Packing for the UK- What to Bring and What Not to Bring

Take it from me, there are lots of things that I packed for the UK that I wish I hadn’t – I didn’t need them! My best advice for packing would be to pack what is simply irreplaceable and necessary for you. Most everything else can be purchased while in the UK, or shipped to you from home if you absolutely need it – it will save you overweight baggage fees!


If you don’t already own luggage, consider investing in a quality set – with a good carry-on size bag, and a bigger suitcase with wheels. In all honesty, buying something long-lasting and durable is very worth it.

In terms of clothing, consider the weather. Will it snow a lot where you are moving (Scotland)? Or will it be less likely to do so (London)? I packed winter boots for London, and never used them once!

Some tricks for getting the most out of packing a suitcase: rolling your clothes, sticking socks in shoes, and using vacuum sealed bags. These were a lifesaver for me!

Also consider items that you will get the most use out of. Don’t bring a huge, bulky novel if you’ll just read it once, and then have it sit on your shelf for the length of your programme. You can borrow books from the libraries in the UK, or read them on a small device like Kindle or Kobo!


Some things you may need include:

  • Your laptop and charger, for school work and staying in touch with people back home!
  • Your phone and charger (you can use one, if it is unlocked, in the UK with a UK SIM card).
  • Your favourite clothing items that you can’t live without (like a cozy sweater – you’ll need it in the UK, and it will be a comfort from home!).
  • UK or universal plug adaptors – for all of your charging and electrical needs!
  • Think about your hobbies. What do you like to do? Perhaps it’s essential that you bring your trusty hiking boots, a sketchbook and art supplies, or that wetsuit for surfing. If it’s dear to you, and you know you will get use out of it, consider packing it!


Here are some things that you should probably skip packing:

  • Hair styling tools like a straightener or curling iron. You can buy them in the UK, and that way they will have the proper plug for UK sockets.
  • Bedding/blankets, kitchenware, and other ‘home’ items. Your university may provide these if you are living in residence, or you can just purchase them when you get to the UK. Bed sizing tends to be different in the UK anyway, so skip the bulky blankets in your suitcase!
  • Too many of the same thing – this especially goes for clothing items like scarves, sweaters, mittens, coats, and hats. You can always buy extra if you feel you need them while you are living in the UK.  I learned this one from experience!

Consider your airline luggage allowances when packing. How many checked bags can you have? What is the weight limit? If someone is travelling with you to help settle you in, they could check a bag for you as their extra!

Overall, it’s best to lay out what you want to bring, eliminate what you can, and then try packing. Think about the biggest items and if they absolutely need to come with you on the plane.

My final reminder is that you will most likely acquire a lot of stuff while living in the UK, so remember – you somehow have to bring it all back!

If you would like to find out more about studying in the UK, please contact one of our advisors.