– A small weekend bag to bring with you on weekend trips – It has to be small enough to fit even the strictest airplane guidelines for carry-on bags, but large enough to hold weekend essentials.
– An adapter for outlets – So you can charge your computer and camera battery. Buy a hairdryer and hair straightener/flat iron in your new country of residence, or you run the risk of having wattage conversion issues and breaking whatever appliance you plugged in.
– Enough of your prescription medications to last you your entire time abroad – It just gets complicated to try to get refills, especially if there’s a language barrier, and it was just something I didn’t want to deal with (especially when I could be off doing something else). You can, however, easily get non-prescription cold medicines. I basically just went to a Farmacia near my apartment and told them my symptoms, and they gave me something equivalent to Sudafed.
– Clothes that are multipurpose
— [Comfortable] Flat boots are great for both going out and exploring/walking around
— Jeans that wear well, are comfortable, and are cute are great for everything. These
are great to wear for weekends away.
— A rainjacket was very helpful for me, as it rained a lot in Madrid when I was there.
— A light jacket – At least in Spain, everyone wore light jackets. Some were trench-
ish but cuter, and some were leather or pleather jackets. You can also choose to
hunt for these items while you’re abroad, as they’re all super cute.
— Light sweaters – great for layering
— Scarves – Europeans love scarves, both when it’s cold and when it’s hot. They have
a lot of cute ones everywhere you go.
— Tight black skirt – so useful, with a variety of tops, for going out
— Comfortable heels (if that even exists) or flats that go with everything. Do not bring
a pair of shoes that only goes with one outfit.
– A cross the body bag – Petty crime such as pickpocketing is very common in Europe, and a cross the body bag that zips closed (preferably with zippered pockets inside it too) is a great way to prevent this from happening to you. But even with this style bag, still be cautious.
– Small, refillable bottles for shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, etc. to take with you on weekend trips
– Some photos of your friends and family to decorate your room
– Ziploc bags
– An old towel – These are great for traveling, since many hostels charge you for use of their towels. You could also try to find a cheap towel once you arrive in your abroad city.
– American toiletries that you can’t live without while you’re abroad – chances are they’ll be really expensive in your abroad country
– A list of your friends’ and family members’ addresses to send them postcards!
– Sneakers – Yes, you’ll look American, but you are! And you need to sightsee without blistered/aching feet.
– A small amount of the currency in your foriegn city so that when you arrive you’ll have a little bit of cash already – The exchange rates are really bad in airports, so this will give you some time to find another cash exchange place or an ATM.
– Flip flops – If you wear them around, you’ll look very American (my Spanish friends always made fun of me when I wore flip flops, but I just didn’t care… I’m pretty sure it’s only appropriate at the beach haha oops), but they’re really useful to wear in the showers at your hostel.
– Copies of your passport, visa, and credit/debit cards (both back and front). – Bring the passport copy with you wherever you go (leave your real passport in your apartment, or lock it up in your hostel if you’re traveling). Keep the credit/debit card copies in your apartment, in case your wallet is stolen, so that you can call your card companies and tell them what happened.
What NOT To Bring
– Notebooks and books – buy them there. I went to the dollar store and bought cheap notebooks and pens and notecards (to make into flashcards for studying) and these things were perfect.
– Shampoo and conditioner and shower stuff – Just buy it there, unless there’s a specific kind you really can’t live without.
– Clothes or shoes that only work with one outfit – it’s just a waste of space
– Clothes you don’t wear that often, even if you think you will while you’re abroad. Chances are, you won’t.
– Tons of workout clothes – even if you work out a lot, you really only need one each of things like sweatshirts and
– Your own hair straightener and blowdryer – it’s just not worth the risk of blowing them out due to wattage conversion problems.
– Your favorite foods – This is a waste of space. Chances are you can find something similar there. Besides, you’re there to try new foods and experience new things!
– A huge puffy jacket, unless you’re going somewhere that will be freezing cold for a large portion of your time there. – It takes up a lot of space. Instead, I wore a peacoat with a scarf and gloves, and layered, and kind of just sucked it up haha
– Too many shoes – just bring your most useful and multipurpose and comfortable (this is especially important) pairs, and you can go shoe shopping if you really need another pair.
– Anything that either takes up too much space or weighs too much