12 tips to help you move your child to university – with less stress

Getting ready to drop your kids off at university for the first time? Feeling a bit worried about the whole thing? Here are 12 tips to make the whole moving process easier, simpler and less stressful. 

Let’s be honest, dropping your kids off at university for the first time is one of the biggest days of your life as a parent. It’s both exciting and heartbreaking; amazing to see them embarking on the next stage of their life, but it’s tough as your baby has grown up and is leaving home!

It’s a pretty stressful process too as there’s so much to plan and get ready. And then there’s the prospect of the potentially long and expensive drive across the country, all the traffic to battle through, the cost of the fuel and helping them physically move into their new student accommodation. 

So to help make your move a little easier, and much less stressful, we’ve put together 12 tips for packing and moving your kids to university. 

1) Check what is provided in accommodation 

The first thing you need to know is exactly what is included with their student accommodation. If you’ve booked accommodation in halls, you may find there is some basic kitchen equipment already provided, such as a kettle, toaster, iron, ironing board, dust pan and brush and vacuum cleaner.

All good so far. But that means you’ll need to bring your own pots and pans, plates and cutlery, etc. If you have a kitchen appliance your teens like to use, such as a blender or air fryer, you’ll need to get those too.

If they’re moving into private rented accommodation they may need the same kind of basic stuff. If they already know their new housemates, it might be worth getting them to set up a WhatsApp group and deciding who’ll bring what, so they don’t end up with six kettles and no toaster!

2) Check what you can’t take with you

Most university halls have a list of electrical equipment they don’t allow you to bring, so check this too before you lug things halfway across the country only to take them back again.

Here are some of the items halls often won’t allow:

  • Electric heaters
  • Electric blankets
  • Air conditioning
  • Humidifiers
  • Mains powered fairy lights
  • Candles and incense sticks
  • Deep fat fryers
  • Mini fridges

3) Make a list of what you need to buy

Now you know what’s provided with student accommodation and what you can’t take with you, it’s a good idea to make a list of what to bring, and what extras you’ll need to buy. Consider whether you want them to take items from home, or you’d prefer to buy them new items specifically for university. 

Here’s what they’ll need for their student bedroom:

  • Duvet and duvet cover
  • Fitted bottom sheet
  • Pillow(s) and pillow cases
  • Bath and hand towels
  • Bath mat
  • Coat hangers
  • Laundry basket

You may decide to order all items to be sent to you in advance so you can take them with you on the move-in date. Or you might prefer to have them delivered to the accommodation once they’ve moved in. 

Top Tip: Bring a doorstop with you for the move. Most university halls have fire doors, which are a complete pain to keep open when moving in and out of rooms.

4) Plan what to pack

As well as practical items, new students will need to take clothing, toiletries and personal items with them. Encourage yours not to bring their entire bedroom from home and plonk it in their new student accommodation – they’ll just end up with a cramped, messy room. 

Instead, suggest they only bring what they know they will need or use [hard, we know!]. 

So maybe sit down together and plan this with a list to make sure nothing gets missed. And if they do forget things they later want or need, you can ship them using services like BOXDIT [see the last point] as they can move everything from one small box to several big ones. 

5) Plan your route

If you’re driving them to uni (especially for the first time), then plan your route carefully. Use a travel planner, even if your car has satnav, as they can often contain out-of-date info. Travel apps like Waze or even Google maps are much better as they’re continually updated with live traffic data and driver information.

Also a good idea to invest in a phone charger for your car so your mobile is always topped up.

You’ll need to think about where to stop for food and fuel there and back. And if it’s a really long drive, whether you’ll need to stay overnight after dropping them off. Obviously that comes with extra cost and you’ll need to take more time off work, but it might be the safer bet. 

6) Plan your parking

Once you get to their new student accommodation you’ll need to find somewhere to park and unload your car. If they’re in halls they may give you set drop-off times, but if they’re in the city centre you may find parking tricky (and expensive!) so it’s worth planning this before you leave too. 

7) Find a local supermarket

It’s a good idea to check local supermarkets in advance. Most parents like to leave their kids with ready stocked kitchen cupboards, and some little touches to make their new room feel like home. So finding a nearby supermarket with parking will, again, eliminate one more decision needed on what might be an emotional day for you all. 

8) Create a student survival pack 

As well as considering what items your child will need as they begin their new life as a student, you might want to create a survival pack for them. This is often half practical / half treats to remind them of you and their family when they might need it. 

Here are some items parents often include in a survival pack:

  • Hangover remedies
  • Emergency tea bags/coffee
  • Pot Noodles
  • Condoms
  • Emergency £20
  • Face wipes
  • Painkillers
  • Chocolate
  • Pack of cards
  • Vitamin tablets

Also, make sure they have important phone numbers written down somewhere – including your own – in case they lose their phone. 

9) Check your car is roadworthy

This may sound obvious, but if you have a long journey ahead of you, check your car is up to it. Have any warning lights come on recently? Has it been serviced within the past year? Are the tyres safe? Oil and water levels okay? And do you have breakdown cover? The last thing you’ll want is to spend hours stuck on a motorway hard shoulder. 

10) Start packing

As the day approaches, you’ll want to get a head start on packing. Your kids may need some encouragement to start (!), so check they’ve got it in hand well in advance. 

Also consider whether you have enough bags or boxes for everything. If you’ve already planned what to take, you should have a checklist ready to go, which will save you time. 

Labelling boxes is so important when packing and moving to university too, as you’ll then know exactly which items are in what box (for example, a box for kitchen supplies and one for bedroom decorations). Not doing this creates the extra stress of having loads of boxes and no idea what’s in any of them. 

Tip: When packing, one handy tip is to roll up items of clothing, rather than folding them. This will help maximise the space you have, and fit more into your boxes or bags. It also means your child can take more with them. 

11) Pack your car

The day before you leave, if possible, pack up your car. This gives you the opportunity to check everything fits, and make decisions on what to leave behind or send later. This isn’t a scenario you want just before you set off on a long and emotional journey!

Remember to leave space for your overnight bag, if you are staying, and any extra day bags. Plus make sure everyone has enough room to be comfortable on the long journey too. Tempers can easily fray after hours crammed in a car with little leg room, especially if you get stuck in a traffic jam. 

12) Use a service like BOXDIT

Probably our biggest, easiest, cheapest and least stressful tip for moving your kids to university is… don’t do it at all! Let the experts do all the hard work instead. 

Why spend all that money on fuel, motorway service food and overnight accommodation? Why sit there arguing because you’re sweltering in traffic for five hours? Or stress about finding parking in an overcrowded city centre? And why put your back out lugging all those boxes out of your car when you arrive at uni? 

The answer is, you don’t need to do any of that. Brilliant companies like BOXDIT will handle the entire move for you from pick-up to drop-off (and they have organised super low prices from DHL and UPS that you can’t find anywhere else). 

Here’s how their simple online service works:

  • Go to BOXDIT.co.uk, select your pick up date and order your boxes (and packing tape) if you need them (using BOXDIT’s handy calculator)
  • They’ll deliver your boxes and tape so you can pack your stuff
  • BOXDIT collect the boxes from your home 
  • BOXDIT delivers the boxes at your chosen accommodation address 

BOXDIT picks up and delivers the next working day anywhere in the UK mainland. It’s also a sustainable company (their boxes and packing tape are all recyclable and the companies they work with are using more and more hybrid and electric vans) and they give you £250 insurance on your boxes, for free.

You can even upgrade the insurance if you want.

This really is simple, easy and hassle-free moving.

So now you can sit back and let BOXDIT do all the work. Or if you still want to accompany your kids to university to see their new accommodation and say goodbye, you can do it without having to pack everything into your car. 

But the whole moving experience will be much smoother and less stressful without you having to drag the entire contents of their bedroom with you! 

And remember, after you’ve dropped them off once they’ll want to stand on their own feet. So they can use BOXDIT in the future when they want to come home for Christmas or half-term, or even to move into new accommodation off campus.

Say goodbye with a smile

If you have accompanied your child to university, the time will come when you need to say goodbye and leave them to start their new student life alone. 

This is likely to be an emotional moment for you, but try not to show it. Your child will be excited about starting university life so try and be happy for them. Besides, they’ll probably be keen to meet their housemates and explore their new surroundings without you there! 

They might be feeling nervous about leaving home. If they are, be positive and remind them of all the exciting things they have ahead and all the new friends they’ll meet. Reassure them that you’ll be happy for them, that you’re there for them and say goodbye with a smile..

If you are feeling teary, remind yourself that they’ll soon be home for the holidays with a huge bag of washing, ready to eat their way through your fridge and make a mess again!

Don’t move your kids to university – let BOXDIT do it for you. Find out how easy it is move here.