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9: Start packing your bags

There's a lot to take into account when studying in a different country. But when it comes to packing for international travel, there is one rule and one rule only: less is more.

To limit airline baggage charges and make it easier for you to get around, try to bring no more than one suitcase and one backpack. Remember, you can easily buy toiletries and small electrical appliances once you’re here. There is one important exception to this rule. If you need to quarantine, you’ll want to bring enough toiletries to last you for 14 days. Please make sure to bring an adaptor with you, so that you can charge all of your devices.

Top tip from Ola, St Mary’s international student:
“Be prepared for any kind of weather!”

Top tip from Kristen, International Student Experience Manager:
“A word of warning: although your baggage is very unlikely to go missing, it has been known to happen. Make sure that any valuables (like laptops) are in your hand luggage!”

What do I need to pack?

  • Purse/wallet with credit/debit card
  • Passport or ID
  • Driving Licence (if you plan to drive in the UK)
  • Mobile/cell with charger
  • Laptop/tablet with charger
  • Headphones
  • USB stick
  • Pounds Sterling (we don’t recommend bringing large amounts of cash though)
  • Offer letter from the University
  • Accommodation letter or details of where you will be living
  • Small wash bag (small toiletries bottles, toothbrush and toothpaste)
  • A light change of clothes


  • Warm weather clothes – t-shirts, shorts, dresses
  • Cold weather clothes – jumpers / sweatshirts, warm jacket / coat (the weather in the UK is variable!)
  • Waterproof / raincoat
  • Swimming costume (there’s a swimming pool 10 minutes’ walk from campus)
  • Flip flops
  • Pyjamas
  • Slippers
  • Sports clothes


  • Umbrella
  • Sunglasses

Electrical items

  • Selfie stick

Study items

  • Pens
  • Notebook

Stuff for your room

  • A favourite book or two (for a cosy night in)
  • Towel
  • A favourite pillow case or duvet set (if you're living on campus, you'll receive a bedding pack that includes a pillow, duvet, duvet set and sheets when you move into your room)
  • Earplugs and eye mask 
  • Any medication you like to have to hand e.g. plasters, throat lozenges, pain relievers
  • Books from your programme reading list
  • Extension lead
  • Speakers (if you like your music!)
  • Hairdryer, straighteners or curlers (if you want to bring these with you from home, please be aware that UK wall sockets have their own plug style)
  • Adaptor - to physically plug something from home into the wall, you’ll need a plug adaptor. You may also need a converter or transformer. You can find a handy guide to plug and voltage information online.
  • Batteries
  • Scarf and hat
  • Dressing gown
  • Evening dress or smart jacket (we do have some fancy events on campus – these are optional but fun!)
  • Toiletries
  • Some kitchen items of your own depending on where you live – glass, mug, bowl, plate, tin opener, bottle opener
  • Stuff to do in your free time – books, Frisbee, football

We've created a version of our packing guide for international studentsthat you can download and print off.

Next: Before you fly

Previous: Arrange airport pick-up