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Duke Immerse purchases all program-related flights, bus tickets, car rentals and other modes of transportation specific to the program’s travel and field-based experiences. 

Register Your Travel

Follow the instructions in your MyExperientialEd application portal to register your travel with Duke in the Duke Travel Registry. This is required for all Duke Immerse programs. 

Packing Your Bags

Our most important packing advice is a resounding, “PACK LIGHTLY!” Heavy bags are burdensome and you will be surprised at how easily you can get by with a few essential items.  

Be sure to carry medications with you on your carry-on and pack any sharp items with checked luggage. Please review the general packing list, while keeping in mind that what you need to bring will vary depending on your destination. 

Current regulations for U.S. airlines typically limit the amount of liquids and/or gels that can be carried on board to 3 oz. containers, all of which must fit in a 1-quart size plastic bag. Check ahead to see if any of your flights have carry-on liquid restrictions so that preparations can be made before you leave. 

Many airlines charge per bag for checked luggage. Check your airline’s policies and prices and compare to shipping costs or purchasing necessary items onsite. Airlines also have limits on the number and weight of your pieces of luggage; research this information before you begin packing. If you plan to travel prior to arriving at your study abroad site, note that luggage limits within a country or region may vary considerably. If you are over these limits, you will be required to pay an excess baggage fee. Fees for overweight and oversized bags can be high, so you should check with your airline ahead of time if you plan to bring excess baggage. While excess luggage fees may seem high, this is generally a cheaper option than shipping these items. 

Fall 2021 Packing List Additions 

  • COVID-19 immunization card 
  • Face masks 
  • Personal sanitizing supplies (hand sanitizer, wipes, etc.) 
  • Thermometer

Below is a sample list to use as a guide when you pack. Please remember this is only a guide and items will vary according to culture, climate, and personal taste. Do not pack things you do not use or are not appropriate for your specific trip. 

 Essential Items (Non-Clothing) 

  • Passport 
  • Tickets 
  • Money 
  • COVID-19 vaccine card 
  • ATM and credit cards 
  • Photocopies of all travel documents, prescriptions, etc. (leave copies at home, too) 
  • Personal sanitizing supplies (hand sanitizer, wipes, etc) 
  • Prescription medicine/s in their original, labeled container(s) (if traveling internationally, verify the medicines are legal in that country) 
  • Bring a supply of medicine for your entire stay, along with a copy of your prescription and an explanation of why the drug is required 
  • Health Insurance cards 


  • Face masks 
  • Pants 
  • A couple of dressier outfits 
  • Shirts 
  • Pajamas 
  • Sweatshirt and sweatpants 
  • Sweaters 
  • Socks and underwear 
  • Walking shoes 
  • Pair of very comfortable casual to nice shoes 
  • Flip flops for the beach or shower 
  • Swimsuit 
  • Jacket 
  • Winter clothes (depending on location) 


  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo, soap, deodorant (a small supply—you can purchase these items once you arrive) 
  • Thermometer 
  • Comb, brush 
  • Lip balm 
  • Towel 
  • Non-prescription medications that you normally take (if traveling internationally, verify these are legal in that country) 
  • Cosmetics 
  • Contact lens solution 
  • Insect repellent (if applicable) 
  • Menstrual products; tampons can be hard to find in certain countries 


  • Laptop computer 
  • Laptop cable lock or other securing device 
  • Sewing kit, safety pins, sunglasses 
  • Camera, memory cards, shoulder-strap camera case 
  • Travel guides, phrasebooks, foreign language dictionary 
  • Voltage converter and/or adaptor plugs 
  • Travel alarm clock 
  • Money belt or neck passport pouch 
  • Shoulder bag or day pack for short day trips 
  • Gift items for host families 
  • Photos of your home, family, and friends to share 
  • Bicycle lock and chain (for chaining your backpack or suitcase to the overhead baggage rail on trains and buses when traveling overnight) 

You will be able to buy many of the things you need in your host country. However, for the items you choose to bring from home, you would be wise to consider the following tips: 

  • Do not pack valuables in your checked luggage. 
  • Put address labels and contact information inside and outside each piece of luggage. 
  • Pack medications in your carry-on luggage; pack all sharp objects in your checked luggage. 
  • Bring items that are lightweight, drip dry, and wrinkle-proof such as knits, permanent press, and cotton. Easy-care items are essential. 
  • Dark colors are more practical than light colors, as they do not show dirt as easily. 
  • To give your wardrobe more variety without weighing down your suitcase, consider taking items that are interchangeable. 
  • Do not take any clothing that you would hate to ruin or leave behind. 
  • Do not take clothes that you may wear only once or twice. 
  • Carry all liquids in plastic bags in case leakage or spillage occurs in route. Consider the current airline liquid restrictions for carry-on luggage when packing. 
  • By rolling your clothing instead of folding, you will be able to fit more in your bag, everything can be seen at a glance, and there are fewer wrinkles. 
  • You should also pack according to the probability of use, especially if you will be “living out of a suitcase” for several days before settling in. 
  • Carry your camera in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. 
  • Have TSA-approved locks on all your baggage pieces (be prepared to take them off during security inspections). 

Immigration and Customs Inspection

When traveling internationally, upon entry to a foreign country, you must show your passport, visa (if required), and proof of any required immunizations. You may be required to show additional documents, depending on the country. At an airport, this usually occurs just after you deplane, but before you recover your luggage, so be sure to have the necessary documents with you. Remember that admission to the country is entirely at the discretion of the immigration officer, who will determine the length of stay to be authorized and stamped into your passport. They will normally ask you about the purpose of your visit, how long you plan to remain in the country, and where you will be staying. 

After your passport has been stamped and you have collected your luggage, you will pass through a customs inspection. You will probably receive a customs declaration form to be filled out on your plane (or train), and customs officials will examine it when they look at your luggage. Your bags may be very carefully examined, and you may be detained or asked to pay duties if there are any irregularities or violations of customs regulations. You may also be waved through with no special attention whatsoever. 

Check customs information for your host country prior to departure to learn more about what is allowed and what is prohibited at points of entry.