Learn From My Mistakes –  What to Pack for Study Abroad

Ciao Drexel! Welcome to my second blog post recounting my time in Rome, Italy. This week I’m going to be talking about the do’s and don’ts of packing for study abroad. Of course, my experience is specific to Italy but can be applied to other European countries. However, don’t stress too much. Anything you forget you can always purchase in the country you’re studying in!

DO bring comfortable walking shoes

  • I have never walked so much in my life! I’m averaging anywhere between 10,000 to 20,000 steps everyday. The highest I’ve hit so far is 30,000 steps in one day. I always thought that study abroad students were overestimating how much they walk here, but trust me, they are not! You are going to NEED shoes that are comfortable. Personally, my walk to school is up three giant flights of stairs. It’s really important to take this seriously or you’ll be sorry!
Photo from Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy. I walked 20,000 steps this day!

DON’T bring any shoes that give you blisters or are too high (heels)

  • Going along with the previous point – trust me, leave the heels at home. I didn’t want to believe that I’d never wear them, but it’s been over a month and they’ve been dusting in my closet. I actually just had a visitor here and I had her bring my heels home. Also, don’t bring any shoes that aren’t broken in yet. I learned this the hard way. Overall, just make sure that any shoes you bring are generally walkable.

DO bring an umbrella 

  • After being caught in the cold and rainy Germany weather for Oktoberfest, I can’t recommend this one more. I think this is something a lot people wouldn’t think to pack, I assumed Europe would be all sunshine. I didn’t bring an umbrella and suffered the consequences! 
Photo from Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany! It rained on us all weekend here!

DON’T bring too many leisure, athletic or pajamas 

  • Most countries outside of America don’t wear athletic or extreme leisure clothes outside the house. I know in Italy, I don’t see anyone wearing that unless they are literally about to workout. You will only wear those types of clothes in your home or at the gym, so keep that in mind. In terms of pajamas, pack lightly. You will be able to do laundry frequently they’re something that can take up a lot of room in your suitcase. 

DO bring a bag you can take on weekend trips 

  • Not all airlines include a carry on bag, and it can also be a hassle to carry luggage around on travel bags. A lot of European airlines will also charge extra for a carry on bag and only allow a personal item. I recommended bringing a backpack or any other weekend bag for a shorter trip.
Another photo from Venice, Italy. One of my many weekend trips!

DON’T bring too many of the same types of clothing 

  • This may be a given, but don’t bring 3 different black t-shirts. Try to bring a lot of staples and a lot of variety in your wardrobe. If you are questioning it, don’t bring it! Pack light, you will definitely go shopping while abroad! 

DO convert your money before you get to your county 

  • It can be a hassle to exchange money once you get to your host country. Some places can also upcharge those who they know are not native to the country. They may try to scam the tourists. Additionally, the conversion place may not be super close to your home, apartment or dorm. 

DON’T bring any hair tools from America 

  • This may be Europe specific, but most hair tools like blow dryers and blow dry brushes do not work in Europe. They will not work with a regular converter because the voltage is different in other countries. I would recommend double checking that your hair tool works in your host country before packing it. If you are really desperate, you can get a voltage converter for your product. 

DO invest in packing cubes

  • What a lifesaver. I found out about packing cubes recently and I fell in love. They make packing such a breeze and help you stay organized on trips. I would recommend getting one pack for every suitcase you bring. 

Ciao for now Drexel! Happy packing!