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Five Steps to Packing for University

By Vickie Chiu

Updated February 25, 2016 Updated February 25, 2016

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the seemingly infinite list of gadgets while packing for university. Although some airlines offer more weight allowance to students than others, the maximum most students get offered is around 30kg in standard economy class. Before you start throwing the mini fridge that ‘you just can’t live without’ into your suitcase, consider the five following questions to avoid starving yourself  because you’ve blown your first month’s budget on socks.

1)  Does my room come with the basics?

If you’re going into the university’s student accommodation, get in touch with the accommodation department to find out if they’ll be providing the basics such as bed sheets and pillows. These things take up precious space when packing for university and as this blogger learnt the hard way, packing these bulky items ‘just in case’ costs approximately 6 pairs of shoes. Not cool.

2) “Do I absolutely need you, or are you a space invader?”

By addressing the above question to the inanimate object you’re packing for university, you’ll be able to weed out the ones that are absolutely essential. Yes, you may look a little mad, but by adopting this brutal approach initially, you’ll stand a better chance of fitting in the nice little extras at the end.

3) Packing for university vs. just buying it?

Now is a good time to run a mini cost-benefit analysis in your head. E.g. Does the cost of 5 toilet rolls outweigh the cost of packing for university and paying for excess luggage?  No? Then ditch them. Yes? Then you either have no idea how much toilet paper costs or are flying with a pretty cheap airline, consider checking their safety records.

4) How heavy is your empty suitcase?

Whilst that heavy-duty transformer of a suitcase may look impressive, does it take up half of your total luggage weight? Invest in a light, high volume suitcase to maximize  your weight allowance, or you can try wearing all your clothes to save space*

*don’t do this, you won’t smell too pretty when you arrive.

5) Can you post it instead?

Posting things may take a few weeks if you’re studying a little far away from home. This can also be a costly option, so I would advise only posting bulky but light items that fall into the ‘nice to have but not urgent’ category. Be sensible in this category; if you’re going to be studying in a cold country, don’t sacrifice the thick waterproof coat for your stamp collection (see step 2) no matter how heavy or bulky it is. Hypothermia is not a good look on anyone.

This article was originally published in March 2012 . It was last updated in February 2016

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