Study Abroad Essentials: Packing for Your First Semester in Stockholm

Make your first semester in Stockholm a breeze with our essential packing guide for students.

Study Abroad Essentials: Packing for Your First Semester in Stockholm
Credit: University of Kent

Embarking on a study abroad adventure can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially when it comes to packing for your first semester in Sweden. To help you prepare for your journey, we've combined valuable insights and recommendations into a comprehensive blog post. We'll cover everything from carry-on luggage to what to buy when you arrive in Stockholm and even what to leave behind or donate. So let's get started on this essential packing guide!

Start with your Accommodation

Before we dive into the essentials, let's talk about finding the right accommodation in Stockholm. Stockholm is a vibrant city that is home to thousands of international students, which means that student housing and apartments suitable for rent are always in demand. You will need some time to find an apartment that works for your specific needs, so it's important to start your search early – even before you arrive in Sweden.

Hemavi is a unique matchmaking service for roommates with a high focus on safety and compatibility. By analyzing individual preferences, habits, and lifestyles, Hemavi matches you with the most compatible roommates, ensuring a harmonious living experience during your time in Stockholm. With Hemavi, you'll save time and effort searching for accommodation and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from living with like-minded individuals.

Next: Research and Preparation!

Before you start packing, do some research on the weather and climate in the area where you'll be studying in Stockholm. This will help you pack the appropriate clothing and gear, saving you from the hassle and expense of having to buy a whole new wardrobe upon arrival. Resources such as your university's handbook and online blogs about the weather in Stockholm are a great way to find this information.

eep in mind the seasonal variations and how they might affect your travel plans and activities, and ask yourself whether you'll need items like an umbrella, swimsuit, or both.

Plan your Luggage

Depending on the airline you're flying with, your lugagge will need to abide by particular dimensions and weight-limits. It's best to utilize your suitcases to the maximum by packing the correct items and packing them correctly.

Carry-on Luggage

Most airlines have strict regulations on what you can and cannot pack in your carry-on luggage. Sharp items like razors, knives, and nail files are usually banned from carry-on bags.

It's essential to pack important items in your carry-on luggage, as you'll want them handy at all times. These items include:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Tickets
  • Prescription medicine
  • Glasses
  • Money (for taxi rides, phone calls, emergencies, etc.)
  • Other official documentation

To make your trip more comfortable, consider packing a water bottle, a book, a toothbrush/toothpaste, and a change of clothes and underwear in case of flight delays or cancellations.

Checked Baggage

When packing your checked baggage, remember that less is more. Although it's tempting to bring all the comforts of home, you'll need to prioritize and pack light. This is especially important since you'll be staying abroad for an extended period, and your residence in Stockholm may have limited storage space.

Keep in mind that your airline has a baggage limit, and you'll likely acquire new items during your stay in Sweden, such as souvenirs, clothes, and gifts. To accommodate these items, make sure you have extra packing space.

Avoid procrastinating when it comes to packing. Start early and give yourself ample time to plan, pack, and repack until you're satisfied and can fit everything into your bags properly.

Packing List


Stockholm's climate varies throughout the year, so it's essential to pack clothes that can be layered and are suitable for different weather conditions. Pack the right clothes for your stay in Sweden, including underwear, socks, long and short-sleeved shirts or blouses, sweaters, jeans, shorts or skirts, belts, jackets or coats, shoes, pajamas, swimsuits, and sports clothes. f you are traveling to a cold location, pack thermal underwear, woolen over-socks, gloves, hats, and scarves.

Here are some clothing essentials recommended for students in Stockholm:

  • Layered clothing (t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters)
  • Pants (jeans, chinos, leggings)
  • Outerwear (warm, waterproof winter coat and a light jacket or raincoat)
  • Accessories (scarves, gloves, hats)
  • Comfortable shoes (walking shoes, athletic shoes, casual shoes, formal shoes, waterproof boots)
  • Formal attire (at least one set for special occasions)
  • Sleepwear and workout clothes

According to Study in Sweden, students should pack enough clothes for two weeks, as laundry facilities might not be available in every building.

Toiletries and Personal Care Items

It's essential to bring toiletries and personal care items that you can't live without. However, most products can be easily found in Stockholm. You should pack enough of these to last you at least a few days, until you're selected in and able to go shopping for your new place. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap or body wash, shampoo, conditioner
  • Deodorant, razor, shaving cream, hairbrush or comb
  • Prescription medications (with copies of your prescriptions)
  • Small towel and washcloth
  • Travel-sized first aid kit and laundry detergent

Electronics and Gadgets

Sweden is one of the most connected countries globally, with 93% of the population using the internet daily. As a student, essential electronics will help you stay connected and complete your coursework.

  • Laptop or tablet, smartphone, chargers, power cords
  • Power bank, universal power adapter, earphones or headphones
  • USB flash drive or external hard drive

Important Documents

In addition to the regular necessities like underwear, clothes, and shoes, there are some additional items you might not have considered. Ensure you've packed the following:

  • Proof of Insurance
  • Doctor's Note (proving you're free from certain diseases; may be required for entry into Sweden)
  • Student I.D. Card (good for discounts too)
  • Money Belt
  • Backpack (for class and day trips)
  • Sleeping Bag (for camping or hostel stays)
  • Camera/Journal
  • Prescriptions (translated)
  • A few family photos (to combat homesickness)
  • A Dressy Set of Clothes (for formal occasions)
  • An inventory List of the Items in Your Checked Baggage (in case you need to make an insurance claim for lost luggage)
  • Identification Tags with Your Contact Information (attach them both outside and inside your checked bags and carry-on bags)

What to Buy When You Get There

To save space in your luggage, consider buying some items once you arrive in Sweden. These include normal (not travel-sized) toiletries, laundry detergent, school supplies, and other everyday necessities that are readily available in local stores. You can also purchase region-specific items, such as:

  • Winter clothing: Depending on the region, Sweden can experience harsh winters. Investing in a high-quality winter coat, thermal underwear, waterproof boots, gloves, and a hat is essential. Buying these items in Sweden ensures they're suited for local weather conditions.
  • Adapter and voltage converter: Sweden uses 220-volt power outlets and a different type of plug than what may be available in your home country. Purchase a voltage converter and a plug adapter to ensure compatibility with your electronic devices.
  • Bedding: Save on baggage space by buying your bedding in Sweden. Shops offer a variety of bed linens, pillows, and duvets at reasonable prices.
  • SIM card: To stay connected and avoid roaming charges, consider purchasing a local SIM card with a prepaid data plan.
  • School supplies: Such as notebooks, pens, pencils, highlighters, planner or calendar, binders or folders, and textbooks (consider digital versions to save space).

What to Leave Behind or Donate

While you may be tempted to bring your entire wardrobe or numerous gadgets, it's essential to leave non-essential items behind or donate them. These include:

  • Old or rarely worn clothes: It's likely that your style will change during your semester abroad, and you may want to purchase new clothes. Only pack what you know you'll wear, and consider donating or recycling old clothing.
  • Non-essential electronics: Leave behind any gadgets that aren't necessary for your daily life, such as a gaming console, old phones, or extra cameras.
  • Bulky books: Although it's nice to have reading material, books can be heavy and take up precious luggage space. Consider bringing an e-reader or tablet instead.
  • Items easily available in Sweden: Save on packing space by leaving behind items that are readily available in your destination country. This includes toiletries, laundry supplies, and even some over-the-counter medications.

Other Considerations

When packing for your semester abroad in Sweden, don't forget these essential tips:

  • Pack clothes that can be layered: Sweden's weather can be unpredictable, so it's a good idea to have clothes that can be layered for warmth and comfort.
  • Stick to neutral colors: Choose versatile clothing in neutral colors that can be mixed and matched, allowing for multiple outfit combinations without taking up much space.
  • Bring some local currency: While many places in Sweden accept credit cards, it's still a good idea to have some local currency (Swedish kronor) for smaller purchases or emergencies.


By following this essential packing guide for your first semester abroad in Sweden, you'll be better prepared for your exciting journey ahead. Remember to do your research, pack light, and focus on the essentials. By doing so, you'll be able to make the most of your time abroad and create lasting memories. Safe travels!