Hello everybody! This week I’m off to Ibiza to enjoy some sunshine, beaches, & fiesta. So instead of my regular posting, I have a couple of guest posts lined up. This one is from study abroad site Class Abroad, and it’s all about how to pack for living or studying abroad. I liked this article because I had suuuch a hard time packing for study and living abroad. Hope you enjoy!
“Studying abroad is a great experience and the perfect addition to any college graduate’s resumé. Almost every school in the United States has a study abroad program, and as long as you are a student in good academic standing, you’re probably qualified to go. The planning alone for a study abroad trip can be tiring. First, you’ll need to fill out applications and paperwork. Then you may need to apply for scholarships or grants. You’ll also need to make travel plans.
However, there’s one more daunting task: you’ll have to pack! Packing for any trip can be hard, let alone a study abroad trip. However, here are a few tips that can help make the packing portion of the trip easy and stress-free.
Pack for the Climate
The first thing you should do is research the weather of your host country. This will help you figure out what kind of clothes to pack. There’s no need to pack jeans if you are going to a warm country, just as it is pointless to pack shorts if you’ll be going to a cold country. It is always ideal to bring at least one light jacket in case the weather gets bad. Consider packing one “formal” outfit in case you end up going to a fancy event.
Also, be sure to pack a good pair of walking shoes since walking will probably be your main mode of transportation. Remember, you may want to buy clothes once you are in your new country, as styles may be different there and you’ll want to fit in. Not to mention that clothes make a great (useful) souvenir.
Jessica’s note: Um, you’ll definitely want to buy clothes in Spain! I ended up with a whole half-suitcase more of lovely Spanish outfits! I never once wore a formal outfit, but I was very happy to have comfortable shoes to walk in.
Just Say “No” to Bedding
One great way to save space in your suitcase is to see if your host school will provide you with towels, sheets, and bed linens. You can also wait until you arrive to buy these items and then donate them before you leave.
Jessica’s note: Your foreign bed may also be a non-standard size in your home country so your sheets won’t fit anyway. Just skip the bedding.
Save on Laundry
Pack lots of socks and underwear since they’re small, lightweight, and will save you laundry time.
Roll, Don’t Fold
If you roll your clothes instead of folding them flat you’ll make more room in your suitcase.
Jessica’s note: Here are even more tips for packing your suitcase efficiently!
As far as toiletries, if you have specific favorites, bring them. Otherwise, you can buy them in your new country. If you’re bringing toiletries, you can buy a separate toiletries bag to attach to your suitcase.
Jessica’s note: I like deodorant and toothpaste from the U.S. Of course, Spain has these too – they’re just different.
Most people can’t live without their computer. A lightweight laptop is always a good idea, and it can function as your music player and your free phone (think Skype). Even with a computer, bringing your cellphone is also a good idea, even if you only use it when you arrive home in the airport.
Jessica’s note: International cell phone plans are expensive, but I had one for the first day or two just in case anything went wrong.
If you’re wondering about how to unlock your phone in Europe, here’s a guide for how to do that.
Always bring any medications you’re currently taking. Take them in your carry-on in case your luggage is lost.
Another important thing – keep track of the weight of your suitcase so you can avoid extra fees for overweight load. You can also make use of your carry-on bag. Fill it with your electronics and other odds-and-ends that won’t fit into your suitcase.
Jessica’s note: If you’re in Europe, pick a carry-on that fits Ryanair’s cabin requirements.
Edit, Edit, Edit
Once you have packed, go back through your luggage with a ruthless editing eye. Do you really need that shirt that you never wear, but you might want to wear? Do you really need four pairs of shoes? Remove things that you don’t absolutely need. You will thank yourself later when you need that extra room for souvenirs.
Jessica’s note: YES! I brought tons of stuff when I studied abroad, but it turned out I was definitely not immune to the lures of Zara and Mango. And hey, if you under-pack, it’s a great excuse to go shopping… 😉
Packing can be a nightmare , especially since you have to limit yourself to one suitcase unless you want to pay extra. Paying extra may not fit into your budget, so it is always good to know how to pack smartly. By following these simple tips you can save yourself time, money, and headaches.
Amanda Perkins writes and edits the Study Abroad website ClassAbroad.com. She enjoys traveling, learning, and writing.”
If you’ve ever lived or studied abroad, what are your top tips for packing? What things should you bring? What things should you definitely leave at home?
P.S. Have you liked Hola Yessica’s new Facebook page yet? I’ll be eternally grateful if you do.