What to pack

Moving into accommodation? You've probably already started thinking about what to bring with you. Deciding what to pack can be a bit tricky, but don't worry, we've got some top tips to help you get started.

Please note this list has been written with undergraduate home and international students who'll be living in University accommodation in mind, but will provide a useful reminder for any student moving into new accommodation.

Our students' top tips

Psychology students Megan and Savannah have put together their top suggestions for what to bring with you to UoB.

What to pack for your first year at uni

What's already included?

If you're going to be living in University-owned accommodation, you can find out what'll l be provided in your accommodation by checking the inventories. If you're living in partner or private accommodation, check with your provider or landlord to find out what's included and what you need to bring. 


  • Confirmation of your arrival date and time, and the address (and directions) to your accommodation - you don't want to turn up at the wrong time or get lost on the way! For University-owned accommodation you can choose your arrival time in advance
  • Money - the first instalment of your student loan isn't paid until teaching begins. If you do have a student loan, it's best to make sure you have the details of this with you. If you're an international student, make sure you have access to some British currency for your initial costs, but avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Bedding and towels - if you're in University-owned accommodation you can buy a bedding pack from your accommodation site, or you can of course bring your own.
  • Documents and personal details - have things like your National Insurance number, bank details, driving licence (if you have one), passport, and any University documents to hand in case you need them. Make sure to keep these in a safe place. If you're thinking of getting a part-time job, you'll need to bring original copies of your documents (such as your passport) - this includes UK and ROI students!
  • Medications and medical information - if you take any medications, remember to bring these with you. Try to bring enough to last you until you'll  be able to register with a doctor here. If you have any medical conditions or disabilities you may find it helpful to bring information about these with you (GP or consultants letters, copies of prescriptions etc.), particularly if you're an international student. If you wear glasses, a copy of your latest prescription might be a good idea too.
  • Student ID card - if your student ID card was sent to you in the post, remember to bring it with you! If it wasn't, you can collect it on campus.

Hand luggage essentials for international students

Travelling from outside the UK? There are some essential things you should bring in your hand luggage (which is safer than carrying them in your checked/hold luggage):

  • Your passport, including the vignette (visa sticker) for your arrival (if applicable)
  • A printed copy of your visa decision letter
  • A printed copy of your University offer letter and Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • A printed copy of information about your accommodation, which covers the duration of your stay
  • A printed copy of information about the finances available to you in the UK
  • A printed copy of your Tuberculosis (TB) certificate, if applicable.

You may want to keep copies of these documents on your phone too, as a backup. Make sure they are protected by a password or PIN so only you can access them. Printed copies are important in case anything happens to your phone/laptop.

If you need to bring prescribed medication with you, bring a translated copy of the doctor's note with you.

You should also think about bringing some emergency items in case your checked/hold luggage is delayed or lost. For example, a change of clothes, a toothbrush, UK travel adapters, any cables or chargers including for your phone, and small toiletries.

Students living in University-owned accommodation have insurance included in their rent through Endsleigh. Make sure you understand what is and isn't covered by the policy so that you can decide if it's sufficient for your needs. Find out more about your insurance cover.

What else to bring

There's lots of other things you'll want to bring to help you feel at home and ready to study. Think about what you'll need to bring with you, or what you might want to get when you arrive. There are a range of local shops selling homewares, including the nearby Selly Oak Shopping Park and you'll be able to arrange online deliveries from most major retailers.

Settling in

  • Tea, coffee and extra mugs and snacks - whether you’re in catered or self-catered accommodation, tea and biscuits are always a great idea, and are also a fast way to make friends! Cuppa anyone? 
  • Phone - don't forget your charger, and a plug adaptor if you need one.
  • Pins - most rooms have notice boards, so you can bring a little bit of home to your new place by printing off your favourite snaps and creating a collage of your University memories. Pins always sell out on campus during Welcome, so be sure to stock up! It’s also a good idea to check with your accommodation if you can use Blu-Tac on the walls.
  • Personalised items to spruce up your room – whether it's posters, your favourite cushion, a plant or something else, little bits and pieces can help you feel at home.
  • Post-it notes or a mini whiteboard - so you can stay on top of our Welcome events and activities as well as leave messages for your flatmates. Let them know what you're up to or write something to make them smile.

Day-to-day living

  • A kettle, toaster and iron - check your inventory to see if these are provided for you. You might want to wait and get these with your flatmates, so you don't end up with five of everything!
  • Pans, kitchen utensils, plates and cutlery - again, you might want to familiarise yourself with what’s already provided for you; how much you bring might also depend on whether you're mainly cooking for yourself or will have Student Living Plus. A top tip from us: second hand items are more sustainable, and different patterns will help you know what's yours!
  • Washing-up liquid, tea towels and bin liners - don't be the flatmate who's known for leaving a pile of washing up! You might find it easier to buy these when you arrive.
  • Washing powder and a laundry bag - remember space in your room will be limited, so you might not want a bulky laundry basket. You can use our Accommodation App to check if a machine is available or if your laundry has finished.
  • Toiletries and a first aid kit - you may want to include some basic painkillers and medicines.
  • A bag or rucksack to carry books, electrical decvices, and stationery on campus. If you plan on going to the gym, you might want to invest in a sports bag.
  • Music, films and books - you'll want some time to relax. Headphones might be a good idea to avoid annoying your flatmates!
  • Blankets - your accommodation may be warmer or colder than you're used to at home, so layers are key.
  • Coat hangers - these are easy to forget.
  • Alarm clock - relying on your phone might not be the best idea!
  • Shaver plug adaptor - if you have an electric shaver or toothbrush, you might need a two-pin adaptor for a normal plug socket. Check with your accommodation.
  • A water bottle and reusable cup - save money and plastic waste by taking water with you. Many buildings on campus have water fountains (and hot water points for tea and coffee) to fill up for free and tap water in the UK is safe to drink. You might also get a discount if you buy a hot drink using your own cup!
  • Lunchbox - if you're self-catering, you might also find a lunchbox useful for taking lunch with you. Some study spaces, including the Aston Webb Student Hub and Alan Walters Building, have microwaves for you to use. Explore free utilities on campus.
  • 16-25 Railcard - the University has its own train station and many students use trains to get into the city centre, or to travel acorss the UK, so this can be a great way to save money. Full-time students over the age of 25 are also eligible.
  • TV Licence - if you want to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or download or watch BBC iPlayer programmes, you'll need to be covered by a TV Licence. This includes watching TV on your phone, tablet, computer or games console. Make sure you understand the rules around TV Licences and whether you will need one.
  • Plug adaptors - if you're bringing electrical items from abroad make sure you have plug adaptors to fit the British three-pin sockets. There are plenty of shops to get bigger appliances here, including rice cookers.
  • Warm clothes and a waterproof coat - the Great British weather can get wet and windy very quickly. Snow is also possible during the winter months. A top tip from us: invest in a good umbrella as it can even rain in the summer! 


  • Your laptop - if you plan to use one, and don't forget to bring any chargers or cables. There's Wi-Fi access in all University-owned accommodation. Remember you can download Microsoft Office 365 for free on up to five devices, which includes products you're used to like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, as well as OneDrive and Teams.
  • A study lamp and desk accessories - as the nights get darker you might like having a lamp for your desk, and an organised desk will help you feel prepared for studying.
  • Paper, folders and notebooks - you'll need to provide your own stationery, so decide what works best for you. You might want to wait and see whether you prefer making lots of paper notes or simply just using a laptop.
  • Scissors and sellotape - it's surprising how often you'll end up using these!
  • Spare pens - these always seem to disappear, so lots of spare pens are a must.
  • Printer - some students prefer having their own printer, whilst others prefer to use printers on campus. You might want to wait and see if you think it'll be useful or not. Remember to factor in the cost of ink cartridges.

What not to bring

  • There are strict rules about what you can bring from overseas. See our information on arriving in the UK.
  • Your car - there's limited parking available both at student accommodation and on campus, and you'll need a permit.
  • Pets - these aren't allowed, so leave the hamster at home!
  • Large amounts of cash - bring enough for your initial costs, but avoid carrying large amounts of cash. If you're an international student, you may want to bring a prepaid travel card to cover you until you are able to open a bank account.
  • Large electrical items and furniture - they can take up valuable space in your luggage and you will be able to source these locally or for delivery once you've arrived and know what you need.
  • Bulky suitcases - these can be difficult to store, you might find a soft-sided holdall or laundry bags easier to stash.
  • Too much! - remember that space in your accommodation will be limited, so don't bring everything you own. There are plenty of shops in the local area and the city centre to pick up anything you need or anything you have forgotten, and your flatmates will be bringing things too. 

Bedding pack

If you're in University owned accommodation, you can purchase a bedding pack from your accommodation site. The packs include two pillows, a duvet, and a duvet cover. You will have the option to purchase one through the Accommodation Pass. You can contact your site reception at The Vale, Pritchatts Park, or Selly Oak if you would like to know more, and they'll make sure it's the right size for the bed in your room.

Looking for more advice?

If you're looking for more detailed suggestions of what to bring, UCAS have produced a 'A big list of absolutely everything that you need to take to University' for students. 

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