Studying abroad in your youth is an incredible experience, and it gives you the opportunity to help people while learning from them at the same time.
Whether you’ll be building schools in Mexico, studying castles in Germany, or providing medical care in Africa, you might be so excited for your trip that you hastily pack everything into your bag.
While you should be well-prepared for your time overseas, it’s important to make sure you don’t put anything in your suitcase that actually causes you unnecessary stress. When you’re wondering what to pack for a trip abroad, make sure you keep these objects off the list.
Perfumes, Body Sprays and Colognes
Everyone likes to smell fresh, but leave the job to your deodorant. Perfumes and other body fragrances may attract insects and can hold you up at the airport if you mistakenly put one in your carry-on bag. It’s best to leave your go-to scent at home. Instead, opt for some dry shampoo, roll-on deodorant and plenty of travel-size toiletries.
Old and Unreliable Electronics
Technology will surely be your tether to home while you’re abroad, but you should limit what you bring and only take devices you can count on. If you’ve been putting off an upgrade for years, now is the best time. Your old electronics need not go to waste either; laptop recycling is an excellent way to dispose of your old computer and help the environment.
Memorable or Sentimental Items
It’s understandable that you want to bring tokens of home with you on your trip, but leave any heirlooms or truly irreplaceable keepsakes behind. Firstly, carrying around a lot of non-essentials just gives you more to maintain and can become a hassle. Secondly, if something gets lost, there will be no way to get it back and mourning it will take away from your volunteering experience.
Your allergy medications, over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-malarials are important, but you shouldn’t stock up on any medication that doesn’t come with a prescription. You may make it out of your home country only to have them all confiscated in your volunteer country’s airport.
Instead, get prescriptions for any necessary medications from your primary physician and carry both physical and digital copies that you can easy show a customs officer.
other valuable tips:
What to Leave Behind When You Go Abroad
Volunteering overseas can be overwhelming, but there are some additional, non-material items you can leave behind to ensure you have a good experience. A bad attitude, preconceived notions and unwavering expectations will only hold you back, so make sure you check in with yourself before you leave.
With the right mindset, you’ll be able to see all of the positives about your volunteer or study trip and truly reap the rewards of learning about people and cultures outside of yourself.
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