The Ultimate Packing List for International Students to Canada

If your dream of studying in Canada is finally becoming a reality and you've been accepted into a Canadian educational institution, you must be bubbling with excitement and anticipation!

Facebook LogoIcon X (Twitter)Linkedin LogoIcon Link
Packing list for international students to Canada

If your dream of studying in Canada is finally becoming a reality and you've been accepted into a Canadian educational institution, you must be bubbling with excitement and anticipation!

Even if you're an experienced traveller, packing for such a long period can be a bit overwhelming. Studying abroad is a whole new adventure, far from your typical backpacking trip in Southeast Asia. But fear not! With a sprinkle of strategic planning, you'll be ready to conquer any challenge that comes your way.

Behold the ultimate, tried-and-true packing list, meticulously crafted to streamline your journey as an international student in Canada.

Travel Documents

Before you go, check that your important documents are in order and valid for the entire duration of your stay in Canada

Who knows, you might just fall head over heels for Canada and want to extend your stay, so it's wise to be ready for anything!

Here's what you'll need:

  • Passport
  • Driver's license and international license
  • Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
  • Student visa documentssome text
    • Study permit or a letter of introduction confirming approval
    • Provincial Attestation Letter (or Québec Certificate of Acceptance for Québec)
    • Letter of acceptance from your educational institution
    • Proof of payment of tuition fees
    • Proof of funds for one year
    • Biometrics (if required)
    • Address of your place of residence
    • Medical examination results (if required)

Normally, as an international student, you’ll need to show proof of travel and health insurance for your study permit. 

Travel tip: Why not opt for trip interruption coverage? Let’s face it: life's little surprises are part of the adventure, and being prepared is half the fun!

Clothing: Dress to Impress (the Weather)

Canada's climate is as diverse as its landscapes, so get ready to experience it all, from snow-capped winters to sun-kissed summers. That’s why you’ll want to be as adaptable as the Canadian weather to face all the surprises this country has to offer, especially if you plan to stay for the winter.

Here's how to dress for every season in addition to your basic clothing:


  • Warm, waterproof coat
  • Insulated boots
  • Cozy layers
  • Hat, scarf, mittens
  • Warm sweaters


  • Light, breathable clothing
  • Don’t forget your swimsuit for those sunny days!

Spring and Fall

  • Waterproof gear
  • An umbrella for those unexpected showers

And since there's more to life than studying, pack some going-out outfits for socializing with your new friends and exploring your home away from home.

Also, the dress code in most schools is rather casual, but it can vary depending on your field of study.

For example, a slightly more serious look is often required if you're attending business or law school. If you’re in a medical program, scrubs will be your uniform of choice!

If you come from a country where real winter is not a thing (we’re talking about getting enough snow to build a snowman!), it's best to wait until you arrive in Canada to buy items that are really adapted to the Canadian cold. What you might consider a winter coat in your country could well be just a light jacket here!

Travel tip: Second-hand stores such as the Salvation Army or Value Village sell quality items at super affordable prices.

Personal Hygiene Products

From deodorant to toothpaste, Canadian pharmacies have got you covered. Bring travel-sized essentials with you and stock up on your favourites once you arrive. If you have specific skincare needs, it's a good idea to pack those too.

And don't forget any prescription medications you might need. A detailed prescription from your doctor, including information about your medications, their dosage, and the reason for their use, can make things easier in case of unforeseen circumstances. 

Also, prepare a small first aid kit for everyday boo-boos, including medications for headaches, fever, allergies, antiseptic cream, and bandages.


Stay connected and stay productive with your essential gadgets:

  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Unlocked cell phone (important for getting a Canadian SIM card)
  • Portable charger
  • Camera

Just double-check that your chargers are compatible with Canadian outlets. Type A electrical outlets are the most common, with two parallel flat pins, while type B outlets are similar but also have a third-round pin.

Travel tip: To make your life easier, get a power strip before you leave your home country. This way, you'll only need one adapter for the power strip, as all your chargers will work with it.


Cash is becoming a thing of the past in Canada, so be prepared to go cashless. Visa and Mastercard are accepted almost everywhere, while American Express is a bit less common.

With your international student visa, setting up a bank account in Canada should be a breeze. Services like Wise can also come in handy for transferring funds from your home country to a Canadian account.

Keeping some cash on hand, around $250 CAD, is still recommended for those initial expenses upon arrival.

Your Sanctuary in Canada Awaits

Make your new home in Canada a space that reflects you. Bring along some special snacks, framed photos of loved ones, traditional recipes, or simple objects filled with memories to ward off homesickness and infuse your space with warmth and familiarity. After all, creating a welcoming home is essential to feeling comfortable in your new student life abroad.

Finally, consider packing items that reflect your hobbies and interests, such as sports equipment, musical instruments, or cooking supplies.

Last-Minute Tip: Travel Light, Travel Bright

Before you jet off, review your airline's baggage restrictions. It will be your secret weapon against last-minute surprises, like those annoying excess baggage fees.

By the way, you can always purchase most of the following items upon arrival in Canada, so there's no need to stress about packing everything under the sun:

  • Pillows, sheets, duvet, towels
  • Household cleaning products and kitchen utensils
  • Clothes suitable for all seasons to adjust your wardrobe as needed
  • Except for a few specific spices, most food items can also be purchased at the grocery store

Travel with Peace of Mind During Your Studies in Canada

As an international student, make sure to get a quote for your travel insurance with soNomad to enjoy affordable coverage for your studies in Canada.

Get Covered With soNomad Today!

Ready To  Save On Your Travel Insurance!

We’re ready to help right now! Get a quote and travel with confidence