I’m sure many of you who are getting ready to study abroad have family members who have been prodding you to expand your Christmas list beyond “money”. And as that is the obvious request to alleviate the financial woes of going abroad, there are several items that you could include which would satisfy both parties and score you some great travel essentials before you depart on your new adventures!
The Bigger Items
–Sturdy rolling luggage bag/Backpack. Because traveling with a shoddy rolling bag that flips over every step you maneuver through the airport will not only drive you insane, but you are guaranteed to make enemies as you travel.
–Clothes appropriate for your destination country. This might mean you need to do some research on what the weather’s like during the entire duration of your time abroad. I was being naive when I left for New Zealand with the false assumption that it was going to be sunny and paradise-like every day I was there. It was a bitter shock when I was traveling around the South Island freezing my butt off in near freezing temps, wearing Spring-like apparel.
–Camera or video recorder. Of course there will be someone on your trip with a camera, and they’ll tag you on Facebook, so why should you bring your own? Because a) Facebook doesn’t offer high quality resolution if you want to print pics and b) you might not have access to other people’s pictures forever, even if they do tag you in them. Note: If you plan on doing any adventure and/or water activities, I’d highly recommend the GoPro camera. They’re waterproof, extremely small, and can be attached to practically anything like helmets, surfboards, or kayaks.
–eReader. I have several friends who are really attached to that feeling of holding a book in hand. But when you have extremely limited space in your bags, and you’re likely to go on a bunch of weekend trips, an eReader makes so much more sense when you’re traveling. And with the rise of tablets in the past couple years, the price of eReaders have dropped significantly and some can be found for less than $100!
–Tickets to a landmark, famous event, or adventure outing (make sure not to specify exactly what you would like to do or see, otherwise Grandma might be sending you to a national ballet performance, when you really wanted to go on a scuba diving trip). Check out isango.com for great activity ideas!
–Transportation passes. If you’re traveling around Europe especially, these can be really useful and you’ll really be extremely appreciative of the person who gave it to you when you’re country-hopping on the weekends.
–Adapters/converters. Definitely don’t forget these otherwise you risk frying your electronics when you’re in a country that uses a much higher voltage.
–Pocket travel guide books or language phrase books. Full sized ones just take up space, and let’s be honest, we look up most things online anyways.
-Journal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to my journals from abroad to keep those memories fresh in my mind and appreciate how much my experience changed my life.
–Skype credit. Yes, Skype is free to use from computer to computer. But being able to call friends’ and family members’ cell phones from your computer is such a great convenience that requires a little bit of money on your account.
–Luggage locks. Just makes sure they’re TSA approved!
–Portable door locks. Family members will often do anything that ensures your safety, especially if you’re traveling around a foreign country and staying in hotels, motels, or hostels. These are lightweight, can be installed within seconds, and provides reassurance that you won’t have any unexpected visitors entering your room.
–Travel pillow. Serious lifesavers if you want to sleep on an airplane/bus/train.
So cross off the boring dollar signs on your Christmas list, and appease your family and friends with fun items that will get both sides talking about your trip abroad!