Practical Pre-Departure Checklist & Packing Tips

As you prepare to get on a plane, it is now time to review the below final checklist full of practical items and packing tips to ensure your travel goes smoothly.  Also, take note of what NOT to pack by visiting this website.

  • Notify your bank and credit cards that you will be in Washington, DC.  Make sure they won’t block your accounts when they see charges from a new city, and ask for phone numbers to call in the event you have any issues.
  • Have all medications you may need for the full term & bring a copy of prescriptions (medication, eyeglasses, etc.) and carry it with you in your carry on.  Your carry on should also have all important paperwork, phone numbers, and a change of clothes in case your luggage arrives late.
  • Make photocopies of your ID, passport/visa, and cards (bank, credit card). Leave one copy of this packet with your parents and bring a set with you in your carry-on.  That way, if these items are lost or stolen, they’re much easier to replace.
  • Bring your flight confirmation printout to the airport.
  • Check the luggage restrictions for your airline before you pack.
  • Have some cash on hand to get you through the first few days.
  • Have a copy of your arrival cheat sheet – and leave one with your family!
  • Set up a plan of communicating with your family members while studying away —we recommend calling or e-mailing them only once or twice a week. Your parents will ALWAYS want to talk to you more often than that, but remember that part of studying in another city is putting some distance between you and your old life. You’ll be better for it!
  • Buy a journal.  Study Away is a profoundly personal experience and Instagram updates alone won’t capture the spirit of what you are doing.  Keep a journal that is meant to be just for you.
  • Bring a small weekend-size bag/backpack/collapsible duffle bag for trips you’ll take.
  • Don’t forget that you cannot bring more than 3 oz. of any liquid in your carry on for your flight.  Airport security can be very stringent. Make sure you follow all the rules when it comes to flying!
  • If you follow a special diet (vegetarian, kosher, etc.) don’t forget to inform your airline ahead of time. It’s horribly unpleasant to be hungry and thirsty while you’re on a plane and they control when you get meals, so bring some snacks (stay away from fruit, as some countries don’t want you to bring perishable food into their airports). And make sure you have your own water on the flight (though, remember, you can’t take any through security).
  • Last but definitely not least, try to pack LIGHT.  Layers, layers, layers!  You will inevitably come home with more than you started with.
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