4 Essential Items to Pack When You Study Abroad

Sep 30, 2021 10:15:00 AM / by Julia-Luce Mouketo

When you study abroad, it can be just a *little* hard not to pack everything...especially things that remind you of home! As Julia gears up for a semester abroad in London, she shares 4 essential things that have come in handy for her.

Traveling is an experience that differs every time, and every time you travel, you are different. Whether it be within yourself, or in your way of preparing yourself, or packing, you only get more experienced with time. Here are four things I believe are must-haves for any trip—especially when traveling by plane. 

Let’s get on board!

Packed Suitcase for Study Abroad

Caption: A packed suitcase for study abroad.

1. A Portable Luggage Scale

Portable luggage scale for travel

Caption: A portable luggage scale.

The first item I packed for my semester abroad in London was a portable luggage scale. Until recently, I didn’t know these existed, and I only relied on my home body scale because I was always only traveling from my home to another place. The thing is, when you study abroad, you don’t want to carry your entire house in your suitcase, and a body scale is pretty heavy and space consuming—not the easiest thing to pack. Keep in mind that airlines have a weight limit for your luggage and you will probably come back to the US with heavier luggage than when you arrived in your host country because believe me, you will shop. You can buy a portable luggage scale for $10 or less at Make sure to choose one with the batteries already included to make your life easier. Here is the one I bought.

2. A Thermometer

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall 2021_London_Julia Mouketo_A thermometer for regular temperature checks

Caption: A thermometer.

Having a fever is a sign of sickness, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to make sure to stay healthy for ourselves, our roommates, and the community. A digital scale is a must-have, because as CAPA students we are required to check our temperature regularly. I bought my thermometer at the pharmacy, but you can also find some online.

3. Over-the-Counter Pain Medicine

OTC medicine while traveling

Caption: OTC pain medicine.

This brings me to over-the-counter pain medicine. Yes, they have pharmacies in the country where you will be studying abroad, and you will probably find what you need there. But you need to pack at least a few doses of OTC pain medicine such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen, especially if you are like me, and traveling attacks your immune system. In my carry on, I have some Advil, Tylenol, Icy Hot, and Excedrin because they are my life savers. Make sure to stop by your local pharmacy before your trip.

4. Ziploc Bags

Ziploc bags for any travel and packing needs

Caption: Ziploc bags.

I can never say this enough. Ziploc bags are essential. They can be used for food, snacks, cosmetics, dirty clothes, and much more. They are a staple for every traveler's suitcase. If you want, you can bring a few different sizes with you. Believe me, they will come in handy. You can find Ziploc bags wherever you shop or on Amazon.

I hope this list will be helpful to all of you, and contribute to a wonderful CAPA study abroad experience!

Thanks, Julia!

Julia Mouketo

Julia Mouketo is an official CAPA London blogger for fall 2021, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A communication studies major from Hollins University, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

Julia's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

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Topics: London, England, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations