What To Pack For Your TEFL Adventure

by Helen Hargreave


By Barbara Abate (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What to pack for your TEFL adventure a) depends on where you’re going b) depends on your packing style!

Personally, I am what you call a TERRIBLE packer! More often than not I will end up FREEZING in my chosen destination because I forget that just because I’m on a two week holiday to sunny Majorca it doesn’t mean it is going to be 30 degrees on an evening.  The result? A very large collection of stall-bought pashminas…

So what about when it comes to packing for a year?!  If you’re about to embark on your TEFL adventure, make sure to do your country research so that you avoid over/under packing.

What To Bring

The should-be-obvious stuff

Documentation – Your TEFL Certificate to start! Passport, copy of your insurance policy, lots of passport photos, other qualification certificates.

Medication + First aid – Bring any personal medication you might need whilst you’re out there and don’t forget mosquito spray, insect cream etc.

Phone – if you’re bringing your iPhone make sure to unlock it first so that you can put your new sim in and avoid terrible charges!

Camera! – You’ll want to document your time there so bring a spare memory card too.

The General List

Invest in a Kindle so that you can store all your favourite books PLUS you can add textbooks and reference books on there too. One problem solved! Books might look nice on a bookshelf and personalise your room a bit but they’re heavy and bulky – be ruthless!

Quick-dry towel – great for rainy-season countries.

Travel wash – great for the first few days whilst you are adjusting and working out where your local shop is etc.

Photos of your friends/family – they’re lightweight and have multiple purposes! They can decorate your room, put a smile on your face and be used in your classes too.

Laptop – lesson planning, talking to friends, watching your favourite TV programmes, writing your own blog posts – yeah I would say a laptop is pretty important!

Beauty things! For the girls – Moisturisers can be really expensive, so it’s worth taking a big bottle of your own. If you’re starting your TEFL adventure outside of Europe you might want to take spares of your favourite make-up too, especially foundation and concealer, as it could be hard to find concealer/foundation etc. in your own skin-tone.


Summer/Winter Clothes – do your research on the climate of the country i.e. does your TEFL destination have a rainy season? Be smart in your packing – remember to bring a couple of things to wear on an evening too and definitely don’t forget your professional clothes for teaching. Shoes! Don’t bring too many but in China, for example, women’s UK size 7/8 shoes are a nightmare to find!

The ‘Oh I wish I’d brought that’ list

Playing Cards – for an alternative evening!

Hip flask of chosen spirit – you never know when it could come in handy…

A sleeping bag liner – just in case your accommodation doesn’t provide bedding it would avoid a long, probably fruitless, initial search around your new TEFL destination just so you could go to sleep at night.

Ta da! That’s your packing list sorted, that wasn’t too stressful was it?


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