Thursday, August 20, 2015

How to Pack for a Semester Abroad | Travel

Hello world!

As I've mentioned before, I studied abroad in Barcelona in the fall of last year. Before I left, I freaked out about packing. I could only bring one big suitcase and one carry-on and that didn’t feel like anywhere near enough room for all the stuff I wanted to bring for four whole months. 

In the end, I was so happy that I could only bring a limited amount of clothes because I lived in a really small room and I wouldn’t have been able to live their comfortably with a bunch of big suitcases crowding the corners.

I thought I would pass on some advice for those who might be preparing to leave for the semester so you don’t get stuck with too much stuff and nowhere to put it! This list is most suitable towards people studying in a place that will stay warm for a few months, like Spain or Italy. If you’re going to Copenhagen, obviously you’ll need more sweaters than shorts!

Before we get into the list, consider this: I would highly, highly recommend leaving empty space in your bag. If you fill it to the brim, you won’t have room for souvenirs you pick up throughout the semester. And if you’re studying abroad in Europe, you won’t be able to resist buying a ton of trendy clothes.

Also, wear big, comfy clothes on the plane. I wore my biggest sweatshirt and carried my winter peacoat in my hands so I could save the space in my bag.

Check out that plane attire...definitely wasn't freaking out when this was taken!

The most complicated thing about packing for a semester abroad is the fact that you’ll most likely be traveling all across Europe (if that’s where you’re studying) and you’ll be exposed to different temperatures.  For example, I was based in Barcelona where it was really hot until around the end of November, but I traveled to Germany, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, and The Netherlands throughout the semester, and saw all types of climates!

Story time: I went to Oktoberfest in Munich at the end of September when I was still wearing shorts and tank tops in Barcelona. When I arrived in Germany, I was wearing knee-length leggings, a long sleeved t-shirt and sandals. I thought this was preparing for colder weather, but I was SO wrong. I was freezing and felt so stupid seeing all my friends in boots and winter coats. I had to buy a pair of shoes and a jacket in Munich so I wouldn’t die of frostbite!
(Also if you’re going to Oktoberfest and staying in a hostel, bring sweatpants and warm clothes to sleep in or you’ll be sorry!!)

Enough rambling...let’s get into the list!


- At least 2 weeks worth of underwear, more if you have room…doing laundry is never fun, and you might not have the kind of technology you’re used to at home
2-3 bathing suits - you don’t need more than that, I promise!
a few pairs of shorts (4 -5)
2 pairs of jeans
a few pairs of leggings
lots of socks, you will probably lose some traveling everywhere
a few long sleeved shirts
a few t-shirts - workout shirts can be worn to sleep in too! 
10 tops for class and travel
5 dresses for class and travel
5-10 outfits for going out - this is where I ended up purchasing new stuff abroad, so don’t go overboard on this.
a pair of gloves
a hat/baseball cap
toiletries - don’t go crazy, you can buy almost anything you need once you’re there
hair styling products and tools


This was the area where I had to hold myself back the most (I failed. Don’t bring a million pairs of shoes like I did.)
1 pair of boots
1 pair of sneakers
2 pairs of sandals
1-2 pairs of flip flops
1 pair of shoes for going out (you can wear sandals out when it’s still warm)
 maybe 1 pair of flats - not necessary, but nice to have something closed-toed other than sneakers and boots


a backpack for class
a drawstring backpack for the beach/travel
1-2 purses for shopping/going out
an umbrella
a passport holder - it feels so dumb to wear one of those around your waist or neck, but keep it under your clothes and no one will know…you will be SO sorry if your money/passport get lost or stolen
a wristlet - Barcelona is known for pickpockets, but it’s a huge problem in every major city, so wearing a wristlet is a good way to keep your belongings close. I wore one every time I went out and it was great because I didn’t have to wear a purse and I knew exactly where my money and phone were - right in my hand!
a towel or two
shower shoes for hostels (trust me on this one. ew.)

You can buy school supplies, an international cellphone, and most other things (if you’re in a major city) once you get settled, so don’t worry about that before you leave and don’t freak if you forget something…you probably will forget! (I certainly did)

This is definitely not an exhaustive list, it’s actually pretty basic - but it covers the major important things! I hope someone found this helpful…I know I could have used this a year ago! 

If you’re going abroad, enjoy every minute of it. You’ve probably heard that a thousand times already, but I would kill to be in your position right now. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had and I’m so jealous of anyone who’s going this year. So make the most of it!

As always, thanks for reading! Did I miss anything important? What did you pack for your semester abroad? Leave me a comment or email me at . I’d love it if you followed me on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest (I pin cool stuff, I promise). Be sure to check back soon for more posts!

Bye for now,



  1. Wow all it's perfect! Really good tips :) I have a list too and I use it when I go to holiday or even for only one night..all the essential <3 I leave you the link if you want:


  2. I always wear my comfiest clothes on a plane.. I couldn't think of anything worse than wearing tight fit clothes xox

  3. Hey, I've nominated you for the Liebster Awards because I think your blog is awesome and that other people should check it out!
    You can read more about it on my blog (it's my latest post right now but if I post something else it should be pretty easy to find!)
    I definitely recommend getting involved because it's a great way to get involved in the blogging community and make friends :) x

    1. Thanks so much! I actually did a Liebster Award post earlier this week, but I still appreciate the nomination! :) I'll check out your blog now!

  4. Christine: thank you so much for the Liebster Award nomination! I chose you as well, and know that you've been nominated multiple times so I'm sure you've answered your share of ten questions already haha. You have a beautiful blog!

    1. No problem, your blog is great! And thanks haha I appreciate it :)