Knowing what to bring with you on your summer program abroad isn’t just a matter of packing light or looking good. It’s about your overall comfort, safety and convenience. And packing for this particular journey is going to be vastly different from most vacations you’ve taken. As you choose a destination, you can establish an itemized pack list, but the quick guide below will give you an idea of the rules that universally apply.
Bring it or Leave it?
Bring it: Climate-appropriate clothing and gear. Remember that some places you think of as “hot” can actually drop down dramatically in temperature at night and experience periodic heavy rainfall. Hats, sweaters and waterproof outerwear are never a waste of suitcase space. Also, make sure your shoes are broken-in, as you won’t want to nurse blisters on Day 2 – or really any day – of your adventure.
Leave it: Expensive jewelry and clothing such as diamond or pearl studs, high-carat gold, that custom leather jacket your dad gave you as a gift. Thinking function over fashion should help guide these packing decisions.
Bring it: Healthy snacks. Your program should provide you with nutritious meals and clean water every day, but it’s not a bad idea to pack small snacks such as your favorite protein bars for hikes, volunteer projects and travel time. Keep your energy levels high to get the most out of each day.
Leave it: Family heirlooms, one-of-a-kind items, keys without copies. Essentially, avoid bringing anything you absolutely cannot replace when you return home.
Bring it: A flashlight. You may never need it, but in the event that you do, you’ll be glad for that little bit of light a compact flashlight can provide .Companies like Nu-Flare, Fenix and National Geographic sell compact, powerful LED flashlights for under $30.
Bring it: Everything in the right amount. You may need it, but how much of it will you need? Depending on the length of your program, you may have the chance to do laundry once or twice. So, you only need to pack 10 days worth of clothes, even if you’re going away for three weeks.
Melissa, GLA Program Coordinator