The ULTIMATE Study Abroad Packing List {& tips}!

Packing for several months can be intimidating and stressful. Use these tips to ease the stress and to make sure you feel prepared for this amazing adventure! Be sure to check out my other blogs for more specifics on what you should pack for your time overseas!

The EASIEST Packing Strategy:

While packing clothes/shoes/accessories, use this VERY HELPFUL system to narrow down your choices. First do this with shoes (as they take up the most weight and space – be ruthless!), then clothes, then accessories.

Make three piles:
ONE: Items you will wear/use many times. Think at least 7 or more.
TWO: Items you will wear/use several times. Think at least 4 times.
THREE: Items you will wear/use once or twice.

Then, pack everything in pile ONE.

Still have loads of room? Go on and pack everything in pile two. Short on space? Pick your favourite items from pile two.

Finally, if you have any space left, pick your favourite items from pile three until you are out of space. If you are out of space before you reach the third pile, then you just need to let it go, sister. Those items will be waiting for you when you return!

Other General Tips

Always roll your clothes when you pack! Listen, I can’t explain the science behind this but I SWEAR you will be able to fit more stuff in your bag if you do this!

Remember the weight restrictions set by your airline! While you may have enough room to squish in another couple pairs of shoes… ensure it won’t push you over the weight limit (typically 50 pounds) because airlines can have some hefty fees! No joke, sometimes it is more expensive to be over the weight limit than it would have been to pay for a whole extra suitcase.

You may have to get around the airport or your host country with all of that luggage on your own upon arrival. Check your school’s arrival situation and make sure you can manage it or you may have to forego that extra suitcase!

Many European countries have higher voltage, which often means your hair appliances will not work. They will likely melt, even with a good adapter! Save the space and leaving your straightener/curling iron at home.

Also, if you are unlucky like me – your suitcase may get lost in the shuffle for a few days. Be prepared with the essentials in your carry on just in case:

  • Travel toothpaste and toothbrush
  • A change of clothes (including a few pairs of underwear!)
  • Any medications you need to take daily
  • Any thing else you use daily (contacts, mascara, chapstick, etc.)

A Packing List

Bear in mind I have made this list on the minimal side. If you have more room, by all means add more!

Shoes

  • Cute and comfy sneakers (ie: Converse or Keds)
  • Sturdy Sandals (ie: Chacos)
  • Shower flip flops
  • Tennies/trainers (for exercise and walking)
  • Hiking Boots
  • ‘Going Out’ Shoes (i.e.: black ankle booties)

Tops

  • 4 Cotton short sleeve shirts in neutral colours
  • 4 Cotton long sleeve shirts in neutral colours
  • 4 Cardigans
  • 3 Sweaters
  • 2 Blouses
  • 2 neutral tank tops for layering
  • 5 ‘trendy’ tops
  • 1 Hoodie
  • 2-3 tops for sleeping/lounging
  • 2 Athletic tops

Bottoms

  • 2-3 pairs of jeans (different washes)
  • Black skinny jeans
  • 3 Pairs of Shorts
  • 3 skirts (i.e.: 1 black and 1 denim + 1 other)
  • 1 pair of ‘Harem’ type pants
  • 2 pairs Leggings for lounging and exercising/hiking
  • 2 Athletic Shorts
  • 3 Pajama bottoms

Dresses

  • Little Black Dress
  • Maxi Dress that can be dressed up or down
  • Jumpsuit or a romper/playsuit
  • 1 other dress

Outerwear

  • Rain coat
  • Packable puffy coat
  • Denim Jacket
  • Packable puffy vest
  • 1 Warm hat
  • 1 pair of Warm mittens

Undergarments

  • 3-4 Bras (at least one that can be made strapless)
  • 2 Sports Bras
  • 10 – 14 pairs of underwear
  • 10 – 14 pairs of socks
  • Tights – Make those dresses and skirts last longer on the colder days!

Accessories

  • Earrings: a few simple studs, one ‘nice’ pair, and a few trendy/statement earrings
  • Hair accessories: basic hair ties, cute scrunchies, barrettes, headbands, etc.
  • Necklaces: a couple of simple necklaces, at least one statement necklace
  • Rings: 2-3 to add variation
  • Belt
  • Sunglasses (don’t forget a case so they don’t scratch or break!)
  • 2 Scarves

Other

  • Swimsuits (2 or 3 will be plenty)
  • Compact umbrella
  • 1 – 2 Converter/adapter
  • Toiletries – you can buy most things abroad! This will save you space and weight in your suitcase. However, if you are very picky about brands or specific products, you may want to bring some along or do some research. Not all countries sell the same products!

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