Ultimate J1 Packing Guide 

So, I am just home from the summer of a lifetime and was thinking back to when I first booked my J1 and how nervous I was. One of the things I googled multiple times was ‘What to pack for a J1’. At the time I thought surely there must be some trick for packing three months of your life into one suitcase, albeit there is not.

To make things easier for those of you who are considering doing a J1 in the future I have written down some of the essentials and some of the items I forgot to bring or else brought and never used. I hope this will be in some way helpful.


Obviously these will take up the most room in your case, what I will say is pack for your destination, if you are by the sea you’ll need lots of bikinis and coverups but if you are in the city bring some nicer more dressy attire. Make sure you have enough clothes that you wont need to go to the laundrette every week and bring MORE than one pair of pyjamas and also slippers because I can also guarantee you the floor of wherever you are staying will not be the cleanest.

Even though the US in the summer can be roasting, I would really recommend bringing one heavy item as the nights can be cool, especially on the west coast.



Only bring shoes with you that you wear regularly or will 100% wear in the states. Also don’t go overboard on the heels, you think you’ll wear them but you won’t, trust me.


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I packed with the attitude of ‘ah I can buy toiletries over there’ NO. Beauty essentials in the states are over double the price of here. So my advice would be to bring all of the Penneys make up wipes and dry shampoo you can find. As long as your baggage isn’t overweight you will not regret it.



  • Bring a folder for all important documentation
  • If you have an old passport bring it, most places will only accept passports as a valid form of ID and bringing your visa on a night out is risky
  • Bring your laptop as you will need to check in with your sponsor and its so much easier to plan travels on a laptop
  • A laundry bag- so you don’t have to carry three paper bags to the laundrette
  • An adapter & extension lead
  • Plenty of CVs
  • Your own sheet- easy to fit in and will make your life so much easier
  • Neck pillow- essential if travelling



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