Cultural Experience | Packing Lists

Packing Tips for Any Kind of Trip

Travel Suggestions You’ll Be Glad Someone Told You

Packing – even hearing (or reading) the word stresses me out. Trying to fit everything into a single bag, making sure you don’t forget something, having to leave some of your favorite items behind…It’s all a mess.

Whether it’s for a weekend or for a year long trip, I’m guessing that no person enjoys packing. I personally dislike it so much that I made the educated decision to start loading up my suitcases for my study abroad program the day before I left, which if you can guess, I probably wouldn’t recommend. I did try to plan ahead of time – before my departure I asked countless people their opinions on what to bring, what to ditch at home, and so on. But after spending three months traveling around Europe, I’ve decided on what I believe are some of the most important things to remember while preparing your bag for international travel. The reality of the situation is this: packing doesn’t have to be that hard.

laura caroline flying image

What You’ll Wear:

• Keep in mind that comfortable clothes will always win. An extremely high fashion wardrobe is awesome for pictures but impractical for a long-term travel stay. Aim to find stylish but also comfortable outfits and pieces that travel well (light weight, don’t wrinkle easily).

• Bring lots of basics and items that can mix-and-match. Leave statement pieces at home. These items can only be worn one or a few ways and will just take up space in your suitcase. A couple small accessories, such as a scarf or a pair of earrings can help change up your everyday looks.

• Don’t bring your favorite things, for two reasons:

1. Your clothes will most likely get damaged from being washed often, hardly washed at all, or either way from various clothing machines you may or may not encounter.

2. If you’re checking a bag, there is a chance it could get lost.

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My friends and I in Florence – basics, layers, and jeans were our best friends!

Tools to Save You From Potential Travel Disasters:

• Money Belt: Few things are more important to purchase in preparation for your travels than a money belt. A money belt has the ability to protect you from pickpocketing and unwanted targeting during your international ventures.

• Locks: Hostels don’t provide locks, and sometimes you will room with people you don’t know. Having the ability to lock up your luggage will give you peace of mind to explore your current destination without the worry of your things being stolen.

• Portable Charger: Whether keeping your phone or other piece of technology alive is for communication, photography, or navigation purposes, having a charger will help you stay connected and not miss documenting any of your experiences.

Microfiber Towel: Hostels usually also don’t provide towels, but you can rent them for a small fee. If you’re trying to save money, buy a quick-drying microfiber towel to use anywhere you go.

Ziploc Bags: This may seem random, but Ziploc bags are useful in many situations, such as packing snacks or separating items like a wet swimsuit from the rest of your clothes. The uses for a ziploc bag are endless.

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Other Tips for Success:

• Pack all the medicine you will need or anticipate possibly needing. Exactly what you want may not be available at pharmacies abroad, and adding in a language barrier can complicate the situation.

• You can buy most basic toiletries abroad. However, if you use a specific product you can’t live without, pack it with you.

• Bring a few snacks from home if you can. Even a granola bar you didn’t really like at home will seem super appetizing after eating foreign food for a while (not that you won’t be eating incredible food – but having a few small comforts from home can be nice).

• Every bag you bring, especially your purse, needs to be able to zip closed. Bags that aren’t completely secure are a pickpocketing situation waiting to happen.

• Make sure you can carry your bags by yourself. Especially if you want to travel alone, you need to be able to move your luggage and avoid relying on strangers to help you.

Packing is a major component of travel preparation, but with careful planning and quality selection of your items, packing can go from a stressful annoyance to an efficient routine. Just remember this reality: packing doesn’t have to be that hard.

Packing Tips for Any Kind of Trip

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Laura Caroline Gingrich

University of Washington | 9 stories

Laura Caroline is a Communications major at the University of Washington in Seattle. She spent the spring of 2016 studying in Rome, Italy and completely fell in love with Europe. Laura Caroline is passionate about photography, writing, music, health & fitness, and of course, travel. In her free time she writes for her own personal blog. At home, you can find her chasing sunsets in the Pacific Northwest, doing anything and everything outdoors, and daydreaming about her next adventure.

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