Packing for a year abroad is significantly different from packing for your first year of university. You may *need* the same stuff, but you probably only have one or two suitcases and a piece of hand luggage. It can be tricky, but remember, you can get a lot of the stuff that you need in that country.

This time last year I was searching the Internet for the ultimate packing list for doing a year abroad, and most weren’t that helpful. In the end, I did manage to successfully pack my two suitcases, and two pieces of hand luggage, but I still forgot stuff.

Today, I am sharing my list that I created this time last year. The list may not be helpful for everyone, but if you are going to Canada, then it might be.


Ideally this is the stuff that you have on you, from the travelling part, too arriving at your host university.


Think passport, any visa information, any information you needed for your visa (bank statements, host university acceptance letter, Student Finance England letters), any official letters from host university, travel insurance, travel booking confirmation, how to get to your new university etc.


Pretty straight forward, but getting a travel money card is great and also might mean you don’t have to open up a bank account when abroad, unless you get a job.


You are probably going to need a laptop to communicate with you home and host university, oh and write essays on, and binge watch Netflix. Don’t forget any leads, they can be expensive abroad (especially apple leads).


You know the stuff that your parents normally pack, or packed for you when you went to uni the first time – and I’m not talking about any kitchen stuff – although do pack British tea bags, and British chocolate.

Extension Lead

When everything has a British plug on the end, and you only have TWO adaptors, get yourself at least one extension lead, just so you can plug all your British electronics in. Also plug sockets always tend to be in awful places.

Flip Flops

Sharing a communal bathroom (or washroom, as they call them across the Atlantic), walking back to your room, where people have walked in their shoes that are probably dirty. Yeah maybe take some flip flops with you, to either wear in the shower, or if you are going to hit up a beach on your travels.


Yes, we take them on every holiday, but instead of spending $50 on your first trip to Shoppers Drug Mart, buy and take some of your favourite stuff out there with you. Don’t forget your toothpaste and toothbrush, especially if you are getting in late at night and there are no shops open. Just don’t pack half a suitcase, as it will be heavy, and you know you also need clothes and shoes.

There is no need to take bedding with you, unless you are told too, but if you are told to just buy it out there. The same goes with towels, and anything decorative, but DO take photos to stop you making yourself feel home sick.


This part is down to you. You probably don’t need to pack your winter coat, as you can get someone to send that out to you. I would say only pack 4 or 5 pairs of shoes, again, there will be plenty of opportunities to buy clothes and shoes. I packed probably 9 pairs of shoes, and only wore probably 4 pairs up to Christmas. A pair of heels, trainers, converse, and a smarter pair of shoes is probably all you need. You can buy boots out there, and i’m not just talking about the snow boots that I only wore once. The same goes for buying a snow coat if you are going somewhere that gets a lot of snow and can get very cold, buy out there, it will probably be cheaper.

If you are going to Canada, pack for Winter and SUMMER. For the first two months, I was wearing summer clothes, swimming in the lake, and sunbathing on the grass by the lake. However, come mid November, you will want your thermals and a coat.

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