Packing List for Indian Students Going Abroad: What You Should and Shouldn’t Bring

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    Komal Yadav

    Study Abroad Expert

    After receiving enrollment from university, next step is to prepare a packing list for Indian students going abroad. The challenge here is to decide what to include and what should be left behind. Since study abroad aspirants have to spend months or years in a new country, it is important to plan wisely. Although there’s no fixed formula to decide what to take or what not to take, this article lists some of the basic things that should be kept in mind while packing.

    Steps to Prepare Packing List for Indian Students Going Abroad

    A proper planning is required before actually starting the packing process so that you don't miss out on anything important. Following are the three steps that Indian students could follow while making a list of items for moving to any university across the world:

    Choose Luggage Bag

    It is important to pick a baggage that could fit in all the items you are planning to take with you to the new country. Try to find a luggage bag large enough to carry all the essentials but make sure you can carry it with ease too. Make sure it is versatile enough and easy to move around. A four wheeler stroller bag is most suited as it keeps the weight off your hand. Just in case you choose to carry a backpack, make sure it is a wheeled one for hands-free mobility.

    Organize before Packing

    Make a checklist of all the required items before preparing a packing list for Indian students going abroad. This ensures that you don't miss anything and helps you in better planning and organizing. Remember that once you move to another country for studying, chances are you wont be able to return back to your home country at least till the end of semester. This period in most of the countries lasts for 4 to 5 months. Thus, missing out on any important document or stuff can complicate your otherwise smooth transition.

    Refer to the below given checklist for reference on how to pack light for study abroad:

    • Upload all important documents and photos to cloud storage
    • Save important information and contact details on google storage
    • Arrange pick-ups and drop-offs from the airport beforehand.
    • Check the luggage weight restrictions of the airline service you are using
    • Make your luggage identifiable by adding a name tag or a mark/symbol.

    Items for Carry-on and Checked-in luggage

    It is important to know what items should be kept in carry-on luggage and what should be included in checked-in luggage to avoid hussle at the airport. Carry-on luggage should have following items in the packing list of Indian students going abroad:

    • Important documents
    • Currency of host country
    • Prescription medicines
    • Phone, charger and other gadgets
    • Rest of the items should be packed in checked-in baggage.

    What to Include in Packing List for Indian Students Going Abroad

    You got your offer letter and visa confirmation. Now you should start researching on things to buy before studying abroad. This must include following items:

    Travel Documents

    First and the foremost important thing to include in the packing list for indian students going abroad is to pack all essential documents. Also, have photocopies of these documents too in case the original gets stolen. This makes the process of acquiring replacements a lot easier from immigration office if the original gets lost or stolen. This includes:

    • Passport
    • Student Visa
    • Credit Card
    • Travel Itinerary
    • Plane and train ticket
    • Boarding Pass
    • Student Card
    • Health insurance card or copy of travel health insurance
    • Enrollment confirmation from university
    • Fee receipt for accommodation allotted

    Prescription Medicine

    If you are taking prescription medicine, carry them with you in quantity enough to cover your whole period of stay if possible. This is because it is not certain whether the medicine you require is available in the country or not. Carry the doctor’s prescription too in case you run out of dosses.

    You should also take some general medicines with you such as for headache, cold & cough, etc. Just ensure that the brand you are using is legal in the country you are moving to. Some of such medicines that should be included in the packing list for Indian students going abroad:

    • Paraceutamols
    • Cough Syrups
    • Bandages
    • Anti-allergy medicines
    • Dettol or any other antiseptic liquid
    • Antiseptic creams

    Local Currency

    Now-a-days visas and mastercards are accepted throughout the world. Still, it is advisable to have some local currency with you just in case. This could be done at airport kiosks, foreign exchange desks and private money exchange businesses. You can also get foreign currency cards and traveler’s checks for exchanges at a foreign country.

    Electronic Devices

    Electronic devices like mobile phones and laptops also count as an essential these days. However, there is a very high possibility that outlets of your dormitory, residence hall or apartment will not be the same as the one you have in your home country. Thus, it is advised to carry a universal adaptor from your home country just in case you couldn’t find a place to purchase one in the foreign country. Following is the list of essential electronic items that should be included in the packing list for Indian students going abroad:

    • Cell Phone
    • Laptop
    • Outlet Adaptors
    • USB Cables
    • Charges for phone, laptop, etc.

    Mobile Applications

    It is a well known fact that mobile applications are making life easier in the present scenario. Although you wont “pack” them in literal sense, these will smoothen your transition from one country to another. Some of the important ones among them are maps, translator, cab services, food apps, hotel services, dictionary or translator to understand local language, etc.

    Do a little research and find out what apps are popular in the country you are planning to visit. It is also important to install messaging apps like whatsapp, skype, etc. so that you can connect with your family at home country for free.


    Research for the type of the climate and culture prevalent in the country you are moving to and pack your clothes accordingly. If you are moving to countries like the USA, Canada, etc pack warm clothes as they have cold weather whereas east-asian and african countries have warmer weather. Don't go overboard and pack only basic outfits. There is no specific clothing packing list for Indian students going abroad. However, following are some of the essential items that you can keep in your wardrobe:

    • A jacket (preferably weatherproof)
    • Raincoat (if it is rainy weather in the country)
    • 1-2 pair of shoes and shocks
    • Few pairs of undergarments
    • 3-4 casual outfits
    • 3-4 daily wear outfits
    • At least one business outfit
    • Towel


    There is a high probability that you won’t go shopping immediately after landing at the study abroad destination. You might also not find your choice of brand or its close alternative immediately. Hence, it is always a good idea to take some essential daily use items along with the luggage. The quantity should be enough to support you till the time you get settled, (approximately a week). Some of the these items to include in the packing list of Indian students going abroad are as follows:

    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and soap
    • Deodorant or perfumes
    • Shaver, rajor, shaving cream, comb
    • Sanitary napkins
    • Tissues and toilet papers
    • Makeup and some other basic grooming kit


    Some other items that can be included in the packing list for Indian students going abroad are as follows. These are not as mandatory as above mentioned essentials. So it is up to you whether you want to carry them from your home country or buy them from the host country.

    • Backpack (to carry your books and assignments to the university)
    • Purse or wallet
    • Sunglasses
    • Contact lenses
    • Essential jewelry
    • Sleeping bag
    • A journal or diary
    • Bedsheets, pillows
    • Office supplies like paper, pen, folder, etc

    What Not to Include in Packing List for Indian Students Going Abroad

    It is equally important to know what should be avoided while preparing a packing list for Indian students going abroad. Following is the compiled list of some of such items:

    Heavy Liquids in Bottles

    Do not carry a large bottle of hand sanitizer, shampoo or any other liquid stuff. A small size to survive you for a week is enough.

    Culturally Inappropriate Clothing

    It is important to carry clothes that are acceptable in the country you are moving to. Also, remember that you will be spending most of your time in the university or college. So pack according to the culture prevalent in your university or department. For example, some universities have strict guidelines to dress formally whereas some allow dressing in casual clothes.


    Books add extra weight to the luggage, take up a lot of space and most probably you won't read them more than once. Also, you can buy them from the host country or borrow from the library. Hence, it is advised not to pack books along with the luggage.

    Snacks or Food

    Carrying some snacks for the flight is a good idea but packing for a month or more than that will just add the extra weight and take up the space of other more important things. Instead of packing snacks, explore the food items of the host country and try to mingle more in their culture.

    Expensive Items

    Laptops and mobile phones are necessary to be included in the packing list for Indian students going abroad. However, other expensive items like jewelry should be avoided. These might get broken or stolen in the journey.

    Preparing a packing list is no doubt a daunting process. Focus on your main purpose behind going abroad for studies and plan accordingly. All you need to do is have a comprehensive list and make sure you don’t forget anything important.