1. Suitcase with Luggage Tag
- Suitcases with a collapsible handle on the top and wheels on the bottom are easier to travel with through long walks at the airport and through city streets.
- Airlines allow each passenger to check at least one bag for free on international flights.
- Tie a piece of string or add a quickly recognizable ribbon or tag on your suitcase to easily identify it on the baggage carousel.
- Remember to only pack what you need. You might see a weight limit of 50 lbs. 50 lbs is very heavy to carry up multiple flights of stairs after a long (8-12 hour) international flight.
- They wear clothes wherever you’re traveling to. You can always buy a few items abroad.
- Locks are discouraged because Transportation Security Administration (more commonly referred to as 'TSA') in other countries can and will cut them off if they want to inspect the contents of your luggage.
2. Carry-on Luggage (Small suitcase OR a backpack OR tote bag)
- There is typically no fee for carry-on luggage for international flights. Most airlines share dimensions on their website to make sure that the carry-on you bring will fit in the compartment over your airline seat.
- Pack prescription medications and toiletries in your carry-on. All liquids must fit in a quart size clear plastic bag and be 3.4 ounces or less. You can put the larger items in your checked suitcase. (You will have to take out your clear plastic bag full of liquids when you go through security.)
- Pack a few outfits or underwear and socks in the carry-on in case your checked suitcase arrives after you do.
3. Personal item (purse or laptop bag or briefcase)
- Make sure this will completely fit under the airplane seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment. (You will probably have to take out your laptop when you go through security.)
What to Pack
Pack using a checklist so you ensure you bring all the necessities for your experience abroad. Keep in mind that you will likely purchase additional items and souvenirs while abroad. Leave extra space in your luggage or bring an extra bag. Remember, many basic items can be purchased almost anywhere in the world. For some items, such as toiletries, it may make more sense to bring a small amount and purchase more locally as needed.
Eagle Creek, a leader in travel products, provides packing checklists for several types of travel. Download this packing information (pdf) as you consider types of luggage and what to pack.
Documents and IDs
- plane tickets
- green card (if you are not a US citizen)
- debit card
- credit card
- US dollars (in case of emergency)
For more details on financing your learning abroad experience, visit our Money Considerations webpage.