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General Packing Tips

Packing for a few weeks or months abroad can be stressful, so we've listed a few general packing tips and guidelines below. 

The general rule when you are packing is: if you don't wear it here, you won't wear it there.  Don't pack too much, and don't pack anything that needs to be dry-cleaned or ironed.  It's better to layer up then to have bulky sweatshirts and sweaters.  Nobody will care or notice if you wear the same jeans all the time, or the same black pants.  Pack dark colors that won't show dirt, and don't pack too many of one thing.

Lay out all of your clothes on the bed or floor, now cut the pile in half; that is what you should bring.  You will have to carry everything you bring - if you're not able to carry it up and down the stairs, or around the house a few times, you have packed way too much!

What to leave at home:

  • Copy of your passport
  • Copy of all credit card/debit card details you are bringing with you
  • Copy of all important UHart and program provider contact numbers

What to take care of before you leave:

  • If you expect a refund from the University of Hartford for the semester you are abroad, be sure to set that up with the Bursar before you leave for the semester
  • Complete and sign your FAFSA form to ensure you get your financial aid package
  • Complete and sign any income tax documents to be filed by April

What to pack with you on the plane:

  • Your passport
  • A copy of your passport (keep it separate from where you keep your passport)
  • A few toiletries - i.e. toothbrush, small supplies like shampoo, toothpaste, etc. (pay attention to the airline 3-1-1 rule)
  • A change of clothes in case your bag is lost
  • DO NOT pack daily medications in your checked luggage in case the bag(s) are lost.  Leave your medications in the original prescription bottles, some medications may need a note from your doctor explaining the prescription so medications are not confiscated at customs. 

General Packing Tips:

  • Pack an extra duffel in your suitcase for when you come home and have more stuff.
  • Pack a day bag or little backpack for sightseeing and overnight trips.
  • Leave expensive jewelry at home.
  • The electricity is different in every country; you may need an adapter and converter in order for your plug-ins to work.  Do not bring a hair-dryer or straightener; you can buy an inexpensive one when you arrive.
  • If you choose to bring your laptop, it is your responsibility to make sure thatyou have the appropriate adaptors and property insurance for it.  For those who wish to travel after the semester, keep in mind you will have to bring your laptop with you or pay to have it stored.
  • Luggage weight restrictions vary by airline.  Make sure you check the airline's website for international restrictions.  They will ask you to pay extra fees if you go over the weight limit or they may ask you to remove things.


  • If you have a prescription, bring enough for the entire program and extra just in case
  • Contacts/Glasses: bring an extra pair
  • Birth Control/Condoms: make sure that if you are going to be sexually active, you use contraception.  Talk to your gynecologist about bringing a semester's worth of birth control with you
  • Small pack of tissues
  • You can buy refills for most things, but if you will only use a particular brand of something, then bring enough to last the entire time (but be ready to pay extra fees for overweight luggage)
  • Hand sanitizer - so helpful when traveling!

Miscellaneous Items

  • Journal
  • Extra passport photographs (often needed to make ID and discount cards)
  • A good book and/or travel book on the country you're going to (Lonely Planet, Let's Go, Rick Steves, etc.)
  • Camera with extra battery and memory cards
  • a TSA approved lock for your luggage and backpack (good for traveling in hostels)
  • Change purse (many countries use lots of coins that are worth lots of money)
  • Umbrella and/or rain coat
  • Sunglasses
  • A few things to remind you of home