After taking quite a few trips abroad here are the seven things I always travel with.
Getting ready for your own trip abroad ? You're probably a little stressed as you pack and try to figure out what you really need. That's totally normal and something we all go through. Don't stress too much, if you forget something you can usually buy it at your destination.
Talk to an ILP representative in the office who has taken a trip with ILP (they all have!). They'll let you know things they were glad they took for their semester living abroad and can give you more insights into specifics for the country you're going to!
Here's my own personal list that I've compiled from experience. Add to it and make it your own:
- Downy Wrinkle Spray
- Extra Chargers
- Small Notebook
- Microfiber Towel
- Dry Shampoo
Downy Wrinkle Spray
During your ILP vacations you will most likely be backpacking which means super wrinkled clothes (there is no way you are packing up an iron or steamer when space is that tight). If you're packing some wrinkle-prone clothes, I love just spritzing and being good to go.
I always take a Hydroflask. I love love love it. You can't go through in security with it full, but once you're out of security you can fill it up at a drinking fountain. And then once you land, I typically buy bottled water or get filtered water at my apartment (ILP supplies clean water for the volunteers) and if I can, stash it in the fridge to keep it cold.
It's the worst when you realize you left your phone charger at the last hostel you stayed at. Take an extra charger with you so you have a back up if needed. I also like to take an extra camera battery in case mine dies.
I seriously cannot travel without snacks. Whether I'm taking an international flight or just taking a bus to a city a few hours away, I always take snacks with me. Things like nuts, dried fruits, granola bars, and candy are my go-tos, but that list above have some more options.
I always take a small notebook with me to jot down thoughts I have, for doodles, or things I want to remember. When I come home, I have a little notebook full of drawings, quotes from my students, things I wanted to remember and everything else — I use this as an outline when I'm writing in my journal.
I can't tell you how many times I've gone to a hostel and they didn't have towels (or they charged for one). I always take a microfiber towel because they are small which means easy to pack and super absorbent. Better safe than sorry!
Dry shampoo is a lifesaver and I don't know what I would do without it! Maybe you won't be able to shower as much as you'd like on your backpacking trip or the country you're in is super humid which results in greasy looking hair. Take a travel size dry shampoo for vacations and big one for at-home use and you'll thank me later!
Volunteering for a semester is much more do-able than you may think. When you volunteer with ILP you can spend a semester abroad traveling, serving others, and becoming a better version of you! Hey - you can even volunteer with your spouse or friends, so what's stopping you?
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