A check-list and packing list of what to bring when you teach English abroad

What to bring when you teach English abroad covers the important items you should bring when you set off to teach English abroad or attend a TEFL course abroad.


You always need a passport to travel abroad. If you do not have one, apply for one right now. If you have one, make sure that it will be valid for at least six months on the day you plan to leave to teach English abroad. If your passport does not have enough life left on it, there is a good chance that you will not be allowed to travel. If your passport expires while you are away teaching English abroad, you will need to renew it in your home country’s nearest consulate in the country where you are teaching English abroad. It is always a good idea to find out where your home country’s consulate is before you travel. Here is a good source of consulate and embassy information.


When you know the country where you are going to teach English abroad or attend a TEFL course abroad, contact the nearest consulate for your chosen country. Find out what visas are required for entry. If you have a passport from one of these countries, it is not likely that you will need to get a visa. However, you should always check first. Source Henley and Partners.

  1. United Kingdom: allows access to 174 countries without having to get an entry visa
  2. USA: allows access to 174 countries without having to get an entry visa
  3. Canada: allows access to 173 countries without having to get an entry visa
  4. Ireland: allows access to 171 countries without having to get an entry visa
  5. New Zealand: allows access to 170 countries without having to get an entry visa
  6. Australia: allows access to 168 countries without having to get an entry visa

Travel tickets

It is always advisable to buy either a round trip ticket or a one-way ticket with a forwarding ticket out of the country. The reason is that if you try to enter a country as a tourist and the border control desk asks to see your return or forwarding ticket, you will be forced to buy one on the spot if you do not have one. This will be very expensive because you will need to pay the full airline desk price. The chances of this happening are small but not impossible. If you decide to take a chance with a one way ticket, that is your choice.

Personal documents

You may need to present a copy of your university or college qualifications. If you have one (or more), bring photocopies. If you already have a TEFL certificate, bring it with you.

Laptops and cell phone

These days, life revolves around internet mobility and communication. It is a very good idea to bring your laptop or tablet. If you have a cell phone that uses a SIM, bring it. You will find that it is cheaper to buy a pay-as-you-go card for your phone than it is to buy a new one. Unless your phone is ancient (pre-triband), it will work in most countries. If your phone is still tied to a telecom company, most countries have places that will unlock or jailbreak your phone. You will have to pay and prices vary based on the type of phone you have. Make sure you lojack (register with a GPS tracking company) your laptop, tablet and cell phone before you travel. This is essential if you want to try to locate one of these items if they are stolen. A piece of standard security advice is to password protect these items.

Health and travel insurance

It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you take out personal accident and health insurance. For more details about this, refer to our Teach English abroad health insurance advice article. It is important that you check out the country where you want to teach English abroad and make sure that you get any vaccinations that may be required.

Electrical gadgets

You will be bringing chargers, possibly a hair-dryer, electric toothbrush and other electrical gadgets you want to bring. Different countries operate on different voltages and have different types of electrical sockets. Make sure that you bring an electrical converter/adapter that will provide the correct voltage to your gadgets and plug into the wall socket.

Pre-digital bits and pieces

Even in the digital world, we still do things manually. You may also find that running your life by our relatively new digital model will not work in the country where you are going to teach English abroad. Bring scissors, a notebook, glue, pens and pencils, paper clips and a wall adhesive like Blu-tack. Do not forget to put your scissors and other sharp objects in your check-in baggage. You should also consider bringing printed material like a dictionary, thesaurus, flash cards, photos that could be used to illustrate points or provoke discussions, and any other material you think relevant to teaching English.


Bring presentable clothes for teaching and job interviews. Business suits are required at some client sites. For your personal wardrobe, check the climate of the country where you are going to teach English abroad and pack accordingly.


If you are on prescription drugs, try to bring as big a supply as you can. Also, check that you can get the prescription drug in the country where you are going to teach English abroad. If it is an underdeveloped or emerging country, do not assume that you will be able to get the drug. Check with your doctor before you travel and find out how much it will cost. Do not assume that it will be the same price as it is back home. Other medications and protection you may need are things like antacid, headache medication, Band-Aid, antiseptic, sun-block, insect repellent, water purification tablets, cotton swabs and anything else you think you may need.

Other useful items

An English to local language phrase book and/or dictionary. A travel alarm clock. This is probably no longer a necessity as most cell phones have clocks. Do not forget to bring towels and toiletries. We recommend your bring a money belt.

Looking after your passport after you arrive

  • NEVER give away your passport to anyone.
  • ALWAYS give a copy if you are asked to show your passport.
  • ALWAYS keep a copy of your passport ID page in your wallet or purse.
  • ALWAYS keep your original passport hidden away, preferably in a safe.

We may sound paranoid, but if you lose your passport and do not have the other required documentation to prove who you are, you when you go to the embassy and ask for a replacement, you are in deep trouble.

Extra advice for choosing the best countries to teach English abroad

Want to learn how to teach English from the experts?

Contact EBC for more information about our accredited English teacher training courses and job placement program.

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09:00 27 Jul 18
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Jaime Tully
08:59 27 Jul 18
John is a good teacher and he puts efforts inorder to understand your requirements. He teaches you in the right ways, like how to present the language in a simple way, how to keep the motivation on, etc.It´s a intensive course but it´s really worth !!Willam is a good administrator. Thanks for all the help and support. 🙂
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11:41 18 May 18
The course is very intensive but IT IS REALY WORTH! If you are looking for a course that teaches you how to become an English teacher, well this is the best one. You really get the better skills for teaching English at all levels with a clear knowledge about what you are doing. The staff of the course is really nice and helpful. He is a really nice person who helps you whatever you need.Teachers here at really good and they really know how to train you as a English teacher very well.
Dro !
11:24 18 May 18
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Elizabeth Wohlford
15:28 08 Mar 18
EBC Madrid had equipped me with the necessary knowledge and skills I need to be better in teaching. William is so nice and is very accommodating to us students. And, John is the best teacher who can simplify and make the students understand even the most complicated grammatical concept. Kudos!
Anne Marnelli
14:42 08 Mar 18
The course is very intensive but it helps a lot to bring out the best in me. John is an amazing teacher and he is very professional. I'm very thankful for all the guidance and help that I received from EBC. I highly recommend it.
Roxanne A.
14:42 08 Mar 18
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Pedi Dela Cruz
14:25 08 Mar 18
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Victoria Metz
10:35 02 Feb 18
I found the instruction throughout the course to be very effective and I finished the course feeling excited and prepared to begin teaching. There is nothing fancy about the EBC facility, however this doesn't in any way reduce the overall quality of the course. John, the instructor, has extensive experience (both as an TEFL teacher and a TEFL course trainer), which is evident in the thoughtful organization of the course. My class had only five students, which created lots of time for personal attention and advice. Make sure you come prepared to work hard!
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12:06 14 Dec 17
It was a great and intensive course! I learned and enjoyed this whole learning how to teach experience. Thank you very much for your time and knowledge. I feel well-prepared now. EBC Madrid, 2017.
Michele Buitron
11:57 14 Dec 17
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Natalia Egorova
15:04 10 Nov 17
The course has been really useful and the teacher, John, made the classes so much fun and very interesting. It is has been a great experience and has helped me realise how much I really enjoy teaching. It has also been a bit intense at times but I would recommend this course to anyone who would like to become an English teacher.
Natasha Jimenez
20:17 05 Oct 17
Class of August 2017.It's been a busy stressful 4 weeks but I am happy the group and I have all made it and we have TEFL certificates to show for all our hard-work and sleepless nights. Much thanks to our trainer John for his patience and ability to find solutions and guidance to help you find your way and energy throughout the course. EBC international is the best place to learn and share your knowledge of teaching. And for people like me who has no idea how to teach things like grammar and also to learn the grammar...this is the place to be!
Ashley Kabanda
11:14 31 Aug 17

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