Packing list for international and exchange students

Student and family in halls

Whether you are coming to the UK for a few months, a year or several years, deciding what to pack can be a challenge! You may find our checklists helpful.


You will want to bring everything, ‘just in case’, but remember, you will have to carry your bags!

Always make sure you have the following in your hand luggage:

  • Valid passport.
  • UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) decision letter so that you can collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from Guildford Post Office.
  • European Health Insurance Card (for EEA and Swiss students only).
  • Your mobile phone, tablet or laptop with access to your accommodation allocation, Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) email (if relevant), confirmation of meet and greet, and Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (if required).
  • Evidence of funding for your tuition fees and living costs, including a letter from your sponsor (if appropriate).
  • If you are under 18, you will need to bring the supporting letter from your parents that you used in your visa application.
  • Any other important correspondence from the University, either printed or in an electronic format.
  • A small amount of UK currency, no more than £400.
  • Your tuberculosis certificate if you needed this for your student visa, and any other health certificates including vaccinations and x-ray reports (if appropriate).
  • Your travel insurance policy number and emergency contact details.
  • A list of key contacts in the UK:
    • International Student Advice: 9am to 5pm, Monday – Friday +44 (0)1483 686868 or email:
    • University Security: 24 hours, Monday – Sunday: +44 (0)1483 682002 (non-emergency) or +44 (0)1482 683333 (emergency)
    • NHS medical advice (non-emergency): 24 hours, Monday – Sunday: call 111
    • UKCISA student advice line: 1pm to 4pm, Monday – Friday +44 (0)20 7788 9214 (inside the UK)
    • International Engagement Office (exchange office): 9am to 5pm, Monday – Friday +44 (0)1483 68 3152/2003 or email: 

Most airlines allow 20–23kg of checked luggage and there are strict size and weight restrictions on all hand luggage. Please check with your airline for up-to-date instructions before you fly. 

What to pack

Weather in the UK is highly variable and likely to change from day to day; temperatures range from 1°C – 5°C in winter and 20°C – 30°C in summer.

It is a good idea to bring a selection of light clothes that you can wear in layers as well as some warm outer clothing and a waterproof coat or umbrella.

Hats, gloves and scarves, as well as thick socks, are essential in the winter but can be bought at a reasonable price in the UK. 

You may also wish to bring an item of national costume or tradition so that you can share your culture with others as well as participating in annual events.

We recommend you bring a laptop and mobile phone with you to the UK. In the UK, 13-amp sockets are commonly used which require three-pronged plugs. You may need an adaptor to make your devices compatible with UK sockets. Electrical items that you bring with you to the UK must have a CE certification marking and conform to UK standards.

It is a good idea to bring a few small items for your room that will remind you of home, such as photographs of family and friends, books, posters and other mementos, as these will help you to settle in and adjust to your new life in the UK.


Did you know that you can decrease your carbon footprint by packing less? We recommend choosing what you want to take and then dividing it by half, as you will have twice as much to bring back. Consider using items that will help you cut down on single-use plastics, such as reusable shopping bags, water bottle, coffee cup and lunchbox – and consider purchasing them in the UK to save on packing space.

What not to pack

  • Candles, joss sticks or use naked flames or ‘hookah’ pipes  
  • Heaters, refrigerators or large electrical items 
  • Weapons or replica weapons, including guns, air guns, swords, knives, pepper spray, etc. 

Buying items when you arrive in the UK 

We recommend purchasing the following items once you have arrived in the UK, all of which can be purchased cheaply in shops or online at a good standard of quality.


  • Chopping board
  • Cooking utensils (saucepans etc)
  • Knives, forks and spoons
  • Plates, bowls, mugs etc
  • Tin opener
  • Food storage containers or clips to seal food bags.


  • Bedding – you can purchase a bedding pack prior to your arrival
  • Bath towels and hand towels
  • Essential toiletries – soap, shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Clothes hangers
  • Laundry basket
  • Laundry bag


  • Textbooks
  • Pens
  • Notepads
  • Calculator