What things do experienced ESL travellers suggest you bring along in your luggage?

1. Vitamins: These are expensive in some countries like South Korea.

2. Passport: Make sure it is updated. Many countries will not let you enter if you have less than 6 months before expiration on your passport.

3. CDs: I found I used a lot of my English music to motivate students in ESL classes. Some music is just to set class mood at the beginning and end of a lesson but other songs especially 50s and 60s music with easy-to-understand lyrics are perfect for reading and listening (e.g. Nat King Cole, Barbara Streisand, The Carpenters, etc.).
CD players are far superior to using tapes because of the quick replay button. The sound quality is also much better on CDs. You can bring your own CD player but may need to buy a power transformer on arrival.
Your own music can also help with cultural/language isolation and homesickness.

4. Bank cards and bank books: Make sure you can access your bank accounts back home. You may need emergency cash and will want to send money home at times to pay bills. It can be difficult or impossible to apply for a credit card in a foreign country.

5. Dental floss is still hard to get in many countries and always expensive. Bring your own. This goes for many health supplements. Remember that in hot/humid countries some food/vitamins may deteriorate quickly.

6. It used to be hard to find special foods like Western cheeses, peanut butter, nachos, 100% hot chocolate powder, etc. but in Korea at least, this has changed. Peanut butter is still very expensive here and, often $5 for a small jar, so I load up my suitcase before leaving Canada/USA. Same is true of Fries Coco Powder, cheap in Thailand as is tea. Foods dear to the hearts of Australians, New Zealanders and Brits are not seen, e.g.. Marmite and Bovril. Everything is expensive in Japan and artificially so. They import many cheap foods/products internationally and them mark them up to ridiculous prices, whatever the market can bear. Before going to Japan bring a lot of food (including rice).

by Robin Tim Day

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