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winter suitcase


What do I pack for winter as an international student?

By QMResLife 04 Jan 2024

As an international or associate student, it can be hard to decide what items to pack for London’s winter months. As a heavy packer myself, I know how difficult it can be to decide what to take to university. So, here is my list of essentials to take to university if this is your first winter in London!


Clothing will make up the bulk of luggage that you take to university for the winter months. As you are probably already aware of, the UK gets cold and wet in winter, and you will need layers to stay warm:

  • Long-sleeve tops: Long-sleeve tops are essential for the winter as they make a fantastic base layer and can be styled with anything.
  • Jeans/Trousers: Ditch those shorts and skirts, you won’t need them and they’ll be a waste of valuable luggage space! Opt for full-length, thick options such as jeans and trousers.  
  • Jumpers/Hoodies: You can never have too many jumpers or cardigans in the UK. Pack at least three, you will be wearing them a lot more than you think. A thick quarter-zip or a chunky knitted jumper can be worn for any occasion and will keep you warm when going outside in chilly winter weather.
  • Coat: A coat is so important to bring to the UK as we have a lot of rain and a lot of cold days. Opting for a thick, waterproof coat will ensure you are warm and dry when running over to your lectures.
  • Boots: Unless you want your socks getting wet in the rain, boots are an absolute must. They are versatile, warm, and many are waterproof which is perfect for the awful British weather.
  • Socks and tights: This seems obvious, but you can never have too many socks. Stuff as many pairs as you can fit in your luggage, and you will be thankful for it later. If you do decide to wear skirts, tights are a must-have! Extra points if they are fluffy winter tights.
  • Comfy pyjamas: Perfect for a night in watching movies and drinking hot chocolate, comfy pyjamas are not only nice to have but essential. You’ll want warm pyjamas to go into after a day of rain and cold, believe me.

Top Tip!! A great way to save space in your luggage is by packing items in neutral colours so you can mix and match with any of your other clothes. Even though dressing colourful is fun, having a wardrobe of browns, whites and blacks (or even one or two different colours) will ensure you can take anything out of your wardrobe and match it with all of your other clothes!

Other essentials

  • Thick bedding: If you are coming here as an international student, you can buy your bedding in the UK to save valuable luggage space. A thick duvet and fluffy blanket are so valuable during the winter months.

What not to bring

  • Summer clothes: One or two dresses for special occasions is completely fine, but there is no need to bring vest tops, skirts, shorts and summer dresses to the UK if you are only staying for the winter months. You will not wear them, and it will be a waste of valuable space.
  • An excessive amount of clothes: Even though it’s easy to overpack if you are coming to the UK for 3-6 months, try to be selective. We have laundry facilities on campus and you will likely buy clothes while you’re here anyway.
  • An excessive number of shoes: Following on from the previous point, there is no need to bring loads of shoes. One or two pairs of trainers, a pair of boots, a pair of nice shoes and a pair of indoor shoes is enough for 3-6 months in the UK.
  • Swimwear: Unless you specifically plan to go swimming or plan to travel during your stay, it is unlikely that you will need swimwear while in London. Don’t waste space by packing loads of bikinis and swimsuits, one is more than enough.
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