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Durham University

Global Durham

What to bring

What to pack in your hand luggage

When you arrive in the UK, you will need to have certain things to hand in order to get through security and immigration smoothly. We recommend that you carry these things in a small bag, separate to your packed luggage to make it easier to access them. This includes:

  • Passport
  • Flight information
  • Visa documents
  • University correspondence, including your letter of confirmation from the University
  • Insurance documents
  • Small amount of money*
  • Any valuable items
  • A book or other portable item for entertainment

*We recommend that you carry enough cash to cover you for your first few weeks at university. Do not carry more than £400 in cash in your hand luggage. You will be able to set up a bank account which can hold larger quantities of money once you arrive.

Remember, following recent regulations you are not allowed to carry any liquids over 100ml or sharp items (e.g. scissors, razor blades) in your hand luggage.

What to pack in your check-in luggage

We recommend that you think carefully about what you want to bring, because most airlines will set a weight limit for your luggage and it may be very costly if you exceed this limit. When you arrive in Durham, you may find it colder than you are accustomed to so you will need clothing appropriate for winter. However, the weather can be very changeable, so we suggest:

  • Light clothing that you can layer
  • Some warmer clothing, such as knitwear
  • A thick coat and a lighter coat, too, for the slightly warmer months
  • Boots or shoes that will withstand wet weather

You will be able to purchase scarves, hats and gloves very cheaply once in the UK.

Additional items

Other items you may find useful are:

  • A few home comforts (e.g. photographs, books, etc - although be selective!)

Electrical items

Please note: for safety reasons, electric appliance adaptors are not allowed in University residences. Please do not use your electrical equipment in the residences unless you have an undamaged British cable with a 3 pin plug, this must be stamped BS1363 to connect to the electrical supply.

Electrical equipment can only be used in university residences if connected by a UK cable. Some electrical equipment, such as computer lap tops, mobile phones etc. have separate cables for connecting to the electrical supply. It is possible to buy separate cables in the UK in order to use your electric equipment safely in your college.

The electricity supply in the UK has a much higher voltage than in some countries outside Europe. It is therefore very important that electrical appliances are used safely - an electric shock can be fatal!

Label all of your luggage with your full name, College address and, if your accommodation address is different to your College address, your accommodation address in case your luggage is misplaced.

What to purchase when you arrive

It is not necessary to purchase everything you need for university before you leave for the UK. Many things can be purchased very cheaply once you arrive from shops in Durham.

  • Stationery: including pens, notepads and folders
  • Household items: clothes hangers, plates and cutlery, bedding etc.
  • Food items: please do not bring any fresh food (meat, milk or other animal or plant products) into the country. There are regulations in place to prevent this and your luggage may be detained if found to contain any of these items. There are plenty of shops within walking distance in Durham where you can purchase food once you have arrived.
  • Course materials: you will be informed of your reading list once your course starts, so it is best to wait until you find out which books will be necessary before purchasing any. They also tend to be quite heavy and will weigh down your luggage.

View the Living Costs page for more information and advice