Accommodation Manchester Starting Uni Student-made Support Travel

Hacking Packing: A guide for international students

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Fortunately, for most students packing for university won’t be nearly as painful as exam season. Unfortunately for international students, it comes very close.

For those flying into Manchester you might have a weight allowance between 25-40 kg for your checked baggage. To me it didn’t seem enough to transport your entire life in. How did clothes and books suddenly seem to weigh so much once in a suitcase? As someone who made many mistakes with packing, allow me to guide you in keeping the packing process stress free!

Make a list… actually make two

Obviously lists are a go-to for making sure you have everything you need. However with limited space you can’t realistically bring everything you need from home with you. It’s so much more practical to buy certain items in Manchester and could work out cheaper. Primark and IKEA have everything you could possibly need in terms of bedding, kitchen supplies, laundry and other necessities. These will probably be your bulkiest items so I would definitely recommend buying them when you arrive. If you’re from a country with minimal seasonal variation, you’ll get better quality and more choice of winter clothing in Manchester. Since university starts a bit later than regular school, you’ll arrive at a good time to take advantage of back to school stationery sales

Keep your holidays in mind

It had completely slipped my mind that I would be returning home twice before the end of the academic year. If you know you will be going home for winter or easter breaks then pack accordingly. Don’t bother bringing anything you could only wear in April or June in August. If you go home for the easter break, take your winter clothes with you and bring some lighter stuff back. When it comes to emptying your room in summer you’ll be glad that the bulkier stuff is gone.

Pack smart, literally

Vacuum bags are a lifesaver. They are essentially bags with a one-way air valve so air can leave the bag but not re-enter it. This means your bulky items can shrink more than half the normal size and won’t take up an entire suitcase. I used mine again when I was leaving halls and putting my bedding into storage. For smaller items, I’ve found that rolling my clothes saves a lot of space and let me squeeze in clothes around my bulky items.


In England, the standard plug used is a 3-pin plug, the standard voltage is 230V and frequency 50Hz. These numbers might not mean much to you but it’s really important you make sure any electronic devices you bring meet these voltages. Otherwise you will need a voltage convertor to ensure you don’t cause a short circuit or even a fire. If your home country doesn’t use a 3-pin plug you’ll need a few adaptors too. I’d forgotten to bring these when I first arrived so I couldn’t charge anything for a few days.

Hopefully you’ll find some of my advice useful when packing and it wasn’t too overwhelming. No one wants to pay extortionate overweight baggage fees on a student budget. Packing might seem a little mundane but I hope now it might seem a little less stressful!