A nagging pressure tightens around the back of your neck, spreading across your shoulders. Your thoughts are muddled: what did you forget? Nothing; you’re fine. But maybe when you get to your destination you will wish you’d brought something you never thought to pack.
Here are some items that you might not think to pack but that will ultimately be helpful:
1. A rain poncho
I always forget to pack some kind of rain-resistant jacket. They are incredibly helpful, especially if you are traveling during the rainy season. You might be able to find a cheap poncho in a general store while you travel, but since they are so lightweight it is worth it to stick one in your suitcase pocket. Then you know you have one.
2. Pictures of your family and friends
These can be used during lessons, or to share stories with students. Photos give you common ground and opportunities to connect. Encourage your students to bring pictures of their families and you can all practice sharing stories in English.
3. Small gifts
Nothing too extravagant. Keep it simple. For example, notebooks, markers, candy, etc. You can use these as prizes during lessons, or share them as you make friends. Make sure to check on what is customary for the country you are heading to. Some places require that all students receive something if you plan on giving out prizes during class.
4. Walking sandals (not just tennis shoes)
You will want shoes for walking around and exploring the city where you are or going on excursions with students. Tennis shoes are great for walking, but your feet can get really hot with the closed toes. Also, if you wear good walking sandals, you don’t have to worry about packing as many socks!
5. Vitamins / immune system boosters
It is important to stay healthy so you can keep yourself in the game. Traveling coupled with new food and environments may leave you susceptible to getting sick or without all the vitamins you need. Taking vitamins and immune system boosters will help you keep your head clear.
I hope this was helpful! What are some other items you can think of? If you have any ideas, please leave them in the comments below.