30 August 2013
Packing to go abroad may be the most stressful part of your whole TEFL career! Trying to cram your whole life into suitcase isn’t possible, so here’s our guide to essential items you should pack before you set off on your journey teaching English abroad.
Pictures of family and friends
These are the people you will probably miss the most while teaching English abroad and you will find that photographs of loved ones can provide great comfort when you find yourself in strange place without people you know. Your TEFL students are also likely to take a keen interest in you and want to know everything about you, so having a few photographs up your sleeve could be a lesson planned in itself to get the students talking about their life and family!
A universal adapter
There is nothing worse than arriving in a new place and realising you can’t plug in your mobile, laptop or hairdryer! A universal adapter can be picked up cheaply from a high street shop or airport and is an essential travel item to bring with you.
Gone are the days when you have to carry around a small mobile library with you in order to keep you entertained on the road. An e-reader is a worthy investment if you are setting off on your travels. It can hold hundreds of books and the screen can still be easily read in the blistering sunshine; great for time off work lazing on beaches in your new TEFL location!
If you are taking a smart phone on your TEFL travels I recommend downloading the Skype or Viper apps, which allow you to make free international calls if you have access to Wi-Fi.
When travelling long distances you will want to make the experience as comfortable as possible and wearing loose fitting clothes is often one way to do this. Comfortable shoes are also a must for busy TEFL teachers in large classrooms and of course make sure you have the right selection of cool clothes for hot destinations, smart clothes for interviews and something to cover up at night.
Make sure you take any relevant medicines and birth control you need and are up to date with all your travel vaccinations before you set off to teach English abroad. If you are staying for a long time and need a repeat prescription, find out if this will be available in the country and don’t forget your mosquito net and insect repellent if travelling to malaria prone areas.
Money, Ticket, Passport (and TEFL certificate!)
This is the mantra I have always said to myself before I set off anywhere and although it may seem obvious it’s worth repeating; if you forget it you won’t be the first person I know to have made a similar (fatal) travel mistake!