How to Pack for Studying Abroad When You’re a Fashionista

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hi everyone! I’m officially less than a week away from my 4 month adventure to Florence, Italy. It came SO fast. I’m currently preparing to pack my suitcase for studying abroad, something I’ve been dreading ever since I made the decision to go abroad. I’ve read articles on articles and an absurd amount of packing lists since October and there really is no perfect answer on what to specifically bring when studying abroad. And considering I’m a fashion major and don’t even like wearing the same outfit twice, I knew packing would be extra difficult for myself.

Many articles I had read advised how to navigate packing everything you need into one suitcase, but given my obsession for clothes I knew that was not a possibility for me. I am bringing 2 suitcases and paying the extra $$ to bring it because it will be worth it for me because the amount of stuff I want to bring and buy when I’m there. I started the packing process by starting off with the warmer weather clothes that I don’t need at home right now. There was a couple bathing suits and dresses I had purchased recently to wear when I’m abroad (I plan on going to the Greek Islands for my spring break which inspired a lot of resort outfits!) so I started with that. Then I packed the summer staples that I repeat each year: like your favorite go-to pair of jean shorts, the white tank that matches everything, etc.

 Almost every article I had read about studying abroad in Europe wrote that packing heels/wedges would be a complete waste of time due to the amount of walking and cobblestone streets you’ll be walking on. I packed mostly boots, close-toed shoes, and tennis shoes since most of the time I am there will be weather under 60’s and then I packed a few sandals that go with everything. Thank god mules/slides and fashionable sneakers (such as these that I have purchased in the color Light Cyclone for my time abroad!) are in style right now! I packed one pair of wedges that are super comfortable and that I wear all the time for vacations. Shoes was the hardest for me since they are my weakness and I’m attached to each pair, I just wanted to bring them all! Regardless of whatever country you are going to, you will be doing a ton of walking. Think about it, you won’t have your car and your feet are your only way of transportation to class, sightseeing in the city you’re staying in, dinner, etc, unless you plan on renting a bike. I kept this in mind when packing shoes and made sure to only pack the shoes that I know I can last hours in. Thankfully I work retail and know the pain of walking around all day in boots that kill so this was easy to eliminate what to not bring!

When packing, I tried to think of the outfits I would be wearing there. You’ve probably already been told that you will stick out like a sore thumb if you plan on strolling the cobblestone streets of Florence in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Italians dress presentable, even at the airport. This was not really a problem for myself since I am attending fashion school over there, but it is definitely something to keep in mind for traveling. A lot of the stuff I packed were items I could layer and re-wear making different outfits - a lot of basic cardis and tees with some statement jeans/skirts!

Specific items that I purchased for this next semester of travel were vacuum sealer bags for my suitcase, a laundry bag, toiletry bag, two Europe plug adapters (1 for your phone and 1 for your laptop), a travel wallet, portable iPhone charger, and empty travel size bottles for shampoo and conditioner. I also read that rain boots are a necessity for spring in Europe since it will rain a lot. A tip that I had read previously is to not bring anything that you don’t wear currently, which helped me a lot. There’s a lot of things I have saved thinking “oh this will look great in Italy!”, but realistically I will probably wear it one day, take a picture in it, and never wear it again, therefore leaving this item at home. Bring minimal accessories since they are a hassle and you’re more than likely to be buying some overseas. And of course, my Fitbit was a must since I wear it everyday and will be walking around all day everyday so it will be cool to see how much exercise I’m actually getting! Drinking protein powder is a necessity for me and I did research on supplement stores in Florence and it doesn’t look like a reliable options. I plan on buying individual packets of protein and putting some of the protein I already have in a ziplock for once in a while because I hardly get any protein in food since I am such a picky eater.

If anyone has any tips for myself, please comment below!

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