Planning your life to begin studying abroad can be an incredibly exciting time. You’ll get to travel to an incredible place, meet new people, and experience history and culture in a way you never have before. When you begin executing your elaborate plans, these helpful tips for packing your luggage for your study abroad will make the process easier and more efficient.

Downgrade to travel-sized

Regardless of the duration of your travels, toiletries are items that you will always need for your personal comfort, hygiene, and convenience. While it is possible for you to purchase toiletries in your destination country, the products will have different brand names, different packaging, and limited selections of colors, scents, or textures. The best way to ensure that you have a steady supply of your favorite toiletries to bring a stash of them with you, but full-size bottles or packages can be bulky. When packing for your stay abroad, utilize the travel-size version of your favorite toiletries so you can fit them conveniently into your luggage.

Pack for the weather

This is a fairly simple way to reduce your traveling wardrobe size to ensure that you carry the least amount of luggage as possible. Before you begin to pack your suitcases, do thorough research on the weather that is commonly experienced in the area of the world you’ll be living for the next few months. This research helps you pack clothes that are appropriate for the climate instead of wasting space by packing clothes you will not need or won’t be able to wear. Planning your wardrobe ahead of time is a great way to cut down on the amount of clothing you will need to fit into your suitcases. It’s also important to remember that you likely need less than you think you do, so avoid overpacking too many outfit choices.

Shrink your space

A very clever way to pack more clothes into your luggage is to place your clothing in vacuum bags. Vacuum bags are an ingenious way to shrink the space used by your clothing, which allows you to pack more essential items without transferring your items into larger, heavier luggage. The one drawback to using vacuum bags is that the compacted space can cause you to overpack your luggage, so remember to only pack what you actually need.

Overpacked luggage can be expensive when it comes time to check your bags in at the airport because the airline staff will charge you extra for luggage is that is too heavy. Proceed with caution when utilizing the benefits of vacuum bags for your travel clothing. Try to equally distribute the bags between your multiple pieces of luggage so that no one suitcase weighs more than the others.

These are just a few tips for packing when you travel abroad; talk to friends who have already spent time living in a different country or do more research online to find tips specific to where you’re heading.