What I wish people had told me about….

PACKING.With our tips, this won't end up being your suitcase!

While your study abroad experience may be 3, 4, or 5 months away we all know that packing can be a daunting experience. Exactly how are you supposed to fit your entire life (not to mention 26 pairs of shoes) in 1 or 2 suitcases? By the time that you get around to doing this task you may be worrying about so many other things, such as “Are my language skills up to par?”, or “Will my host family like me?”, that packing will be left up to the very last minute. To help you avoid the stress here are a couple of tips to help you pack like a pro…

  1. Exploring your host city is going to be one of the very first things you do! Make sure you have a pair of comfortable, thick-soled shoes or you (and your feet) will be sorry later
  2. Leave your most prized possessions and valuables at home for the time while abroad. Chances are you are not going to have a safe place to store them
  3. Beware of cobblestones (especially people studying in Europe)! While aesthetically beautiful they have been known to ruin a fancy pair of heels in record time
  4. Leave space in your bag to bring home souvenirs, new clothes, memorabilia etc.
  5. Make sure you bring enough of your prescriptions with you to last you the entire time while you are abroad- most of the time it will be difficult to get these refilled in a foreign country
  6. In most parts of the world, sweatpants are not appropriate attire for any type of activity. Period. Maybe save some space in your suitcase by leaving these at home
  7. Think about all those electronics you can’t live without- cell phone, Ipod, camera, laptop? Well, all of these won’t work if you don’t have the correct power adapters/surge protectors for the country you are studying in. We recommend purchasing  these while still stateside in order to alleviate stress whilst abroad
  8. Bring things with you that will make traveling while abroad easy & efficient- this means shampoo and body wash refill bottles, travel size toiletries, and, my personal favorite, an REI pack towel. Many hostels won’t provide you with towels and this one folds into the size of a half sheet of paper.
  9. Try and purchase things such as toiletries, hair dryers, school supplies and towels in your host city. Many of these items can add bulk to your suitcase, and can just as easily be found abroad for a relatively inexpensive price
  10. Wear bulkier items of clothing on your flight. Trust me- rain boots take up a ton of room in your suitcase
  11. Bring articles of clothing that can be layered and combined- this will save some space

Lastly, look back at all of the past vacations you took and realize how many of the clothes you brought you never actually ended up wearing. Study abroad will be a lot like this! Bring the necessities and buy cool stuff abroad!


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