International student travel tips: What to cram in your 23kg baggage allowance

It can be easy to forget what to bring when you’re an international student travelling abroad, there are some important things you can’t forget. Here’s a list of international student travel tips on what to cram in your 23kg baggage allowance with you to the United Kingdom if you’re an international student moving to the UK:

Travel documents

If you’re from outside of the EU, you’ll need a tier 4 student visa. Your visa is the most important thing you need to remember. Take it from someone who was stuck in border control as an international student in America. I’ll never forget paperwork for anything again!

Make sure to apply for your visa as soon as you secure your place, processing times can take as long as three weeks after applying! The government allows students to apply for their visa three months before their course starts. The cost to apply is £335, but there is also a separate healthcare surcharge.

Healthcare, medicine and vaccinations

If you’re travelling from the EU, then you can get a European Health Insurance Card that will allow you access to the UK’s National Health Service. Otherwise, you’ll need to invest in health insurance. Contact your university for advice on this, as sometimes your university can offer you special insurance. You can also check online to compare insurance prices.

It’s also important to check if your medicines are legal to bring into the UK. You may also need to stock up on medicine before you come over to ensure you will have enough during your stay. Make sure to get all of your necessary vaccinations before travelling and bring the documents with you.

Money and a bank account

Obviously, you’re going to need to bring some money with you to survive. Bring some cash with you to get settled in for the first few days, then use your card to take out more money or to purchase things. If you take everything as cash, you could lose it. If you’re planning on staying for a while rather than one semester, you should really consider opening a bank account.

This will remove any foreign currency charges you would incur on your own card. It also makes paying rent much easier. When opening a bank, make sure you have proof of identification, proof of address, proof of income and proof of your student status.

Warm clothes

You’re going to want to wrap up for our weather. A warm fluffy jacket and a raincoat are ideal. Lots of long sleeved tops and jumpers are good too. Jeans and trainers can go with almost anything. Don’t worry too much about style – focus on practicality first. Once you’re here, you can shop for all the latest trends! Look into the weather of the city you’re living in. Universities in the North of Scotland like Dundee and Aberdeen aren’t going to be as cold as Southern England. Also, girls – bring as many bras as you can!

The size conversions can be difficult to understand. You might get sized up somewhere, but another store could fit differently. If you bring your own underwear, it will just remove some stress for you.

Photos of loved ones

Stock up on pictures of your loved ones to tape to your walls! Most students in the UK already cover their wall with cute pictures they’ve taken; it makes for a great decoration. You might just really need it though when you start to miss them. I had a survival box when I was an international student which included photos of my boyfriend, a letter from home and a book by a Scottish author. Anything that will remind you of home should keep you sane.

Cosmetics and hygiene products

Unfortunately, the UK doesn’t have Sephora. We do have Debenhams to make up for it! You might just want to bring some of your favourite items in your case before you find out you can’t purchase it over here. Hygiene products are cheap and easy to get from supermarkets, but it might not be what you’re used to.


My final International student travel tip is to bring a Travel adapter – don’t bother bringing hair appliances if you’re American. When I returned to the UK with my favourite American hairdryer, I got quite the fright when it almost exploded on me. Our volts are different, don’t learn the hard way like me. Bring your laptop. Most students will sit in lecture halls and take notes on their laptops. You’ll also be able to Skype with friends and family back home. If you don’t have a laptop, invest in a cheap one, or even a notebook. If you can get work done on it, then it’s perfect!

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