So, the date is approaching! Soon, you will take off to get a taste of student life in another country. The information and directions about what to do are bombarding you from every direction. Yes, it can be overwhelming, but hold on just a bit longer! It’s worth it!
One of the hardest things I had to do before going was trying to pack my entire life into a single suitcase. Well, at least that’s how it felt!
The truth is, you don’t realize how many things you use on a daily basis until the moment you are forced to gather it all up and fit it into the unforgiving airline baggage restrictions.
Thanks to my rather travel-oriented studies, I had to do this not once but around 4-5 times. So, let me give you a hand and point out the things you definitely should not take.
I promise I will keep it light (pun intended)!
1. Your Entire Closet
Yes, it’s tempting. Incredibly tempting! Especially if you are packing for more than one season. However, if there is one thing every single exchange student ever complained about, is packing way too much stuff. Remember, you will have to take it (and more) back!
So, rule number one, keep your destination in mind - weather AND culture-wise. Some of your clothing might be culturally inappropriate or completely useless in your destined climate. Do your research be it online or by questioning the returning study abroad veterans.
Rule number two, when aware that winter will be coming at some point, keep it basic. Do not take more than one coat or winter jacket. They are heavy and take up too much space (same about boots). If you can afford it, just buy a jacket wherever you are going.
As you can probably guess, the rule number three is all about keeping in mind all the clothes you will buy. Let’s not lie to ourselves! Shopping frenzy in a new country will take down even the best of us. Leave yourself room for a few new pieces!
Having your favorite shampoo, conditioner, mask, lotion, perfume, hairspray, or facial cream can add some comfort to your travels but definitely not as much comfort as weight. Unless you are using something tailored specifically to your needs, you most definitely don’t need to take every piece of toiletry, you are using at home.
It might not seem like such a big issue but, trust me, once you round it ALL up, it’s gonna take up a lot of space and probably half of your weight allowance. So, forget it! Take the very basics you might need to survive the first couple of weeks. You will buy what you need over there. In some countries, you can even get your favorite stuff for lower prices.
3. Bed Linens and Towels
Once again it might seem tempting. You would be surprised how often exchange students bring along blankets, linens, and towels. You would be even more surprised to find out how unnecessary and wasteful that really is.
Simply, they take up too much space for no good reason. Most of these things will be either provided by or included in the price your accommodation or can be purchased for next to nothing at a local store. Moreover, most countries have their own “standard” sizes of pillow and duvets - there is a great chance that whatever you bring will not fit.
If you are tempted to bring at least a cozy blanket with sentimental value, my advice is - don’t. You will regret it when you are packing to go home wishing you had Hermione's magical pouch.
4. Books & Electronics
Heavy and/or expensive! Lethal combination.
Firstly, forget about bringing along tons of textbooks, gigantic dictionaries, or an array of novels. You don’t need any of that and if you happen to be a passionate reader, get a Kindle, for instance. Books are great but not the best travel companions if their number exceeds ONE.
Next, electronics… Yes, you probably need a laptop if not for study, definitely for binging GoT or House of Cards. As with everything, the crucial step is not to overdo it. Expensive cameras, lenses, speakers, wearables… It’s quite easy to damage these goods while on the move or, unfortunately, have them stolen. Remember, no matter how safe your destination is, tourists and foreigners are always a more common target than locals.
5. Sentimental Items
Last but not least, sentimental items! This might seem like a good idea, especially if this is your first big trip. However, it’s not. Trust me. If it’s valuable, keep it safe at home. You never know what might happen. You can lose your luggage, be robbed, leak in your apartment can destroy half of your stuff… There are a lot of things that can go wrong, so it’s not exactly the best opportunity to take along family heirloom or other irreplaceable items.
Whatever it is, if it’s not of practical use, you can do a few months without it.
Want to get the chance to learn about a new culture and live in the heart of a thriving European city? Study Abroad Apartments offers some great options for students planning to live abroad. Just get in touch with us if you need any help finding somewhere to stay and we’ll make sure you have one of the best options out there!