A few weeks ago we created a list of 10 essential things to pack for your trip abroad, and promised another list featuring items that were recommended, but not necessarily essential.
Today's post is that list.
These are obviously optional, but as they're based on experience, it's worth considering them all.
1.) An e-Reader.
Travelling around, moving house, packing and unpacking..all of these things can be made easier by packing light. Whether you prefer real physical books or the more modern ebooks, it's going to be a good idea to make the switch to an e-reader like the Kindle. Being able to have as many books as you want, without having to lug them around and take up extra space (and weight) is so much more convenient.
Even if you're not a big reader, things like guidebooks and teaching books are pretty heavy.
Sun lotion, deodorant, even simple things like a toothbrush are worth bringing. In most cases, you'll be able to find them with ease in your new location, but until you're familiar with where to buy them (or can read what the packaging says), then it's worth having some of your own.
You don't want to accidentally buy moisturizer thinking it is hair gel in a hurry (something that's easier done than you'd expect), so you'll appreciate having at least the bare essentials with you when you first arrive.
3.) A Sleeping Bag Liner
This is pretty light (if you take just the liner), and could save you a lot of hassle if your new apartment doesn't come with bedding. In most cases you will find an apartment with bedding or will be able to find some easily, but it's worth investigating whether you'll need to bring this or not.
4.) Birth Control
Again, this is down to personal preference, but if you think there's a chance you'll need some, or there might be a chance that you find it difficult to get anything when you arrive, then this could (literally) be a life saver.
5.) Playing Cards
If you're bored, without internet for a few days, or just stuck on a long journey, you can't underestimate playing cards. Even if you don't end up using them, they're not exactly a burden to bring along.
For many people, this belongs in the essential list, and that's fine. It's up to you whether you a.) have one or b.) want to bring one with you. Yes, you might well end up regretting it if you don't take one, but it's not going to be critical if you don't, which is why we didn't feel it deserved to be in the other list.
Definitely recommend though!
7.) Things That Remind You Of Home
We included family photos in the essentials list because they can help you feel closer to home, stave off homesickness, and also settle in quicker. We're extending that to anything else that reminds you of home as well. Sometimes, a physical item or souvenir can have a big impact on cheering you up in those early days, when you might start to feel homesick.
Read more about fighting homesickness and culture shock.
8.) Credit-Cards/Bank Cards From Home
Using a credit-card or other bank card abroad can incur charges and is generally unadvisable, but if an emergency comes up and you need some funds quick, having access to these extra accounts could make all the difference.
Bear in mind that some countries might be automatically blocked by your bank, so tell them that you're going before you leave, and they'll make sure your card still works. If you don't want them to know you're moving abroad (for whatever reason), then tell them you're going on a short holiday.
Your Mileage May Vary
As with all lists like this, your own experiences may vary. Depending on your situation and the country you're going to, some of these items may be unnecessary, or may be totally essential. Use the list as inspiration and make your own decisions, and of course, add to it where necessary!