How difficult was it to pack for your study abroad trip?

Question Details

I know airlines only allow a limited amount of baggage, and I am very nervous about packing! I went on a five-day trip to California this past week and I packed like three bags... so I cant even imagine packing for two weeks to another country?


Only pack the essentials. That was very hard for me the first time I went abroad, but I quickly learned when I had to pay overweight fines and throw items away while I was in the other country. Keep in mind that you will want to take back souvenirs from the host country, so you also need room for that. If you don't use an item everyday, you most likely don't need it. Your study abroad program will most likely provide a packing list of essential items, but if not, there are plenty online (Pinterest is a great starting point). I would also recommend buying a portable luggage weight (to avoid heft overweight luggage fees or having to repack things in the airport!)

Basics. Basics. Basics. I love brightly colored and patterned pieces of clothing. However, living in France and wanting to travel for weekends to week long vacations I had to acquire neutral colored tops that I could wear multiple times. Also, a scarf can make the biggest difference in a hot to cold weather climates and it can give a little flair to a basic outfit. The best thing (like Becca mentioned above), it was difficult at first but I was able to quickly learn what were the "needs" versus the "extras" in traveling. I purchased a small duffle bag with a shoulder strap and handle in order to easily carry around plus expandable for the extra items I brought back from any trips (i.e. mugs, fragile items, clothes, food). There are also lots of personal blogs from students who studied abroad that probably mentioned the essential items for certain locations.
Also, its best to avoid checking bags in order to save on money, time and weight. Good luck! :)

I packed ALL wrong and brought a lot of useless stuff -- like things to make my room more homey. I wish I hadn't, since it made traveling after my trip much more difficult. You seriously don't need much more than a few outfits, your laptop, and some travel sized toiletries (stock up once you're there)

If I were to do it again (and this is what I did when I joined the Peace Corps) would be to bring so much less -- like a duffel and a day backpack. For Peace Corps (that's two years abroad), I brought a duffel bag, a 45 L backpack, and a tote bag full of things. It was more than enough!

I wish I would've known this before going abroad for 3 months! As mentioned in the other answers, pack the basics. I know how difficult that sounds tho, plus, its even more difficult when you go abroad during the fall semester. I would say to stick to your staple pieces and neutral colors. You don't want to pack too much that you will have to pay for extra baggage, its not worth it! Bring a suitcase to check in (50lbs mostly everywhere), and a smaller suitcase as a carry-on for weekend trips. The biggest mistake I did was using a decently big tote bag for weekend trips; the bag got SO heavy and it wasnt practical when having to run across the train station and catching flights. Less is more, plus, you will want to shop abroad hehe.