The Ultimate Packing Guide for Teaching Abroad

mother and daughter packing

We bet we can guess how you’re feeling now that you’ve completed your TEFL training and placement. You’re feeling excited because you finally get to live your dream and move abroad. However, the idea of moving to another country is making you anxious, and you have a mile-long list of things to do before you leave. We have been there and done that, and now we want to help you pack for the adventure of your life. In this article, you’ll learn the tips and tricks on what to pack, how much, and product recommendations. Here is the ultimate beginner packing guide for teaching abroad!

Read more: Why You Should Teach English Abroad in 2021

Before we begin, there are two essential rules you must keep in mind before packing:

1. Pack culturally appropriate apparel

Before you start online shopping for new crop tops and ripped jeans, you need to research what is and isn’t culturally acceptable to the country. In Europe, it is customary to dress up for a formal or special occasion. We recommend packing an elegant ensemble for the occasion. In the Middle East, you could disrespect the country’s culture by walking around with your arms and legs exposed. We recommend packing long sleeve shirts as well as long skirts/pants. Every country has a different dress code that must be followed. The goal is to look like you belong until you start to fit in! 

2. Pack for the weather

Whether you are staying for a month or a year, you will need to plan your accessories and clothing items around the weather. Research the temperature of every month and note if the country has a history of any heatwave, rain, and snowy seasons. If so, please be sure to pack any necessary items fitted for those weather conditions. Check out our clothing-specific section for more ideas! 


  • Passport 
  • Plane Ticket 
    • As well as any other transportation tickets
  • Drivers Licence/ Identification Card 
  • Visa
  • Social Secretary Card 
  • Medical Insurance Card
  • Vaccine Card (if needed) 
  • List of Important Numbers 
  • Credit/Debit Card
  • Cash 
    • Tip: It is best to have a mix of both currencies  
    • Tip: Check with your local bank or airport for a currency exchange 

Learn more: Are You Ready To Travel Abroad Again? Our Pandemic Travel Guide!

Packing important documents

Clothing (General)

  • T-shirts 
    • Long sleeves (3 pairs)
    • Short sleeves (4 pairs)
    • Sleeveless (2-3 pairs) 
  • Pants 
    • Jeans (3 pairs)
    • Shorts (2-3 pairs)
    • Leggings (3 pairs) 
  • Lounge Wear
    • Sweatpants (2 pairs)
    • Sweatshirts (2 pairs) 
  • Undergarments (1-2 weeks worth)
  • Socks (1-2 weeks worth) 
  • Sweater (1-2 pairs) 
  • Business Attire (1 weeks worth) 
  • Going Out Attire
  • Athletic Wear 
  • Pyjamas (2-3 pairs) 
  • Bathrobe 
  • Casual Shoes (2 pair) 
  • Athletic Shoes (1 pair) 
  • High Heels (Optional) 

Clothing Specific for Colder Climates

  • Rain Coat
  • Rain Boots
  • Winter Coat
  • Snow/ Winter Boots
  • Fuzzy/ Thick Socks 
  • Thick Sweaters 
  • Gloves
  • Scarfs 
  • Beanie Hats 

Clothing Specific for Hotter Climates 

  • Sandals
  • FlipFlops 
  • Bathing Suit 
  • Thin Jacket 
  • Casual Dress
  • Casual Skirt 
Packing necessary clothing apparel


  • Computer 
    • Computer Charger 
    • Computer Case 
  • Phone 
    • Phone Charger 
    • Headphones 
  • Tablet
    • Tablet Charger 
    • Optional: Tablet Pen 
  • Travel Plug Adapter (specific for your country) 
    • Tip: Check locations like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, or Walmart 
  • Portable Charger 
  • Camera 
    • Film (if needed) 
  • Flash Drive 
  • USB Drive 
Laying out electronics for packing

Personal Care

  • Medication 
    • Prescription ( Don’t forget to let your doctor know you’re travelling abroad!) 
    • OTC Pain Relief 
    • Vitamins
    • Eye Drops
    • Allergy 
    • Band-aids (Variety pack) 
  • Glasses + Glasses Case
  • Contact 
    • Contact Packs
    • Case
    • Cleaner
    • Solution 
  • Shampoo + Conditioner
    • Optional: Hair Mask, Hair Gel, Hair Spray, or Deep Conditioner 
    • Optional: Shower Cap or Hair Towels 
  • Body Wash
    • Optional: Loofah or Shower Sponge 
    • Tip: For extra smooth skin us an exfoliator
  • Deodorant 
    • Tip: Keep a travel size deodorant in your bag
  • Facial Products
    • Face Wash
    • Face Moisturizer 
    • Optional: Creams, Serums, and Toners 
    • Optional: Face Mask or Pore Strips 
  • Hair Removal 
    • Razors 
    • Shaving Cream 
    • Optional: Facial Trimmer 
  • Dental
    • Toothbrush 
    • Toothpaste 
    • Dental Floss
    • Mouthwash 
  • Hair Accessories
    • Brush, Comb, or Pick 
    • Hair Ties/ Scrunchies 
    • Blow Dryer
    • Straightener
    • Curling Iron 
    • Headbands 
    • Hair Clips 
  • Feminine Hygiene Products 
  • Chapstick 
  • Makeup 
    • Favourite Makeup Products 
    • Makeup Brushes and Sponges 
    • Brush Cleaner 
    • Makeup Remover or Wipes
  • Sun Screen 
    • Sunny Days: Tanning Oil or Lotion 
laying out beauty products for packing

Accessories/ Misc.

  • Hats 
    • Baseball Cap, Beach Hat, Bucket Hat, etc.
  • Jewellery 
    • Casual/Everyday 
    • Fancy 
    • Jewellery Box or Display Case
    • Tip: Double check you have spare earring backs 
    • Tip: If you’re planning on bringing a lot of jewellery check for jewellery organizers
  • Reusable Water Bottle 
    • Tip: Check water bottles with filters (Brita is a great example!) 
  • Teaching Bag
    • Tip: Check out backpacks or bags specifically made for teacher 
    • Tip: Your teaching bag should NOT break your bank!  
  • Wallet 
    • Keep many items from the “Document” list in there
  • Face Masks 
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Wet Wipes
  • Disinfectant Wipes 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Umbrella
Accessories featured on packing list

School Supplies (Teacher Favorites)

  • Planner 
  • Notebook
    • 5 subject-notebook is a great option!
  • Pencils
  • Pens
    • Best options: Ballpoint, Felt-Tip Flair, Gel 
    • Main colours to have: Black, Blue, and Red
  • Highlighters
  • Textbooks

Learn more: Your Budget for Going Abroad – A Short Guide about Money

The post The Ultimate Packing Guide for Teaching Abroad appeared first on The TEFL Academy Blog.

I have been traveling and teaching ESL abroad ever since I graduated university. This life choice has taken me around the world and allowed me to experience cultures and meet people that I did not know existed.

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