In preparing for my study abroad experience in Austria (leaving SO SOON!!), I read every possible article on necessary travel gadgetry.
Most of the articles were catering to serial backpackers, wealthy businessmen, or simply clueless first-time jetsetters.
I thought it was high-time someone came up with a list of necessary study abroad gadgets for students!
Here you are:
Mandi’s Top 10 list of Utterly Necessary Travel Gadgets for Studying Abroad
1. Space Bags
I haven’t posted my packing list yet, but once I do, you will understand the necessity of these beauties. I researched into “stuff bags,” “vacuum bags,” etc. etc. etc. and these Space Bags by Ziplock (purchase here) are the best thing out there.
Don’t be fooled by infomercials– these bags will NOT keep your chiffon button-downs from wrinkling. But they will shrink your ski pants and parka to a manageable size for packing in a single checked bag. Basically, they’re lifesavers! I bought two sets of four.
2. Luggage Scale
This is a $20 investment in your sanity. Until you have been awake at 4:15am frantically trying to rearrange your stuff to make your checked bag underweight, you will not understand the anxiety that comes with being unable to weigh your luggage easily. Purchase one of these, and save ALL the hassle.
Yes, I know. That doesn’t look like a flashlight. That’s because it’s a headlamp. Call me geeky if you wish, but these things are genius. You can hang it around your neck for hands-free journaling, tooth-brushing, reading, etc. in the middle of the night. It’s tiny, lightweight, and so easy to use. I never leave the country without it.
4. Stain Remover
If you’re trying to conserve space in your luggage, you’ve probably packed a lot of neutral clothing that can mix and match for millions of fashionable combinations. Meaning, you packed quite a few variations on the classic white blouse. Make sure your melty chocolate fudge deluxe dessert doesn’t leave you in a meltdown. Tide To-Go is an angel.
5. Lint Roller
The cheap, classic solution to the common problem of suitcase-clothes. Make sure your blacks really are black, and not looking fuzzy. Trust me on this. There is nothing more classy than an all-black outfit that is TRULY all black.
6. Compact Umbrella
Seriously, don’t leave home without one. Sometimes I pack mine in a gallon Ziplock bag so that I can keep the wet umbrella in my purse hands-free.
7. Comfortable Headphones
When I say comfortable, I mean comfortable. I have been on many flights where my headphones were the only thing standing between myself and an obnoxious neighbor. I have also slept many nights with snorers, coughers, and sleep-talkers. These babies will save you serious annoyance. Make sure they are comfy and won’t fall out of your ears (ahem Apple headphones). Pair them with Sleep Pillow’s noise making app, and you’ve got yourself a blissful night’s sleep.
8. Power Strip
Raise your hand if you only ever use one outlet plug at a time. Yeah. I thought so. Instead of panicking over which electronic device will have to remain dead, just bring along one of these. Mine is simply a triple-plug model, but make sure yours has space for the third prong– absolutely necessary for laptop charging.
9. Universal Power Adapter
This is an absolutely crucial purchase for students traveling abroad. The universal nature of this awesome gadget means that you can safely travel to any country whatsoever, and still be able to charge your cell phone. Not all outlets are created equal, and you will definitely be needing one of these.
10. Cable Lock
Disclaimer: I have never used one of these things personally. However, every article I read recommended this kind of lock for anyone who would ever be staying in a hostel, sleeping on a train, etc. Hey! That sounds like us study abroad kids! This kind of thing is pretty bulky, but allows you to tie up and secure ALL of your luggage with a single device, without the hassle of straps or nets. Make sure yours has a cable length of at least 3ft. I’ll let you know how it works when I return!
Anything I’ve forgotten? Let me know in the comments! If not, I hope you enjoyed my ramblings on necessary gadgetry!