College Student Life | All Colleges

7 travel essential items for a semester abroad.

No matter where you’re heading abroad, you’ll need these essentials.

1. Books

Most likely your over-enthusiastic grandmothers or worried parents have bought you a book (or a few books) on site seeing, dining, language, or history of wherever you’re headed. Whether you’ve half-heartedly paged through these or read them cover-to-cover, they’ll come in handy while abroad. Some of my Team members at College Tourist are currently reading, “Perks of being a Wallflower” or “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”. Another tip for once you arrive in your destination is to collect the local fashion magazines, like Vogue, to give you a sense of the local current culture.  If you’re trying to find a new place for dinner or simply trying to navigate the area, you can use the local apps on your phone for that. One app that does translate printed text in real time, like a menu is “Wordlens“. You can always take a small copy of your favorite travel guide like Rough Guides Book, Lonely Planet or Rick Steves.

2. Weather Appropriate Clothing  .While this may seem obvious, it’s a good idea to research the weather of where you’ll be going before you leave. “I’m going to London, there’s a big chance it will rain. Pack a lightweight raincoat  from places like  Patagonia or Uniqlo and a portable umbrella. How humid will it be? What’s the forecast – will the winter be particularly cold, or the summer particularly hot? Yes, shopping will be available abroad and yes, you’ll most likely buy your fair share of clothing during your travels, but it’s better to go ahead and have your essentials ready for when you hit the ground running (or walking and site seeing) abroad. Remember those comfortable walking shoes for all types of weather. Plus, you never know what you could ask for as a gift to save from spending while abroad!

3. Camera

iPhone photos are the norm as of late, something every college student has come to accept. Using your phone for pictures is efficient, convenient, and “good enough” as far as quality is concerned. However, if you’re going abroad, you won’t have opportunities to get a redo on pictures the same way you would at home. For pictures you can frame, scrapbook, and reflect on, a professional camera is the best option. If you have one I’d recommend bringing it along with you in your travels, and if not it’s something to definitely consider investing in. Cameras like the Nikon DSLR or the Canon DSLR 3Ti are popular.

4. Health Necessities

No matter where you’re going, the health care system will be different than it is for you at school or at home. Likely  your study abroad University or the coordinator of your program will give you information in regards to the procedures for anything health related for that region. Go prepared if you have asthma, for example, bringing your inhaler is an obvious necessity – however, if you need medicine for anxiety, birth control, or allergies, this is something you’ll want to bring with you. Thinking ahead and even bringing enough to last you through your entire time – instead of trying to access this medicine from a health clinic or have it sent to you – may be the best option to make sure you’re covered for your entire time. Take some of your favorite brands from home to have for headache, nausea or diarrhea. Vitamin C & E for immunity.

5. Electronic Power Adaptors/converters

These are necessary for charging any electronic device – phone, computer, iPod, iPad, iAnything.

6. Keepsakes

If you’re anything like me you’ll be thinking of how much you miss your friends and family the second the plane approaches the runway. Don’t bring your grandmother’s locket she gave to you (I lost it at a pub grandma…I’m sorry…), but if there are pictures of you and your friends or a favorite sweater from your sister, having these things with you will not only help decorate a new room but also remind you of home when you’re taking in that amazing scenery and wishing your family was there enjoying it with you.

7. Different Sized Luggage

Regardless of where you’re headed you will most likely have the opportunity to travel and explore further than just where you’re studying. With all of Europe to explore, I have weekend trips planned months before I’m leaving for London – and I’ll need bags that are easy to hop on a trains, buses, ferries and planes with for these excursions. The large suitcases you’re bringing with a semester’s worth of clothing won’t be necessary for a two-day visit to Paris, so having something smaller  like a back pack  and cross body bag will come in handy.

Emma Bleznak

James Madison Univerity | 8 stories

Emma Bleznak is a Public Relations and Journalism major at James Madison University. Follower her daily on twitter and instagram: @emmablez

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