5 Suitcase Essentials For Any Study Abroad Experience

Emily Alcock is a student at Luther College and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad and participating in service-learning with ISA in Valparaiso, Chile.

Forget language barriers and exotic cuisine; packing your entire life into a suitcase is one of the most daunting tasks when studying abroad. You have to consider seasonal changes and appropriate dress, all while deciding on one pair of shoes that will be your trusty sidekicks for an entire semester. Even though the most useful wardrobe will vary between countries, there are a few must-haves that every student should sneak into their suitcases before hopping the pond.

  1. Travel Battery Pack

Never miss a picture-perfect moment just because your camera runs out of battery. Rechargeable battery packs let you take power on the go, so you can be ready to snap selfies whenever! These are especially handy if you go on weekend backpacking trips, but don’t have access to electricity to keep your camera charged to capture all of the beauty. Grab the travel-sized pack and USB charging cords, and you’ll be ready for any memorable moment your host country throws your way.

Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria - Alcock - Photo 1
The annual Officer’s Ball at the Imperial Palace in Vienna, Austria.
  1. Universal Adapter

One of the best parts of living on another continent is the ability to travel easily to nearby countries. However, it’s possible that your spring break destination doesn’t share the same outlet as your host country. Without a charged phone, you won’t be able to use GPS to navigate or inform your parents about your new home for the week. Universal adapters allow you to charge your electronics (and even your travel battery pack!) in multiple countries as well as save some money by not buying a new adapter in every country.

  1. Passport Holder

Passport holders allow you to be organized while still travelling in style. These holders provide an extra layer of protection for your valuable “ticket to the world.” By guarding all of your important travel documents in one place, you never have to worry about fumbling for your visa at customs. or your boarding pass at the gate. Some brands even use material that prevents unwarranted scanning of the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips in your credit cards. Bon voyage! 

  1. Wrinkle Remover Spray

Regardless of how good you are at folding, you’re bound to have wrinkly clothes at least once during your time abroad. By keeping your travel size bottle of wrinkle releaser spray in your room, you can freshen up the shirt that got lost in the bottom of your suitcase before heading out to your internship or class.

  1. Comfort Food

Let’s be honest, comfort food is a real thing. While exploring a country’s traditional grub is quite the adventure, it can be refreshing to have some of your favorite staples from the United States. If you know that some candy and granola bars can turn your day around, throw them in your suitcase for a tough day, or even your favorite holiday. You can share some United States favorites with your host family and even find your favorite host country comfort food that you’ll be filling your suitcase with when it comes time to leave.

Traditional Restaurant, Antigua, Guatemala - Alcock - Photo 2
A traditional meal in Antigua, Guatemala.

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