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Study abroad Sri Lanka: Travel packing checklist and tips

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Multinational group of cheerful students taking an active part in a lesson while sitting in a lecture hall.; Shutterstock ID 393668236; purchase_order: 0018234; job: D0312973; client: DHL Express; other: DHL LK: Industry Specific Campaign 2022

Studying abroad is an exciting experience that offers valuable educational and personal growth opportunities for the youth of Sri Lanka. However, moving to study abroad requires meticulous planning and preparation. One of the crucial parts of your preparation is packing all your belongings for the trip. If you currently have a lot of possessions, you must narrow them down to the essential things when you move overseas. 

This is where smart packing comes in. Smart packing involves efficiently storing your essential belongings in your suitcase or travel bags so you can reduce the stress associated with the relocation. Moreover, when you properly organise your items for the trip, you avoid last-minute purchases or replacing documents, saving you both time and money. 

To help you get started on smart packing, we give you a comprehensive checklist for all the things to pack when going abroad to study and tips on how to organise them efficiently.

1. Essential documents

Your journey begins with proper documentation. Here's a list of necessary documents to pack and keep safe:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • University acceptance letter
  • Health insurance information
  • Emergency contact details

Packing tips for essential documents you need when studying abroad

  • Scan all your essential documents and save them in multiple secure locations online. Consider using cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox, offering easy access from anywhere. Make sure your digital copies are password-protected and encrypted for added security.
  • While digital backups are convenient, having physical copies is equally important. Place these documents in a waterproof envelope or pouch to protect them from unexpected spills or rainy weather.
  • If possible, create multiple copies of your essential documents and store them in safe locations. These copies can be a lifesaver in case of theft or loss.

However, if the overseas university you enrolled in requires sending essential documents promptly, you can take advantage of DHL Express Easy Student. This exclusive offer allows students planning to study abroad to ship university-related documents with DHL Express at a 50% discount. That way, you can enjoy the benefits and reliability of our seamless international direct shipping while saving money. 

2. Clothing and footwear

It's essential to consider the climate and culture of your destination to ensure a comfortable and stress-free study abroad journey. Select versatile clothing and footwear, and pack efficiently to maximise your luggage space. Here are some general guidelines:

Pack clothing based on climates and cultures

Before you start packing clothes for your relocation, it's crucial to research the climate and culture of your study abroad destination. If the overseas university is in a tropical climate, similar to Sri Lanka’s climate, bring clothes with light, breathable fabric, especially cotton and linen. For colder climates, layering is key, so bring thermal undergarments, warm sweaters, and a waterproof jacket. Should the university be in a country with unpredictable weather, pack a mix of clothing suitable for warm and cold conditions.

Research on the culture and lifestyle of the place you’re staying in is important overall so that you can adapt during your stay. However, when staying in a country where the culture has a modest dress requirement, it’s crucial to research the dress code to respect their customs. Furthermore, consider packing a scarf or shawl that can double as a cover-up when needed. It's a versatile accessory that can elevate your outfit while respecting local norms.

Choose versatile and comfortable clothing and footwear

Selecting the right clothing and footwear ensures your comfort and adaptability during your study abroad programme. When packing your clothing, prioritise comfort. Choose items that you feel comfortable wearing for long periods. As you want to focus on your studies and explore your new environment, comfort is key. Additionally, opt for versatile and timeless clothing styles. Neutral colours and classic pieces can be mixed and matched effortlessly, allowing you to create a variety of outfits with fewer items. This reduces the number of clothes you need to bring and makes dressing each day more convenient.

For footwear, choose comfortable and durable pairs that are well-suited for walking and exploring. Your shoes should provide support and comfort as you familiarise yourself with your new surroundings. Whether you need casual or formal options, prioritise quality and comfort on your packing list. If you need dressier footwear options for special occasions or academic events, select versatile shoes that can complement multiple outfits. This minimises the number of pairs you need to pack, saving space and simplifying your packing process. 

Avoid packing bulky or infrequently worn footwear. Focus on the essentials that suit your daily activities and the climate of your destination.

Organise clothes in your suitcase efficiently

Efficient packing is essential to make the most of your luggage space. Follow these tips to stay organised when packing for your study abroad programme:

  • Consider rolling your clothes instead of folding them. Rolling not only minimises wrinkles but also saves space, allowing you to fit more items into your suitcase efficiently. Plus, it makes it easier to see what's inside each roll.
  • Invest in packing cubes or compression bags to keep your clothing neatly organized within your suitcase. These handy accessories help you separate items by category or outfit, making it easy to locate what you need without rummaging through your entire luggage.
  • Maximise space by filling empty gaps in your suitcase. For example, tuck smaller items, like socks or underwear, into the gaps between larger clothing items or shoes. Make use of interior pockets and compartments as well.

3. Electronics and gadgets

Electronics and gadgets can be useful in keeping up with your studies and communicating with your loved ones while you are away. These are some of the electronics and gadgets to bring with you overseas:

  • Laptop
  • Smartphone
  • Adapters and chargers for your devices
  • Tablets (optional)

Tips on safely packing electronics and gadgets

Packing electronics when you’re planning to move for your study abroad programme requires careful consideration to ensure they arrive in working condition and remain secure throughout your journey. Here's a list of tips on how to pack electronics safely:

  • Before packing your devices, back up all important data to a cloud storage service or an external hard drive. This safeguards your valuable information in case of loss or damage.
  • Use screen protectors or laptop sleeves to shield screens from scratches and minor impacts. Also, a dedicated laptop bag or case with padding provides extra protection during transit.
  • As much as possible, keep your electronics in your carry-on bag to minimise the risk of damage or theft. This way, you can keep an eye on them throughout your journey.
  • Use cable organisers or zip ties to keep charging cables and cords neat and tangle-free. Packing cables separately reduces the risk of damage.

4. Health and hygiene

Properly packing essential toiletries, prescription medications, and a basic first aid kit is crucial even when you move to a different country for your studies. We provide a list of essential health and hygiene items you may need so you can save time and money as you transition into your new living space.

Essential toiletries checklist

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body wash or soap
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen

Health and wellness essentials checklist

  • Over-the-counter-medication
  • Prescription medication (if any)
  • A copy of the prescription (if any)
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Allergy medication (if any)

Tips for packing health and hygiene products

  • Check local regulations: Research the regulations and restrictions on bringing medications into your host country. Some medications may need special requirements, so you can bring them with you to your destination. For example, if you’re planning to move to Canada and you’re bringing medication that contains controlled substances, like narcotics, controlled drugs, or targeted substances, you must meet certain terms and conditions. This includes bringing the minimum required amount of medication, labelling and packaging the medication in pharmacy or hospital packaging, and presenting a prescription from a doctor, dentist, or nurse practitioner.
  • Use travel-sized containers: Transfer toiletries into travel-sized containers to save space and adhere to liquid restrictions for air travel, which is 100 ml or less per item.
  • Label everything: Clearly label all prescription medications and carry them in their original packaging to avoid confusion.
  • Keep essentials in your carry-on: Place prescription medications, important medical documents, and a small first aid kit in your carry-on bag for easy access during your journey.
  • Research local availability: Familiarise yourself with the availability of toiletries and medications in your host country. You can purchase many items locally, so you may not need to bring large quantities.
  • Stay informed: Learn about local healthcare facilities and pharmacies in your destination in case you need medical assistance or refills during your stay.
  • Passport 
  • Visa
  • University acceptance letter
  • Health insurance information
  • Emergency contact details
  • Comfortable clothing fit for the country’s climate
  • Comfortable and durable footwear
  • Laptop
  • Smartphone
  • 100 ml or less of hygiene products
  • Medications

What not to pack

When packing for your study abroad adventure, it's equally important to know what not to pack. Avoiding unnecessary items, things that can be easily purchased abroad, or those that might cause customs issues will make your packing process more efficient and hassle-free. Here's a list of items you may want to leave behind:

  • Oversized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and other toiletries
  • Bulky winter gear (if you’re in a warm climate or arriving in the summer)
  • Excessive clothing
  • Bedding and linens
  • Excessive books
  • High-voltage appliances
  • Large electronics and appliances

For shipping packages and documents promptly, choose DHL Express

As you prepare for your move to study abroad, remember that DHL Express is here to support you. Our global shipping and delivery service ensures that your packages, documents, and important university-related paperwork reach their destination safely and on time.

Explore DHL Express’s reliable shipping options and enjoy the convenience of secure international deliveries. We're committed to making your study abroad experience seamless and stress-free. Open an account with us today to get started.

If your study abroad programme is in a country in the European Union, you can check out our essential steps for product shipping from Sri Lanka to the European Union.