If international summer school is on your to-do list, then planning what to pack is probably also high on your list. Ultimately, the specifics of what you pack will depend on how long your trip is, where you’re travelling, and any academic specifics of the adventure. When you travel, there remains access to services where you can stock up on some items. However, no matter where you journey to, there are some essentials to keep on hand.
Packing for International Summer School
Before you get started with your packing, the first thing to do is find good luggage. Whether that means a wheeled suitcase or a high-grade backpack depends on the program. Having access to a high-quality storage solution makes a massive difference during travel, so ensure that it’s high on your list.
Do some research on the area, including what to expect in terms of humidity and temperature. Using this knowledge, you can inform your clothing choices and footwear. Once you’re set with luggage and attire, make sure you remember these key seven items:
1. Identification and documents
When you travel, it’s imperative to have your travel visa, passport, and identification documents. Make copies and keep them in separate locations to increase security. Print out any pre-departure information and some essential phrases.
Have a paper copy of the directions to your ultimate destination. As long as you can prove who you are and your country of origin, you can access help if you need it. Protect these documents and have digital backups.
2. Cash and necessary cards
Make sure that you have cash in your destination country’s currency. Even if it’s likely that there will be other payment options, it’s important to come prepared. Anything from bad cell reception to power outages can render card payments useless.
Having a sufficient amount of cash on your person means you can access essentials such as transportation and food. Budget responsibly, and ensure that you don’t keep all of your cash in one place. As with the identification documents, this improves your personal security.
3. Cellphone, charger, and adapter
Communication is paramount when you travel. From the find-my-phone feature that allows families to see that you’re alright, to the ability to call others, a cell phone is imperative. Contact your phone company ahead of time to check if you will have service when you’re completing your international summer school. If so, check what charges you’ll incur to touch base with home.
Another choice is to rely on the internet, but you might not have coverage abroad. Plan ahead to avoid this issue. Ideally, bring the phone in a waterproof case with a backup charger. If you’re travelling to a country that uses a different electrical system, make sure you have an adapter to charge your phone.
4. Toiletries and hygiene supplies
There are some essential supplies for personal health. Your skin is your biggest organ, so make sure to travel with bar soap, shampoo, hairbrush, hair ties, dental supplies, and gear for shaving. Toiletries include any makeup you use and anything for your skincare routine. This is one category that is easy to go overboard on, so take measures to adjust your expectations.
Before you pack, take a week and jot down any toiletries you used. Use this list to determine what you actually need to pack—the things you use at least once weekly—and avoid any of the clutter that comes with overpacking.
5. Medication and medical supplies
Essential to health and safety, bring any prescription medications with you with enough supply to last the whole trip. This applies to things like EpiPens and allergy medication. Bring along basic medical supplies, such as topical antibiotics, antiseptic, bandaids, and any over-the-counter medication you might take (antinauseants, anti-inflammatories, or acetaminophen, for example).
Be sure that you have a reasonable supply of anything that you are likely to encounter. For instance, if you’re visiting the tropics, it’s likely that you’ll need sunscreen and bug spray. Keep your environment in mind when determining what medicine to bring along.
6. Convenience considerations
Once you have all the essentials tucked away, there are some convenience factors to keep in mind. Think about things like entertainment, where you can travel with a book, puzzles, or a notepad. Keep the logical supplies on hand, like lip balm, gum, cash, and lightweight shoes.
If you’re a light sleeper, consider a travel pillow and earplugs. These can help you get the rest necessary to make the most out of your trip. To limit waste and travel light, establish a limit on the space that your convenience items can take on your international summer school trip.
The key to successful packing lies not in knowing what to bring, but rather what to leave behind while still having everything you need. If it’s your first time visiting a new area, then it can be tricky to know what to expect. Ultimately, it’s impossible to plan for everything. What you can do is prepare as best as possible. As long as you keep these seven essentials in mind, you can navigate any scenario that arises during your international summer school adventure.