An Aussie Guide to Packing for US College

So, the time has come!

You’re all set to head off to the US and you’re excited about what lies ahead. New friends, new adventures and a brand-new culture await you, but first, you must pack that suitcase!

We can all be guilty of over packing and then getting somewhere and realizing we actually packed random bits and pieces that we didn’t actually need.

So here are Study and Play USA’s Top Packing Tips!

A little black book

A notebook comes in handy for so many reasons…. journaling, ideas, general doodling!

However, what we like to suggest is keep a copy of important numbers, dates, addresses and people. Imagine your phone battery dying and you need to call someone from your college? A hand-written copy kept somewhere safe can be exactly what you need.

Less is more when it comes to packing

Do you really need 25 shirts and 9 pairs of jeans? No.

Did we mention that clothes shopping in America is amazing? There are hundreds of shops which are mostly a lot cheaper than you can buy in Australia. So, don’t worry about packing a lot before you go, make the most of it when you get over there instead! Also don’t forget that in most cases, much of your wardrobe is provided regardless of your scholarship, including shoes, socks, shorts shirts, skirts and tracksuits.

Chargers and plugs

Just a heads up, the American plugs are different to ours, so make sure you buy the right adaptors for all your electrical goods. It might also be easier to jump on eBay and buy American versions of your cables so you don’t have to take your adaptor plug everywhere.

Copies of important documents

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so we strongly suggest taking a few photocopies of important documents. These can come in handy when you least expect it! What we suggest is, bring photocopies of:

  • Your passport
  • Your driver’s license
  • An identification documents
  • Your I-20 form

We would also recommend you save a copy of all of them online as well – use Dropbox, or even email them to yourself and store in a folder.


Instagram can be limited to just your phone – so why don’t you head to your local Kmart or Big W and print off a heap of photos of your family, friends….and pets? It’s a nice way to decorate your room and remind you of your loved ones at home.

No need to buy frames, this can add to your luggage weight, so keep in mind you can buy these when you reach your college.

Food Treats

How could you live without your Vegemite and lamingtons?! If you have a little obsession over your favourite food or drink treats, pack some ready for your time away. It’s hard to find Aussie goodies in the US, and when you do it’ll be double the price. Getting your family to post some over can also be expensive – Australia Post is not the cheapest! So pack that tin of MILO.

Another little tip is – make friends by passing on a Fantale! Everyone loves a little piece of Australia!

There you have it, a few hints and tips from us – but remember, the best thing to pack is your open mind. Go and enjoy your brand-new adventure and take away a lifetime of memories.

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An Aussie's Transformative
US College Journey

By Study & Play Director, Chris Bates