What are your five year abroad essentials?

Excluding official documents like passport/EHIC/Insurance, what are the five items that everyone should take with them on a year abroad?

This question was asked on 14th August 2014 and has been read 3551 times.

  • Morgan Masters · 8 years ago

    Depending where you're headed, and whether you use it- Dry shampoo! it doesn't exist in South America much to my dismay.. 

  • Maisie Tripp · 8 years ago

    1. Kindle. You can get books to entertain you through all the travelling you will do, text books, dictionaries (to stop you lumping you massive ones over in your suitcase) and guidebooks - you can get a different one for each city/country you visit, and again, it'll save you baggage weight and space. 

    2. A spare/old laptop, if you have one. If your laptop suddenly breaks/dies when you're away, you will be eternally grateful that you brought another one with you. Your laptop is your connection to the outside world, and you'll feel lost without it. 

    3. Tampax (if you are a lady!) - Tampax was available in Belgium, but not in the Netherlands, France or Germany. I can't speak for any other country, but stock up before you go. Tampons themselves ARE available, but they don't have applicators most of the time, so bear this in mind, if you are like me and you like your good old-fashioned boxes of Tampax. 

    4. Camera - you will want to document your year abroad and relying on other people to take pictures, and them put them on Facebook so you can see them can be quite time-consuming. 

    5. A good pair of shoes. I recommend Doc Martens. You will want to minimise the number of things you take with you, so just one reallllly sturdy pair of shoes will save you suitcase space and money in the long run! 

  • Heather Collier · 8 years ago

    When I did my YA in Madrid two years ago these were my top five essentials (and will no doubt remain so when I leave for Paris next month.

    1. ENGLISH TEA BAGS. When I was in Spain they drank a different tea with a higher caffeine content and it's not like we get here - also, asking for milk causes SO MUCH confusion! You can always find shops that import British products, including tea bags, but it's cheaper to just take them over with you. I know Yorkshire Tea and Tetley's do really big bags and they don't even weigh that much!

    2. PEANUT BUTTER. Very popular in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Netherlands and some parts of Asia; pretty much non-existent everywhere else. I lived near a UK/US imports shop in Madrid, but the jars of Sun Pat were tiny and overpriced, and for the regular-sized American stuff you were talking about €8! If you love the PB, it's best to take a couple of jars with you.

    3. KINDLE (other e-readers are available). If you're a keen reader definitely take with you/invest in Kindle. It weighs the same as about one hardback or a couple of paperbacks, but holds thousands of e-books! I still took a few of my favourite print books - let's face it, you can't beat print - but the Kindle saves a lot of space and weight.

    4. LINED/RULED NOTEBOOKS. This may sound like a ridiculous suggestion, but as a writer I was bewildered to find that most notebooks in Spain and especially France seemed to be squared... Let's do some casual mathematics shall we?

    5. CURRY PASTE. Paste lasts longer and spreads further than sauce jars so is the obvious winner. I don't know about anywhere else but ingredients for a good old curry (save for the rice) didn't seem to exist in Spain except, again, from an importer where they charge you a fortune - although that's the best place to get naan bread and poppadoms!

  • Sarah Murgatroyd · 8 years ago

    I loved my year abroad in Paris and Florence! While I was in Florence, I made a video with my 5 travel essentials, click to take a look! Good luck with your year abroad!

  • Sally Gascoigne · 8 years ago

    I fully agree with Heather - peanut butter, tea and decent notebooks are like gold dust in Europe. My recommendations (for the nomadic lady) are;

    1. Get to poundland and stock up on personal hygiene basics such as shower puff (if that's what they're called), a scrubbing brush, and nail clippers. A scrubbing brush is about €6 in Paris!! Furthermore don't feel guilty for taking up luggage room with your favourite moisturiser or shower gel - they might not be available where you're headed and you'd be surprised how homesick the little things can make you. #firstworldproblem, but true.

    2. Blue tac - to stick up all of your postcards and photos and make your room your own!

    3. City/country guide. It's tempting to rely on Tripadvisor but sometimes that can be overwhelming and you just want one hard-copy resource to start with.

    4. Not really a physical item, but apps on your phone such as Googlemaps, Uber and silly ones like Huntzz (treasure hunts around world famous sites) make life that little bit easier.

    5. (For girls) a small, inconspicuous bag with a zip AND button/clasp flap to go across your body. Open bags or shoulder bags will be a pickpocket's dream. Boys; bring a decent wallet that fits in your front pocket, NEVER in the back.

  • Lauren Stevens · 8 years ago
    1. Proper walking shoes: they may look fairly unattractive, but if you plan to travel, you will be walking lots. I made the mistake of only taking pumps to a city without many shops and my feet suffered
    2. I got study abroad insurance for the year, which cost me £187.32. I broke and lost 2 phones and they gave the money to replace both.
    3. Extension cable: Saves you using multiple plug adapters (but make sure you bring a spare just in case)
    4. E-reading app or device (Google Play, Kindle) so you can read books and not have to physically carry them around (be careful when you pack because you will probably buy lots there and you might have to leave some things behind)
    5. Portable charger: you can find these online (eBay) and all you have to do is charge them up and carry them with you if your phone's (or any other device's) battery dies whilst travelling
  • esther · 8 years ago

    I travelled to California for my study abroad. These were so useful to me:

    1. Baby Wipes/Make Up wipes - I had an 11+ hour flight so it was useful to take off my make up and feel refreshed.

    2. A portable charger - if you're coming from the UK or your home country, remember to take an adapter suitable for the Airline, for example, United Airlines or American Airlines, find an American adapter to use onboard.

    3. iPad/Laptop - I blog , so 11+ hours on a flight was beneficial to me to write many blog posts. 

    4. PG Tips (Tea!) - I love my tea and PG Tips is the best. I wasn't willing to risk not having tea when I arrived in America so I bought my own with me.

    5. Lotion - Just helped me to moisturise my skin, I found I get dehydrated when sitting in one place for more than 10 hours so this was useful. 

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