Leaving home for four months to live in a new country can be daunting, but packing for those four months? Impossible.
Hyperboles aside, trying to decide what to bring for your study abroad trip is a truly difficult task. Dealing with limited space, multiple seasons, and various countries requires a versatile wardrobe. And don’t forget the ridiculous baggage fees which leaves your wallet begging you to forget your heavy shoes at home.
While I am a textbook over-packer, here are some of my tricks for packing efficiently yet stylishly for study abroad.
- If you haven’t worn it in the last six months, leave it at home. That adorable dress you bought on sale that has been hanging in your closet with the tag on it? There is probably a good reason why you have not donned it in public yet, and you definitely
will not find the opportunity to wear it abroad. Instead, save room in your suitcase for a new adorable dress that you find while traveling.
- Put everything you want to bring on your bed. Then put half of it back. A tip from my study abroad advisor Ali, this one is true. By visualizing everything you want to bring, it is easier to edit clothing choices to the essentials. You need a lot of extra socks and underwear; you probably don’t need 10 different shoe options for the clubs.
- Remember that you can’t have a magical bottomless bag, so don’t bring your entire bathroom with you. Everywhere you go will have stores where you can pick up essentials, so you don’t need to pack EVERY last thing that you could possibly need. Unless you use some exotic cream that can only be found in your hometown, buy the bulk of your toiletries when you arrive.
- Remember the essentials. Travel documents, chargers, medications, a coat, and good walking shoes are among the truly essential things to bring. Don’t go overboard on hypothetical outfit choices and leave no room for the basics. You’ll want your essentials over that Forever 21 dress every time.
- Make a lot of lists. There is no doubt that things will be left behind in the packing process. But making a list of everything you’ll need and checking it over and over will help give peace of mind, and prevent middle of the night meltdowns when you realize you left your favorite pair of jeans at home.
Packing won’t be easy, but follow these tips and hopefully you’ll be able to pass as a regular jet setter.