Packing Smart for a Semester Abroad

By Victoria Robertson on March 9, 2020

Whether it’s your first time or your last time, packing for a semester abroad is a challenge. For one, many students opt to visit a new location, so packing for the elements can be a bit of a challenge as well, as many students aren’t all that sure what to expect.

In addition, packing for a full semester often requires more luggage than you’re able to travel with, so students are forced to cut back on the items that they bring, which brings with it the stress of ensuring you have everything that you need, but not too much.

To help you during this balancing act, here are six tips for packing smart for your semester abroad.

Photo Via Pixabay

1. Reuse Pieces

One of the biggest obstacles for may when studying abroad is overpacking. This is typically due to individuals packing a large number of pieces without the intention of reusing them. If you pack a piece that you know you’ll only wear once, you are wasting space.

Make sure you are only packing pieces that you will actually use, again and again, to ensure you’re making the most of your limited space!

2. Pack Layers

To battle the elements, and ensure you have enough variety, pack in layers. Different sleeve lengths, fabrics, thicknesses, etc. will help you to be prepared for every day without having to pack your entire closet.

Less is always more in these cases, so pack a few pants, a couple varieties of shirts and presto! You’re well on your way to packing the essentials and leaving the unnecessary items behind for when you return back home!

3. Leave Room for More

While this is definitely a challenging one, you’ll want to make sure you leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs to bring back for yourself, friends and family. How often do you go on vacation without snagging a couple items to bring back home? Exactly.

Many students don’t actually account for the items that they’ll be bringing back with them, so give yourself a designated amount of space for that purpose. Not only will you have room to bring things back home, but you’ll also know exactly how much space you have in your luggage, ensuring you don’t overspend while you’re abroad as well. It’s a win-win!

4. Bring Your Favorites

One of my favorite rules when it comes to packing is to bring your favorites with you. Odds are, you’ll be wanting them while you’re abroad, and you’ll be likely to wear these items, again and again. You return to your favorites for a reason, so having that extra comfort while abroad will only serve you well.

You don’t want to pack the entire closet here, but bring with you a few pieces that you love and you can always mix and match them to switch up your look so you don’t feel that you’re repeating the same outfit over and over again.

5. Pack Items with Dual Purpose

Another important thing to consider when packing items for study abroad trips is that you should always be using the space you have as intelligently as possible. This means you should be packing items for dual purposes.

So basically, if you need to bring a light jacket and a heavy coat, bring a coat that has an interior jacket that zips out. Also, make sure that a light jacket is weatherproof so that you have a fully functioning rain jacket on those miserable days as well.

Basically, the more you’re able to use a single item, the more useful it is for you to pack for your study abroad trip.

6. When in Doubt, Leave It

Last, but definitely not least, if you’re in doubt about an item, you need to leave it behind. Items that you need will be automatics, so those that you’re questioning should be left behind. It’s easy to convince yourself that you need something that you don’t, so don’t even allow yourself to have that conversation.

If you’re looking at something and you’re unsure as to whether or not you’ll need it, leave it behind. Worst case scenario, if there’s something that you should’ve packed, there are plenty of places in which you can purchase whatever it is you’re missing. Don’t overpack simply to avoid that issue!

When studying abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is what to pack, but more often than not, that’s what you end up dwelling on as you prepare to embark on your new adventure.

To ease some of that tension, and ensure you’re actually excited for your study abroad trip, the above six tips are a great starting point when it comes to packing smart. Just make sure you stick to these tips, pack the essentials and don’t worry! Your trip is going to be a success!

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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