For one year of studying abroad, I pack a check baggage of 20 kg and a carry-on of 7kg. That surprises anyone around me. Because it is very usual for people to think of students going abroad with 2 suitcases – 40kg each, one or two back packs, one or two bags and some cartons etc… The hell! Forget that idea. I’m going to tell you how to pack your life in one suitcase of 20kg and 1 carry-on of 7kg without leaving any necessary things behind. Believe me, I’m the one that lived comfortably with just a carry-on in the mid of winter in a foreign country while my co-workers struggled even when they had brought a bulky suitcase with them.
PART 1 – WHAT NOT TO PACK
1. NO FOOD, PLEASE
I’m not sure how about in your country, but here students have the very common habit to bring tens of kilograms of food with them when going abroad. Their notorious excuse: Oh, I may not be familiar with the local food over there and I need these or I will be starving.
Okay, stop acting like a princess. You’re going to stay in that country and you’re gonna eat the food there so get used to it. Do not decrease your chance of experiencing new life and increase the airline company’s chance to charge you for overweight luggage.
However, a snack is recommended for your carry-on. When you land at the mid of the night and it’s hard to find food, it would be your immediate energy.
2. DITCH THOSE BULKY WINTER CLOTHES
Unless when you’re using down or light down jackets which are very light in weight and don’t take up much space (and are extra warm compared to other types of winter clothes), do not pack winter jackets with you.
Firstly, they’re too bulky. Secondly, they’re too heavy. Finally, they may not be properly warm.
Especially when you’re moving from a tropical country to a cold one, chances are the warm clothes you buy back home will not be enough to fight against the winter in your destination.
3. NO KITCHEN UTENSILS
This is a definitely no-no.
You are going to buy your cookers, forks, plates, cups, bowls etc… in the new country and that’s the end of discussion.
4. NO HOUSEHOLD ELECTRICAL DEVICES
Check the voltage in your destination. If it’s different from that in your homeland, forget about bring your household electrical devices with you. Mostly, they will not work.
Your laptops, phones or cameras are usually internationlly designed and can be charged using electricity with a variety of voltage. But that’s not the case for irons or hair dryers.
5. NO TOILETERIES
Except from a set of travel-sized toileteries in your carry-on, do not pack any bottles of shampoo or bathing gel or so on with you.
First: they can be quite heavy, all of those bottles.
Second: they can spill during the flight and ruin everything in your suitcase.
Last: you can buy them once you arrive. Yeah, it’s true.
6. NO HEAVY BOOKS AND DICTIONARIES
We’re in the second decade of the 21st century. Go digital, dearies! No big books, no huge dictionaries, please. You can have all of them available in your phone or your tablet and that’s done.
7. EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENTS OFF
Honestly. All of those gifts, letters, souvernirs… can wait for you back in your home country. Do not bring them with you because:
- they may be damaged and that’s sad
- they are not really necessary for your new life over there
One or two very meaningful pieces can be on board with you, though. In my case, I bring that little cute plushy buffalo – which is the size of a hand – that my best friend gave me years ago. And only it.
8. SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR HUGE COLLECTION OF SHOES
The maximum number of pairs of shoes that you should bring is 3.
One pair for sport activities and long walks.
One pair that go well with formal situations.
One pair to lounge around.
Make sure your shoes can survive both rainy and sunny days.
9. NO CLOTHING FOR WHAT-IF SITUATIONS
Guys may not face this problem, but girls do. All of them do. I used to do, too.
You may find yourself thinking “what if I get invited to that party, that dinner, that etc….” and then you end up packing fancy dresses with you, which probably stay untouched until you come back to your country.
So, say no to what-ifs. If one day you get such an invitation, just buy a new one in the new country!
Okay, that’s it for what not to pack.
Let’s talk about what to pack in another post.