Tips to Packing Your Whole Life Away in One Piece of Luggage and a Carryon

So you’re heading off to a foreign land, eh? Maybe it’s your first time in a new country? Or maybe it’s your first time leaving home for an extended period. Let’s get real – you’re scared. Either way, you’re probably feeling a bit wary, nervous like a groupie meeting your favourite band but most of all excited for the adventure ahead.

I was lucky enough to know someone who has experienced university abroad. The one tip she gave me was to bring a roll of toilet paper. Wait… What?!

Image of Brisbane City skyline from across the river.

Brisbane City Skyline

Toilet paper? You’re probably confused. I was too. But she rationalized it with her experience. She had been traveling for a day and her flights kept getting delayed; by the time she arrived to her accommodation it was nearly 10 pm. It was dark, no shops were open and she was very frustrated and irritable. Luckily, she packed a few bags of instant noodles in her luggage so she was okay for food.

She came prepared… or so she thought. And that’s when shh… well let’s say “stuff” hit the fan. After a long day and unpacking a few things in her new home she had some business to attend to – some number 2 business. She sat down. She had no problems; all was fine and dandy until she stuck her hand out and reached for toilet paper.

There was none. And so there she sat and the tears came rolling.

View to Surfers Paradise from the Southern end of the Gold Coast.

View to Surfers Paradise from the Southern end of the Gold Coast.

The reality of being halfway across the world and a hard day of traveling slapped her in the face, with no one to comfort her. The accommodation she booked didn’t provide any small luxuries that would normally be provided in most places. This may seem insignificant but imagine being in a foreign country after a day of traveling where nothing went the way you expected. It can get overwhelming. The best thing to do is to be somewhat prepared. The smallest things can give you the most comfort.

So to ease those nerves, here’s a guide to help you pack essential items.

**Disclaimer – The post below does not guarantee worry-free or stress-free travel even if you follow the suggestions. But let’s get real, no one’s disputed me so far so I must be right!

Carryon Items

  1. Hard copy of Visa Information/ School Information – Airport officials may ask for it while stopping over in a different country for a connecting flight before your final destination
  2. Unlocked mobile –  Your cellphone will most be likely be locked to your carrier at home meaning if you stick a SIM card from a different country in it you won’t be able to use it! You’ll need to calm down your mom when you arrive safely; be prepared so you don’t have to dish out moola for a new one
  3. Medicine (with prescriptions) – Check the laws of your host country in case of restrictions
  4. Change of clothes – You never know what can happen! Maybe you’ll spill wine on yourself on the plane, maybe you’ll be seated next to a sick baby or maybe you’ll meet the love of you life and you don’t want to be in sweaty traveling clothes. You just never know.
  5. Sealed snacks (because airport items are expensive and if you’re traveling a long way it’s an easier way to deal with hunger!)


  1. Travel size essentials – shampoo & toothpaste (you can buy things when you land, save space for important items)
  2. Roll of toilet paper (please refer to above story)
  3. Keepsake from home – At some point you’re going to feel homesick, bring a memento from home to ease the pain of missing home cooked meals and missing your family and friends
Koala sculptures in the sand at the Swell Sculpture Festival

Koala sculptures at the Swell Sculpture Festival

Make sure the most valuable and meaningful items are inside your carryon, in case your checked luggage is lost! You will only be allowed 1 piece of luggage to most destinations (double check!) so only bring vital items. It will be hard to leave behind the land of poutine, maple syrup and hockey but as our neighbor Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.

And trust me, if you’ve decided to study down under you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the views of your newly adopted home with no worries, mate!


View of the main beach at Byron Bay

View of the main beach at Byron Bay


View from one of the headlands at Byron Bay - the most Easterly point of Australia.

View from one of the headlands at Byron Bay – the most Easterly point of Australia.

– JanineJanine is a Canadian, Griffith Business Student and fearless traveller.

Janine is a Griffith University Business Student, Canadian and fearless traveller.

This blog was originally published by KOM Consultants.  You can like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter 😀





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