Packing for Uni 101: What to bring (and what not to!)

3 December 2020

When preparing for university life, it can be tempting to pack much more than you really need. Suriyah, one of our undergrad contributors is here to tell you what to bring and what to leave at home!


If you are joining UCL as a new student and starting September on campus, then you'll want to give this a once over!  

Home and international students should check out our Checklists pages outlining what you should do at different times!

Below is a list of bare essentials to get you started:

1. Important documents – bring a few copies of these in case your originals go missing!

  • Passport and/or driving license

  • UCL acceptance letter – useful for opening a bank account, obtaining student discount cards etc., if you haven’t already

  • Insurance documents (travel, contents etc.)

  • Student finance documents (loans, bursaries etc.) – to check when the next instalment is coming in...

  • Bank details and cards

  • NHS number - to register with a GP

2. Electricals – essential for university life 

  • Mobile phone and charger – standard

  • Laptop and charger – standard

  • Headphones – for uninterrupted musical bliss

  • Power extension cable (with surge protection) – for all your charging needs

3. Kitchen essentials – those in catered accommodation: cutlery, a mug and a plate will do just fine!

  • A basic cutlery set

  • One glass and one mug, one plate and one bowl

  • A quality sharp knife, kitchen scissors and tongs

  • A wok – a versatile tool, along with one sauce pan

  • A baking tray

  • A bottle-opener/corkscrew – Swiss army knives work well

What not to bring:

  • Kettle, toaster, microwave, iron, fridge, BBQ's - These are provided in UCL Halls!

4. Bedroom

  • Some coat hangers
  • A laundry basket – nowadays you can get a clever one that doubles as a portable bag
  • Bed linen is not provided in UCL accommodation – most students will get theirs quite cheaply from Primark at the end of Tottenham court Road which is close to campus and most halls

International students who are arriving late: You can also purchase a linen pack from UCL accommodation, which contains a duvet, duvet cover, pillow, pillowcase, sheet, hand towel, and bath towel, for £25.00 – submit a Linen request from here

What to leave at home (not permitted by UCL accommodation): 

  • Your pets :( Guide dogs/assistance dogs are totally welcome though, of course!

  • Portable heaters, candles, incense stickes and oil lamps – UCL Halls are extremely strict about not allowing any portable heaters/cooking equipment/irons, fridges, fragrance burners and shisha pipes (except for medical conditions) in your room.

  • Glue, drawing pins, and adhesive tape and check your halls regulations about using Blu tack (to be on the safe side – don’t use on painted walls!)

  • Any of the following – which are all provided in halls: carpet, curtains, wardrobe, desk/table, desk chair, bed (including mattress), mattress cover, wastepaper bin and light shade/cover.

  • Fairy lights, dart boards, ball games, humidifiers, weapons, fireworks and Nitrous Oxide are just a few other miscillaneous things not to be brought into your UCL accommodation.

4. Bathroom – again, you can pick up most things when you arrive. To be safe, make sure you pack:

  • One big towel and one small (unless you have requested a linen pack)

  • Toiletries – with toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and shower gel, make-up, the usual, in a washbag

  • One toilet roll to get you started

5. Clothing and accessories: the usual, but don’t go crazy – you’ll probably have limited space:

  • Some casual outfits – layers work well in our very temperamental climate

  • A smart outfit or two for going out

  • Underwear and socks – about a week’s worth

  • A hooded raincoat – a must-have in the UK

  • A winter coat and hat, gloves and scarf – winter can be freezing here!

  • A travel-sized umbrella

  • Shoes – trainers, going out shoes, everyday casual shoes

  • Gym gear and/or swimwear if you fancy keeping fit!

6. Personal 

  • Any medication and supplies (e.g. plasters, painkillers, prescription medication)

  • Contraception – it doesn’t harm you to have your own backup

  • A couple of mementos from home – photos of family and friends to make you feel at home in your new room

Going to university is such a big move, hopefully this list will help you to avoid packing stress getting in the way of the excitement! 

Suriyah Rashid, UCL alumna, BA Language and Culture