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Packing Your Suitcase For Your Exchange Program Pt 1

Updated on November 24, 2011

When I think back of my time on exchange, I always smile to myself, as I have so many wacky memories of the people, places, food, sights, sounds... and of course I have some wacky stories about myself too. In this hub, I offer a collection of practical tips about packing the suitcase to those who may be going overseas on an exchange trip. In fact, this may apply to you too if you are living away from home.


I remember one of the thing that my friends were laughing at me for was the fact that I was able to squeeze all of my belonging into one trolley bag, while they had many suitcases lugged all the way from home. My reply was so that my suitcase was so that I could travel light - in case I needed to defend myself. ‘What a wacky kid!’ you might think. Don’t laugh, people in the West do tend to be bigger than those of us from the East! As I was traveling alone, safety was a priority and concern for me.

Yes, traveling light means that you bring only what you need with you. I brought a backpack with my laptop and a change of clothes, and stuffed everything else into my trolley bag, it was a medium sized bag that could be checked in (not those you can put up in the overhead compartments). If you can, use a bad with wheels - not a bag that you might use for camping that you sling over your head. Airports can be huge places that feel like mazes. When you are rushing from one end to the other, my best advice is to use a bag with wheels. The best bags are those that have wheels on all four corners so you can push or kick and it moves - those with only 2 wheels and you pull like a wheelbarrow can be tiring after a while. Bear in mind - if you are small sized, traveling alone and are catching a flight, each second counts, especially because you need to have enough energy to be alert to your surroundings.

If you travel light, there is less danger that you forget to bring something, especially if you are traveling alone, for the first time. Also, all those horror stories that your luggage might get lost of stolen on the plane do happen once in a while. While on a school trip overseas, half of my friends and I did not get our luggage when we arrived back home as it got lost during one of the flight connections. Losing your luggage can be quite devastating especially if you are alone and all your memorabilia from home is instead. Don’t be paranoid, but just be mindful when you pack your luggage that not all your treasures should be put in your check-in luggage. It might even be safer to leave your treasures at home.

Often, especially those of us who are girls - we tend to overpack - putting everything we think we need into our bags. Here are some examples of things that we don’t have to bring with us.

  • big tube of toothpaste
  • hairdryers
  • towels
  • big bottle of shampoo
  • big bottle of bath soap
  • 5 pairs of shoes
  • 5 jackets/sweaters/cardigans...
  • 50 tops and bottoms
  • all the earrings / jewelry we own
  • all the textbooks
  • many photo albums
  • 10 belts
  • 7 scarves
  • 15 favorite music CDs
  • 10 boxes of instant noodles / instant porridge / local chili sauce

Click here for the next part of this hub

A Cool Suitcase Packing Competition With Tips

Click HERE to read the next part of this Hub.


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