Packing for your study abroad semester is probably one of the more daunting tasks before you hop on the plane. The number one question that I get from future study abroaders is how they should pack everything they have ever owned into one or two suitcases for a whole semester.
So here is a list of 10 things that should absolutely find a spot in your luggage:
- Prescriptions/Medicine/Small first aid kit – Make sure that any prescriptions that you will need while abroad are filled for however long you will be overseas. A lot of insurance companies will allow for a vacation override and give you several months supply of your meds. Also, make sure that you have any medicines that you like to have on hand for the common cold or just some ibuprofen for the occasional headache (hangover). And throw in some band aids and some neosporin just in case you take a tumble.
- Travel toiletries bottles – Travel sized anything is few and far between in Europe. My suggestion is to buy three or four 99 cent travel sized bottles from Walmart for weekend trips.
- Water bottle – a reusable water bottle always comes in handy rather than buying tons of waterbottles at the euro store. Reusable ones are not easily found in Europe either. Make sure that it is safe to drink the water where you are studying abroad though before you pack this item though. One with a filter is a plus!
- Socks and Underwear – You will always feel like you’re running out of these two, so I would suggest having a two week supply of socks and underwear. You also will be less inclined to do your laundry in Europe since dryers are non-existent. On that note, throw in some of those Shout Color Catchers sheets so that you can wash your darks and lights together and prevent having to do multiple loads!
- Any toiletries that you won’t be able to get in Europe – things like whitening toothpaste, facewash, specific deodorants, and tampons with plastic applicators are not something that you can run to the local pharmacy and find. If you are picky about certain products, learn to not be picky or stock up on these items before you get to Europe.
- Bag for weekend trips – I would suggest a duffel bag or carry on suitcase. Be sure that they fit the guidelines for Ryanair and Easyjet, which are two discount airlines in Europe. They can be very strict about certain items, so be sure that your bag fits those criteria.
- Student ID – Museums, art galleries, bars, and clubs in Europe tend to give lots of student discounts if you flash your student ID. Either your international or American school ID will work!
- Flash drive – Backup all of your files on your computer before you leave on a flash drive. If for any reason something happens to your computer while you are abroad, you will want to have all of those important pictures, documents, and music files stored somewhere safe.
- Shower shoes – Hostel showers are a hit or miss. It could be the cleanest hostel you’ve ever stayed in and I would still suggest having some rubber flippies to wear.
- Warm Jacket and Comfortable Shoes – Europe can be bitterly cold during the winter months in cities like Budapest, Prague, London, Dublin, etc. so make sure that you have a warm coat to keep you from getting frost bite. I would also suggest some sturdy boots that are comfortable to walk everywhere in and will keep you warm in those colder months.
A lot of items can be bought in Europe, so don’t freak out and assume that certain items are no where to be found on the continent. I will say that some are harder to find than others. For example, I couldn’t find face wash that was a brand name like Clearasil or Neutrogena until I was in Greece of all places. Packing may seem impossible, but just don’t be this girl: