable Charger

Even if you’re staying in the dorms abroad and will have access to an electrical outlet every night, you still need a portable charger. These babies are useful even at home, but abroad they become a lifeline. You’ll be spending long days out exploring and your phone will decide to die just as you were about to take the perfect Eifel Tower picture. We’ve all been there, and we all hate it. This is a top study abroad item, and you’ve got to be sure you pack it in your carry-on for easy access!

9. Money Belt

What’s a money belt you ask? Well, dear reader, it’s a flat fanny pack you strap to your body under your clothes to store your money/documents in. Doesn’t it get sweaty and disgusting? You bet it does! How do you get money out in public? Let me tell you, it’s not pretty. RIP dignity.

No, guys, really. Get yourself a money belt. We are not out here to make fashion statements, we are out here to keep our money, tickets, and passports safe. While on Semester at Sea, we wore our money belts with pride and traded tips for how to shove them comfortably down our jeans in the Moroccan heat. It was a learning experience.

While you probably won’t need to wear a money belt all the time while abroad (at least, I hope not), they’re a must when traveling for long periods. If you’re taking an overnight train or a $3 bus from Antwerp to Paris, you need a money belt. You can relax in comfort knowing that your money and documents are safely strapped to your sweaty body. Honestly, you’ll forget it’s there and you can rarely see it through clothes, so it’s no big deal. As for getting out money, I’d suggest leaving a small amount in your wallet for ease, unless you enjoy reaching a hand up your shirt in public.

If the idea of an under the clothes fanny pack is too much for your fashionista self, you can also purchase an under the shirt necklace one, but I’ve found these to be bulky.

8. Reusable Water Bottle

Buying water bottles all day can be expensive, and you should carry a reusable water bottle whenever you’re on long excursions. Check in your country if the tap water is drinkable before filling your bottle at public places! I always fill up my water before I leave my hotel/ship/hostel to avoid buying it later. You can always ask a local cafe or coffee shop if they’re able to fill your bottle up with cold tap water for you. That is, if you can handle the language barrier.

7. American Medicine

Let me tell you a story about my experience with a pharmacy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Somehow, on my first day in the city, I managed to get a giant god-knows-what stuck in my eyeball as I walked past a construction site. I’m embarrassed to say this is not the first time this has happened to me, but it’s the first time it’s happened in a foreign country. As a very mediocre Spanish speaker, I attempted several times to find eye drops in a local store that could offer me some relief. I played really awkward language charades with the pharmacist trying to express my eye issue with my hands. Eventually, one of the pharmacists took pity on me and I found some kind of eye drops on MY LAST DAY THERE. I was suffering for DAYS!

The moral of my embarrassing Buenos Aires eyeball incident is that this all could have been avoided if I thought to pack American eye drops. Before you leave, put together a small kit with the basics. While medicine is readily available in most parts of the world, it can be really hard to get through the language barrier, and things might not be the same as you are used to.

This also goes for feminine hygiene products which are usually limited in other countries. While you can bring full sized products, I would recommend getting the individual pouches of pills/medicine if you can. They save a ton of space and you can easily carry some in your handbag or carry on!

6. A Travel Blog

I know, I know, you can’t pack a travel blog. But you definitely need one! I love reading friends study abroad blogs, and I even kept one myself while I was on Semester at Sea! Now, I love looking back on it and seeing how great it all was and laughing at all the crazy moments (there were many)! You can host a free blog at, Blogspot, or Tumblr, but if you want to have much more space and freedom, consider purchasing a self-hosted blog. You can get started for around $10, and I’ve got a great guide for getting started here!

Read the rest on TheWanderingFloridian!

The rest of this post can be found on my new blog, TheWanderingFloridian! Check it out and let me know what you think!

What are your top study abroad items?

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