What do you pack when you are going to study English in New York City? And what do you leave at home? Many students make the mistake of packing too much (bringing things they don’t need) when preparing to study at New York English Academy, while other students do not pack essential items that make life easier.


Follow our list of what you should (and shouldn’t) bring with you to New York and you are one step closer to being completely prepared for your time as an ESL student in the Big Apple!

Your study abroad packing list–What you should bring

One of the many great things about this city is that there are so many cultures and communities all in one place, so it is easy to find most anything—including essential items from your home country. However, sometimes you can’t find everything you need or want when you first arrive. Here is our list of “must-have” items for international students, so be sure to bring these items with you when you come. Otherwise, you will say: I should have packed…

should have packed… comfortable walking shoes.

comfy shoes

The best way to see NYC is by exploring the streets and neighborhoods. A lot of walking means you need comfortable shoes! NYEA recommends at least two pairs of comfortable shoes so that you can rotate them every other day. If you want to fit in like a native New Yorker, leave your sandals or open-toed shoes at home; they are not as popular here as in other cities.

should have packed… weather-appropriate clothing.


In New York, winters can be chilly and summers can be humid. Before coming, be sure to check the weather and choose your clothing to match. If you will be studying in New York for one year, pack clothes that you can use right away. You can always find great deals on clothing as the seasons change. Also, when packing for cold-weather months, remember to layer your clothing. Wearing many layers will make it easy to stay comfortable throughout the day.

should have packed… a small bag.

small travel purse

Carrying a large, heavy bag all day will make you tired! New Yorkers like to keep it simple; they usually carry a small wallet, a smartphone, and a few essential items. Carrying a little bag will lower your stress level when exploring New York—the less you bring, the less you can accidentally lose.

should have packed… more than one electronic adapter.


Your smartphone, computer, and other electronics will need to be charged. Sometimes, you will need to charge more than one thing at a time. Bring two (or more) adapters and save yourself the headache.

should have packed… small gifts from home.

japanese kit kats

You will definitely make a lot of friends during your stay in New York. When you are returning home, you might want to give your new pen pals a little gift to remember you, so it is a good idea to bring some small souvenirs from your country. It is difficult to shop for people you do not know yet, but little things like candy or chocolates, nice boxes of tea, and stationary are things that most people like.

Packing for studying abroad—what you shouldn’t bring

You might think that it is important to bring the following items with you for your trip to New York, but you will probably regret it once you get here. If you do end up bringing a lot of stuff, you will quickly begin to say: shouldn’t have packed…

shouldn’t have packed… so much clothing.


You will be living in a shopping paradise! From stylish designer stores on 5th Avenue to trendy thrift stores and boutiques, New York is a city that is made for shoppers. Make sure that you leave time in your schedule to explore these shops, and leave room in your suitcase to bring home new clothing.

shouldn’t have packed… so many cosmetics.


There is a drugstore on every corner so don’t bother packing things you can easily buy, like makeup, sunscreen, and insect repellant. You only need to bring travel-size soap, toothpaste, and lotion, and then purchase larger bottles of the same items when you arrive.

shouldn’t have packed… so many guidebooks.


Having a guidebook in your native language is great—they are filled with recommendations, maps, and useful information. But, you can probably get a lot of information from your teachers at NYEA, classmates, and new friends. Use these people as your resource, and let your guidebook be a backup. You will find that you barely use it so you definitely do not need more than one!

shouldn’t have packed… so many ESL books.

ESL Books

NYEA will provide you with all of the materials you need to master English, so don’t bother bringing your old notes and books. A dictionary (book or electronic), however, is a great thing to pack.

shouldn’t have packed… sports equipment.

sports equipment

Tennis rackets, soccer balls, basketballs, and most other sporting goods can be purchased in the city at a cheap price. If you are a member of a gym, you can also probably rent these items.

shouldn’t have packed… so many towels.


Towels are large and require a lot of space in your suitcase and in your closet. Bring high-quality towels that dry quickly and are small when folded. We recommend bringing no more than two. If two is not enough, remember that you can always buy more when you are here.

shouldn’t have packed… clothes that wrinkle or require dry cleaning.


You are going to be too busy exploring the city, making new friends, attending classes, and trying new restaurants; where will you find time to iron your clothes or go to the dry cleaner? Keep things simple and don’t bring them if possible.

Hopefully, you will have no regrets before, during, or after your trip to New York, so follow our list and you just might not have to say: “I should have packed…” “I shouldn’t have packed…”

Category : English Grammar