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STUDY ABROAD : Before you leave - Must read

8 Mistakes students make when packing to move abroad

Seven Seas Worldwide’s shipping expert Michael Spicer provides an invaluable guide to packing before international students make a big move overseas.

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‘Moving overseas for your studies will probably be the biggest event of your life so far. There’s so much to plan for and so much to do. Luckily, I’ve been in the student removals business for a number of years (and I was also once a student in the dim and distant past), so I’ve picked up a few tips on what to do and what not to do when packing your things before shipping off and embarking on a big adventure abroad.


If you’re moving home in pursuit of a higher education in another country, check out the following run-down of mistakes to avoid. It could make your packing experience just that little bit easier.


1. Don’t skip the bathroom scales

It’s a must for students to weigh baggage before leaving for the airport. Airlines do love to slap hidden baggage charges on you if your suitcases or bags exceed the maximum weight limit. A handy tip which I’m sure all you holidaymakers are familiar with, is standing on your bathroom scales, measuring your own weight and then having someone pass your suitcase to you. All you need to do is deduct your own weight from the total. Simple!


2. Don’t forget about prohibited or restricted items

The last thing you need as you begin your journey is for your belongings to be held at security because you’ve packed something prohibited or restricted. There’s lots of information about this online but the main thing to be aware of is liquids may only be carried in containers holding 100ml or less with the exception of prescription medicine which you will need to support with documented proof.


3. Don’t pack toiletries without enclosing them in a bag

If there is a possibility of a toiletry leaking, don’t just wedge it down the side of the suitcase amongst the underwear and socks. It’s not only inconvenient for you but it may be held in customs for investigation if there is visible leakage. Always put these potentially troublesome items in a zip lock or food bag. The same goes for fragile items – wrap them thoroughly.



4. Don’t leave it till the last minute to check in

Seems an obvious one, this, but the fact is if you arrive after everyone else has checked in, you’ll greatly increase the chances of your luggage not making the plane. That would be a rather inauspicious start to your new life overseas.


5. Don’t take things you could buy at the destination country

I’m talking about books, CDs, DVDs, anything that takes up too much room and could be easily duplicated at your new address. I mean it’s all iClouds, Kindles and Spotify these days, so why add unnecessary weight to your shipment? There’s always cheap student storage out there if you need a place to hold the treasured yet obsolete items in your possession. It’s always a good idea to shop around for storage because some companies charge a fortune for what is essentially empty space.


6. Don’t put essential items in different boxes

For your own peace of mind, it’s very handy to put all the things you’ll need straight away (such as toiletries, tea and coffee-making facilities, etc.) in one handy box labelled ‘essentials’. That way, you can unpack it and set yourself up immediately. Sometimes it can feel unsettling being in a new place knowing everything you own is in a box – the ‘essentials’ box will help you feel more at home. It’s a psychological thing – plus it means you aren’t opening every single box, searching for your toothbrush.



7. Don’t forget a general bag

A lot of students forget to pack an actual bag into their shipment – something for day-to-day use like a rucksack or a day bag or something. Of course you can always buy a bag when you get to your destination country but an empty rucksack weighs nothing and takes up little room.


8. Don’t forget a change of clothes

I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen to you but in the event that your airline loses your luggage, it’s always best to have a change of clothes in your hand luggage.


Shipping need not be a stressful experience for students providing you plan ahead and above all, don’t do it all on your own!'


This post was written by Seven Seas Worldwide, an international shipping company that collect, stores and delivers personal belongings and excess baggage throughout the world.



Read our checklist of things to do before you leave


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About Author

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Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.