Packing list for Indian students going abroad: What all to get?

Packing list for Indian students going abroad

The joy of receiving an admission confirmation from your dream college is huge; however, the next step, which is preparing a packing list, can be a daunting task. While it can be overwhelming to carefully pick what to carry along and what to avoid, choosing wisely and having a practical approach towards the utility of items can prove beneficial. The packing list for Indian students going abroad can be exhaustive but a careful analysis of your basic needs can take you a long way.

 It takes more than common sense to figure out all the things to carry while traveling abroad. Leaving a country and settling down abroad for some years is not an easy task. A pre-departure shopping list for students going to Canada, the UK, or any other country is very important, and every international student must pay attention to this. 

Packing is much more than shoving your entire life into a suitcase. Even though packing looks easy, for international travel with the purpose of staying for years, it is not that easy. Now, before you fall short of time, let us throw some light on all the packing essentials and bring you the perfect study abroad guide for Indian students:

kickstart your study abroad journey

Read More: Study Abroad Checklist | Masters in Abroad

Before you start packing

1. Stay informed about the rules and regulations based on the current travel restrictions and protocols by various countries. COVID-19 has complicated travel, so make sure to prepare for study, travel, and accommodation while adhering to the guidelines.

2. Get a COVID-19 test done. Prepare the checklist for 14 days of quarantine, as there are countries like Canada that focus on a 14-day self-isolation.  

3. Verify your luggage restrictions with your airline.

4. Arrange travel and accommodation.

5. Prepare a packing list.

Steps to packing the right essentials

1. International flights allow 23kg for check-in luggage. Therefore, the idea should be to find a versatile and spacious bag to accommodate all the essentials. A four-wheel 360-degree rotating bag will be a good option. It will help in keeping the weight off your hands.

2. International students need to arrange and organize a complete checklist of essentials so that there are no miss outs. When international students leave the country and travel to a foreign land, the chances of returning soon are low, unless there is a semester-end break or an emergency. Thus, it is essential to organize and plan all the essentials before you move. Some important checklists while organizing your packing should be: 

a) Use a pen drive or Google drive to store all the documents and information.

b) Arrange airport transfers in advance.

c)  Book temporary accommodation.

d) Check the luggage weight restriction.

e) Check the items that are not allowed to be carried.

f) Use a luggage tag to identify your baggage and not get confused with someone else’s.

g) Upload the photos of all the important documents.

h) Find a suitable place to accommodate all your essentials before you pack them up.

i) Keep ticking off the checklist by matching the items and essentials.

3. Know the difference between checked-in and carry-on luggage. International students need to understand the difference so that they pack correctly. Various items cannot be carried in the checked-in baggage. To avoid any misunderstanding, make sure the baggage restrictions are read properly. A well-planned study abroad guide for Indian students will help in deciding the things to consider and things to avoid.

Read More: Study abroad after 12th or graduation | Study Abroad With Pathway Programs

Important packing checklist

Once you get your visa and admission confirmation, it is time to know the essentials that you must pack for safe travel and stay in a foreign country. Avoid last-minute undesirable situations and go through all the essentials that every international student must pack:

1. Travel documents

2. Clothing

3. Medicine

4. Electronic gadgets

5. Mobile applications

6. Personal documents

7. Toiletries

8. Miscellaneous

9. Luggage

10. Contact abroad

11. Travel

Important Scholarships to Study Abroad:

 State Scholarship | Fulbright Scholarship | Vidya Lakshmi Portal | Narotam Sekhsaria

Travel documents

The most essential are your travel documents. Documents will be important for students to successfully fly, pass immigration check-ins, board, and undergo post-departure formalities. Also, keep a photocopy of each of your documents separately so that you can have an alternative in case it gets misplaced. Furthermore, it will make the process of acquiring duplicate or replacement documents easier for the immigration services. Here are all the important travel documents:

1. Passport

2. Credit cards

3. Student visa

4. College admission proof

5. Train tickets

6. Flight ticket

7. Boarding pass

8. Student card

9. Accommodation proof

10. Enrollment confirmation

11. Health insurance proof

Read More: Study abroad from India with great affordability and efficiency


International students need to keep medicines handy, especially when the student is undergoing a treatment. For any prescribed medication, make sure you carry it in a good quantity. It might be possible that the same medicine brand is not available in the host country. For any such emergencies, the international students will get help from the local medical assistance team. Carry the prescription for any future reference. Some common or general medicines that should be carried along for safe travel are:

1. Paracetamol

2. Antacids

3. Painkillers

4. Anti-allergies

5. Antiseptic

6. Bandages

7. Cough syrup

8. Dettol

Recommended Read: Study Bachelors Abroad

Local currency

It is very important to have some local currency of the country that you are moving to. Nowadays, Visa and Master Cards are easily accepted in every country. It is easy to get local currency from foreign exchange centers, airport kiosks, and currency exchange offices. Avoid any kind of trouble related to the fake currencies offered by false agencies. Read a little about the basics of the currency of the country to get a fair idea. Carry enough cash for easy access to necessities and expenses on the way.


Miscellaneous items are not essentials. It is up to the students to choose whether to include them or not. Some of them are:

1. Essential jewelry

2. Bedsheets

3. Pillows

4. Sleeping bag

5. Educational supplies

6. Purse

7. Backpack

8. Towel

9. Water bottle

10. Sunglasses

11. Books

12. Journals

13. Watch

Read More: Reduce cost of master’s abroad by 20 lakhs

Electronic devices

Electronic devices are essential today. One cannot travel without gadgets like mobile phones, laptops, headphones, and tablets. However, the most essential thing would be a universal adapter. This is because the outlets in hostels, accommodation and dormitories will not be the same as at home. It is better to purchase beforehand, as it will be difficult to locate anything as soon as you move to a new country. Here are some of the other essential electric gadgets that should be carried along:

1. Mobile phones

2. Headphones

3. Tablet

4. Charger

5. Laptop

6. USB cable

7. Anything that you use for daily convenience


Do not carry hair styling gadgets in your carry-on luggage. It is better to avoid hair styling gadgets because they consume a lot of power and electricity can be too costly in foreign countries. Some of the essentials you can carry in this segment:

1. Hairbrush

2. Hair comb

3. Toothbrush

4. Deodorant

5. Make-up

6. Contact lenses

7. Tissues

8. Razors (Carry them in your checked-in luggage)

9. Mask

10 Hand sanitizer

11. Toothpaste

12. Face wash

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International students should carry as many clothes as they can from their homes. This will save a lot of money. Carry clothes that can be used for various climatic conditions. Check the weather updates of the country that you are traveling to. Carry cotton, durable, easily drip-dried and comfortable clothes. If uniform is needed for colleges or universities, make sure it is available when you visit the campus. Here are some of the clothing essentials that you must carry:

1. Jeans

2. Hoodies

3. Pajamas

4. Sweater

5. Jackets

6. Workout clothes

7. Activewear

8. Accessories

9. Flip flops

10. Running shoes

11. Heels

12. Formals

13. Scarves

14. Mufflers

15. Caps or hats

Before leaving home, do the below

1. Check the passport’s expiry date

2. Arrange a contact number for the new country

3. Create a new email address

4. Photocopy of all essential documents

5. Communication with the respective educational institutions

6. Fully charged batteries for phone, camera, and laptop

Read More: Cheapest countries to study abroad for Indian students

Carry on essential for traveling abroad

1. Documents (Visa, passport, valid IDs, university admission proof)

2. Currency

3. Phones, chargers, headphones

4. COVID-19 test report (Applicable for the pandemic phase)

5. Masks and sanitizers

6. Diary

7. Pen

8. Medicine

9. Cash

10. Credit cards

Checked-in essentials for traveling abroad

 1. Clothes

2. Toiletries

3. Documents

4. Medicine

5. Electronic gadgets

6. Shoes

7. Everything else that students need

Read More: Reduce cost of bachelor’s abroad by 20 lakhs

How to resist the urge to overpack

When packing to travel to another country, we tend to overpack and stuff our suitcases with things we may never use during our stay. To address this problem and decide what things to carry while traveling abroad from India, one can try the following tricks:

  1. Early packing – If you start planning and setting aside all the things you will need early on, it becomes much easier to figure out what you may not need.
  2. Removing irrelevant items – Make a list and stick to it. You should avoid packing heavy and bulky items which may not be necessary. 
  3. Do your research – Connect with other Indian students already studying abroad to gain some helpful tips and guidance on what can be easily bought in the host country and what you should carry along.

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Things to consider before packing

Being a student about to travel abroad for higher studies, deciding what to pack in your luggage is important. Planning early and creating a packing list for Indian students going abroad is of paramount importance. Let us now look at some points to remember before packing for a foreign country:

Duration of your stay– If your study period is relatively shorter, you may not need to pay too much attention to what you pack. However, if you are packing for a longer stay, you need to be extra cautious and vigilant about your packing.

Climatic conditions of that country– Most of your packing depends on the climatic conditions of the foreign country you are traveling to. For instance, if you are traveling to a country like Canada, which is known for its cold weather, you will need to pack warmer clothes accordingly.

Societal environment- You should always consider whether the country you are traveling to is host to a liberal society or a conservative one. Keeping this in mind, you will want to pack accordingly so that you can blend in seamlessly.

Be versatile – When it comes to clothing, focus on pieces that can be worn in different styles. One trick is to choose basic colors as they can be styled more diversely. Pack some accessories like belts, necklaces, scarves for your styles.

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Things not to carry while traveling abroad

Flights to foreign countries have their own rules and regulations about things that can be carried from one country to another. There are a few things that should not be carried for a hassle-free traveling experience. For best guidance, speak with the upGrad Abroad counselors today to find out the things to bring when traveling abroad. Here are some of the things that should not be carried while traveling abroad:

1. Heavy bottles of liquid

Liquid is not allowed on flights. If you are planning to keep yourself hydrated while traveling, get water or drinks from the airport. Large bottles of drinks, sanitizers, oil, or shampoo will not be allowed while traveling. Carry the small-sized ones, as that will be sufficient for a week’s time.

2. Books

Books always add a lot of weight. It will take up space. Books are easily available in the college library or students can buy them. Carrying books from one country to another will occupy unnecessary space. Rather, space should be utilized for other essentials.

3. Snacks

Carrying snacks takes up a lot of space. A good idea could be to taste the food of the host country instead of carrying food from the home. Do not use the space for something that will not be allowed in the host country. Food is good in foreign countries and trying out the food of the host country helps the students get accustomed to the new culture.

4. Expensive jewelry

Expensive phones and laptops are a necessity. It is okay for students to carry their expensive gadgets, but one must avoid expensive jewelry. It is not recommended for any student traveling abroad to carry costly jewelry. This is a strict no.

5. Inappropriate clothes

Studying abroad involves a lot of dos and don’ts. One such don’t is to pack any inappropriate clothing. If any student is traveling to a country that is conservative in nature, clothing should be appropriate. Pack according to the host country’s culture, and students must abide by the rules of the host country.

A planned packing list for Indian students going abroad will help them manage and organize all the essentials and documents in the right order. A focus on your objective behind travelling abroad can simplify this otherwise challenging task.   

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What should you not pack or bring along to study abroad?

Packing only the essentials and packing light is important given that you only have a certain weight limit you must adhere to. When traveling abroad, be strategic and avoid unnecessary electronics, bedding items, clothing and footwear not suited for the weather, books (opt for e-books), etc.

How much luggage is allowed in international flights for students?

For international flights, students are allowed to carry 2 to 3 pieces of baggage weighing 23 kgs each. Some airlines may allow extra baggage allowance for students traveling abroad.

What should international students bring to Canada?

Things to carry while travelling abroad from India include one’s passport, personal documents, prescription medicines if any, some local currency, toiletries, charger, adapter, and hand sanitizer. One should keep in mind the climatic conditions of Canada and not forget to pack essentials like warm clothing.

What to bring to the USA as a student?

Packing list for Indian students going abroad should include all electronic essentials like external HDD, charger, adapter, kitchen essentials that you may not find in the USA, prescription medicines if any, local currency along with essential clothing items depending on the weather conditions of the city you are traveling to.

What should students bring to Australia?

Things a student should bring to Australia include their OSHC card which is their health insurance, summer clothes, warm coat, travel adaptors, etc. in addition to all official documents and personal items.

What should you buy before studying abroad?

Before traveling to study abroad, one should positively purchase items such as a portable charger, travel adapters for one’s electronics, snacks for the duration of travel, and essential personal care products.

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