Semester Abroad Packing Guide 

 

So, many of you know
I spent my semester abroad in Florence, Italy – the second best city in the world. (Boston will always be my number one❤️)

When I was getting ready to leave around this time last year I was constantly researching packing lists and each one was pretty similar but none really helped. So I asked girls from school who studied abroad the semester before me and they all said, don’t overpack~ only bring what you’ll actually wear~ leave one suitcase almost empty. Well as you can imagine, I did the opposite of all those tips and not only did I stress myself out when traveling heavy but I also was drowning in baggage charges, had no room for the things I bought abroad, and I had to buy two extra suitcases when I was coming back to America which the airline charged me about 400 euros for. #SadFace


So, here are some tips on packing, and a packing guide I wish I had a year ago! 

Packing Tips:

-Leave one suitcase 90% empty. (Or split your clothes up between two so you don’t have to worry about exceeding the weight limit and each will be about half empty. Weight limit –  usually 40 lbs.)

-Only bring things you know you’ll wear a lot, and can pair with many different pieces.(Anyways, Europeans think less is more when it comes to fashion…think like them!)

-Pick a few of your most fabulous peices you can’t live without…leave the rest behind. You’ll find plenty more in Europe.

-You’re going to shop. I was in Zara almost everyday after class. The Florence Zara store is just everything. (This is why you’re leaving your bags empty…you’re welcome.)

-Don’t bring shampoos, conditioners, lotions, body wash, ect. You can buy all toiletries there.

Packing Check List: 

 

Clothes:

  • 2 Baithing Suits
  • 2 Pairs of Shorts 
  • 2 Pairs of Jeans
  • 2 Pairs of Alternate Pants (leather, palazzo pants, ect.)
  • 1 Pair of comfy leggings
  • 3 Day Dresses or Skirts (for everyday wear) 
  • 3 Night Dresses or Skirts (for going out, dinners, ect.)
  • 2 Sweaters 
  • 4 Casual Tees or Shirts 
  • 6 Blouses (your favorite shirts) 
  • 4 Favorite Peices of your choice 
  • 1 Coat or Jacket of your choice (ex. Blazer, military, bomber, Jean)
  • Leather Jacket (I bought mine in Italy, I highly recommend it)
  • Parka 
  • Winter Coat (I also bought mine there) 
  • 1 spring/summer cardigan 
  • 1 fall/winter cardigan 
  • Workout Wear (if you plan on exercising)

 

Shoes

  • 1 Pair of Running Sneakers 
  • 2 Pairs of your favorite everyday sneakers or slip ons (ex. Converse, Adididas, Vans, Sperry’s , etc) 
  • 1 Pair of Flats 
  • 1 Pair of Sandals 
  • 1 Pair of Flip Flops
  • 1 Pair of Booties (that will go with everything) 
  • 1 Pair of Heels (that are comfortable and easy to walk in…Europe is all cobblestone) 
  • 1 Pair of Fall/ Winter Boots

Accessories:

  • 2 Pairs of Sunglasses 
  • 1 school bag (I used a big over the shoulder bag that fit my books and laptop but also buckled.)
  • 1 cross-body satchel (that either locks or zips)
  • 1 belt 
  • 1 Fall Scarf 
  • 1 Winter Scarf 
  • 1 Hat of your choice
  • Headband or Headwrap 
  • 1 Travel Bag (Either a small suitcase or a duffle) 
  • A watch
  • A statement necklace
  • A handful of your favorite rings
  •  A few of your favorite pieces from your jewelry box

 

Toiletries:

Like I said, buy it there!! Unless you have products you just can’t imagine living without, don’t stress the products. Here are a few things I did however take with me, and I was glad I did.

  • Dry Shampoo
  • Brush
  • Argan Hair Oil
  • Heat Protectant 
  • Alba Face Wash and Face Mask
  • Face Moisturizer 
  • Acne Spot Treatment
  • MY MAKEUP (and backups of products I knew I would need more of)
  • Advil and Tylenol 
  • 4 Month Supply of any Prescribed Medicine I thought I may need. (They have pharmacies but I felt more comfortable getting all that kind of stuff through my doctor at home before I left!) 

 

Everything Else:

  • All Identification

(School I.D., Drivers License, Passport, Visa, ect.)

  • At least 3-5 copies of all documents.
  • Cash

(USD and Currency of Destination)

  • Debit Card and Travel Card

(I recommend Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card, you get rewards for traveling and there aren’t any fees for using your card out of the States)

  • Electronics: Phone, Laptop, Camera

(and the chargers and cases that go with each)

  • Adaptors

(you can get them there)

  • Locks for your Suitcase when traveling and while at home

(I never traveled without my luggage locked up and even when I was in my apartment I kept all my cash and documents in my suitcase under my bed locked up) 

  • Headphones

 

  • Journal

(It sounds cliche but get a journal. Go to home goods and pick out a pretty one  and write in it everyday. Write your feelings, experiences, good days, bad days, JUST WRITE. You’ll thank me and yourself later.)

  • Folder

(One that clips. Keep your original documents and multiple copies of each in this.You should always keep copies on you when out and about…never take your actual passport unless traveling. This folder should be locked up when you’re not using it)

  • A few small things for your room that makes you happy and think of home.

(ex. pictures of friends, family, pets, places…a little statue or trinket, a favorite blanket…anything you want)

 

Now just remember this is an overall packing guide. Some of you may not need all of this, some of you may need more – but like I said, I wish it was the packing guide I had.


If you don’t have a few of the items on the list, I recommend buying it there! I bought my leather jacket, winter jacket, jeans, parka, and many other peices in Florence!

P.S. Think fabulous, think simplicity! Europeans have a few great peices that they work in many ways! Leave comments and questions below! 

~Michaela 

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