When I first started writing my packing list for my time abroad on the Gold Coast of Australia, I immediately thought of the basics: bathing suits, flip flops, backpack, etc. But I started to worry. What was I forgetting? What would I wish I had once I arrived? This packing list is to help all future students who study abroad in Australia to pack the unexpected.


1. Makeup and Toiletries

I know that this seems obvious, but makeup and toiletries in Australia are generally much more expensive than in America. Mascara is about $18 and I’ve seen shampoo sell for about $11.

It’s a little bit of a shock to leave America where these items aren’t so expensive and then arrive here and have to purchase tons of them. My advice is to bring all the makeup you’ll need during your time here, and pack as many toiletries as you can.

REMINDER: Keep in mind the weight limits your airline enforces on your baggage. Four bottles of moisturizer weighs a lot when you can only have 50 pounds worth of luggage per bag!

2. Adaptors

Australian electrical outlets differ from American ones. You can buy really cheap adaptors on Amazon or other discount sites. These will enable you to plug all of your American electronics and devices into the outlets in your Australian room.

Try to purchase these before you leave America, as this will save time when you first arrive in Aussie for your study abroad adventure!

3. Warm clothes

When I first arrived in the Gold Coast in February, it was 80 degrees Fahrenheit every day. I spent my time at the pool and the beach, and completely forgot about the frigid New York weather that I’d left behind.

Nevertheless, as late April rolled around and the Australian Autumn came on, it started to (surprisingly) get a bit chilly! Cardigans, sweatshirts, leggings, and jeans were a must. Thankfully, I had packed some of these items, but I definitely wish I had grabbed a few extra sweaters!

Just remember that, although Australia is paradise, it isn’t hot all the time. Bring some warmer clothes to keep you comfortable during the chillier months!

4. large backpack

Although you are choosing one Australian city to study abroad in, you will most likely spend a variety of weekends in other places. You want to explore as much of Australia as possible, right?

So, my advice is to pack a big backpack. Try to find a hiking backpack with various pockets and sections. This will allow you to spend a weekend exploring Melbourne or Byron Bay without having to carry a heavy duffel bag or roll along a bulky suitcase.

5. journal and camera

One thing that I am so glad I did during my time abroad was take lots of pictures and journal about my experiences. I brought a small notebook, and try to write about funny stories or exciting nights that happened. Whenever I spend a weekend in a new place, I always journal about my time there.

Journals really help you document your time abroad. I guarantee you’ll love reading your journal entries ten years from now when you’re wishing you were back in Australia with your TEAN friends.

Another great thing to do while abroad is to take tons of pictures. Definitely bring a camera or a GoPro, and snap pics of everything you do. Whether you decide to upload to Facebook or paste into a scrapbook, these pictures will allow you to reminisce on your time abroad.

6. variety of shoes

Even if you only ever wear sneakers or flip flops at home, definitely try to bring a variety of shoes with you for your time abroad in Australia. You’ll definitely want sneakers when you go for a run along the boardwalk or climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Flip-flops are a must for pool and beach days.

When you go out to the local bars and clubs at night, you’ll need fancier shoes. Guys MUST wear dress shoes or nice sneakers when they go out. It’s also usually enforced that girls MUST wear either heels or gladiator sandals that wrap around your heel. Australian bouncers are strict when it comes to club attire, so I advise definitely abiding by the dress rules.

As long as you bring a few different styles of shoes, you should be prepared to walk those feet of yours all over this beautiful Australian land!

Christina Sullivan (Quinnipiac University) studied abroad with TEAN on the Gold Coast, Australia.