Long-term Travel Essentials for TEFL Teachers: The Ultimate Packing Guide for Teaching Abroad
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Love it or hate it, an important part of leaving on a jet plane is packing. You’ve probably packed many times for day trips, weekend trips, backpacking trips or even long-ish holidays, but packing for long-term travel is another kettle of fish entirely. The long-term travel essentials you need are quite different to those for a quickie holiday – after all, you’ll be living in your destination for a month, six months, a year – who knows?!
If you want to teach English as a foreign language abroad, it’s likely that you’ll be travelling for an extended period of time. Which means you can’t just throw jeans and a shirt in your suitcase and hope for the best! But you also can’t pack your house and home! Oh no, you have to be smart about your long-term packing list and pack only the travel essentials. Just enough so that you have everything you need when you arrive, but not too much that they nab you at the check-in counter for excess baggage.
What’s more, if you’re travelling as a TEFL teacher, you need to consider what materials and resources you should pack for your lessons. The first rule of TEFL is to be prepared! While you’d probably like to take a giant whiteboard with you, along with your library of TEFL books and a cupboard of props, that’s not exactly a feasible idea.
Learn more: Essential Teaching Materials for a TEFL Teacher
We’re going to help you out here, with the ultimate packing list for long-term travel for TEFL teachers.
Let’s start with the basics:
Long-term travel essentials for clothing
When it comes to clothes, think capsule. (If you have no idea what a capsule wardrobe is, a) where have you been? And b) you can find out more here). Pack items which you can mix and match in a number of different ways. Layering is the way forward, so think wardrobe staples and light pieces which can be added to for warmth if needed. To pack your clothes like a professional, think like Marie Kondo – roll your clothes rather than folding them, and pack similar items together.
The thing about clothes is that you can usually buy clothes when you arrive in the country, if necessary. But you don’t want to have to spend the first few days of your new adventure hustling to find a long skirt when you know there’s one in your cupboard back home. So while you don’t want to pack your entire cupboard, the key is to be smart about your wardrobe choices.
As a teacher, make sure of the dress code of where you are going to teach. You might be required to wear a school t-shirt, or a tie, or long sleeves. This goes hand-in-hand with the culture of the country you are going to. Respect the cultural and religious rules of your host country. If you are not sure, you should be able to ask your employer.
And don’t forget about shoes! You’ll need comfy shoes for walking when you do the tourist vibes, smart shoes for work, going-out shoes, and maybe even some flip-flops if you think you might stay in a hostel at some point – no one wants to be barefoot in a hostel shower!
Our top tips for packing clothes:
- Ziplock bags are great for packing dirty or wet clothes and shoes.
- Packing cubes are the latest craze to keep your suitcase organised.
- Jewellery and accessories can be stored in a tupperware or daily pill organiser if you don’t have a jewellery travel case.
Long-term travel essentials for toiletries
We understand it can be hard to leave home without a fully kitted out make-up bag, but restrain yourself. Make-up can take up valuable space in your suitcase and it can easily be bought wherever you are going.
Pack the essentials that you’ll need for your journey to your destination, and your first few weeks while you are finding your feet in your new home town:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner
- Contact lens solution
- Ladies, it is a good idea (as always!) to pack sanitaryware – you never know what might be on offer where you are going and it might not be what you are used to.
- A basic medical kit is recommended, especially with nausea tablets, painkillers, diarrhoea medication and sleeping pills.
- If you take any chronic medication, make sure you have enough of it to last or else ask your doctor for a prescription for when you need it.
Our top tips for packing toiletries:
- Decant big bottles into smaller, travel containers
- Some of your toiletries can be packed in your hand luggage if you will need them on the flight – just be aware of the liquid restrictions
Long-term travel essentials for technology
Technology is pretty much non-negotiable these days. After all, you don’t won’t want to have to spend your first pay cheque on a new laptop or phone! Especially if you are planning to teach English online or use your laptop for lesson planning and accessing your library, you need to be doubly sure you have everything you need to keep your technology charged and available when you need it.
- Phone + charger
- Battery pack
- International adaptor plug (because you never know where you’re going!)
- Earphones or headphones (preferably noise-cancelling)
Our top tips for packing technology:
- A travel cord roll or cable organiser helps keep your cords neat and untangled.
- A cell phone strap is a useful way to have your phone at hand at all times. It is a deterrent for pickpockets, plus you won’t forget it anywhere!
- Make sure your smartphone is unlocked so you are able to use a local SIM card.
Long-term travel essentials for documents
Travelling requires paperwork. Plane tickets, visas, vaccinations – there are long list of documents that you need to travel. Double check you have packed everything you need and that they are easy to access while you are travelling.
- ID or driver’s licence
- vaccination booklet or record
- Certified copies of academic transcripts
- Travel and medical insurance details and important phone numbers
- Passport photos – you never know when you might need and it’s not always easy to find a photo shop close by
- Debit/cheque cards or cash
Our top tips for packing essentials:
- You should make sure you have both soft and hard copies of all your important documents.
- Don’t pack your cash all in the same place!
- Try take some local currency with you in cash for when you arrive at the airport.
Long-term travel essentials for teaching
As a teacher, it can be tempting to take all your resource books, lesson planning materials and photocopiable materials with you, to make sure you are totally prepared for the classroom. But don’t be so hasty! These days, it’s possible to have everything you need on a USB or, even better, in the cloud.
You may want to take a notebook or diary with you, along with your usual stationery, but you can also wait and buy whatever you need when you get there.
As a teacher, give some thought to taking souvenirs or mementoes from your home country – even something as simple as a few photos of your friends and family. Your students are likely to be very interested in your private life and any items you bring can be used as conversation starters – especially useful for lessons on the first day. If you are staying with a host family, a nice idea is to take a small gift for them for when you arrive.
If you are digital nomad and plan on teaching English online, there are a few extras you might want to fit into your bag:
- A headset with microphone
- A back-up internet source
- A selfie ring light
- A world map or poster which can be used as a background
- Small flashcards which can be packed easily
- A mascot or finger puppets
Long-term travel nice-to-haves
We’ve already got quite a long list of essentials, but if you have any spare space in your suitcase, there are a few nice-to-haves that you won’t regret taking with you.
- Travel pillow
- Travel door alarm – especially helpful if you are travelling alone.
- Kindle – so you don’t need to lug around your library
- Travel sewing kit
- Microfibre towel
- Home comforts – niknaks, branston pickle, tim tams, whatever will help when the homesickness kicks in.
And there you have it: everything you need to pack for your adventure abroad teaching English as a foreign language. Bon voyage!
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2022
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We use the following for marketing and to identify the products and services you’re interested in.
- Your contact details. This includes your name, gender, address, phone number, date of birth and email address.
- Information from cookies and tags placed on your connected devices.
- Information from other organisations such as aggregated demographic data and publicly available sources like the electoral roll and business directories.
- Details of the products and services you’ve bought and how you use them.
We’ll send you information (about the products and services we provide) by phone, post, email, text message, online banner advertising. We also use the information we have about you to personalise these messages wherever we can as we believe it is important to make them relevant to you. We do this because we have a legitimate business interest in keeping you up to date with our products and services. We also check that you are happy for us to send you marketing messages before we do so. In each message we send, you also have the option to opt-out.
We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.