Since my Not-So-Obvious Packing List was published, I’ve gotten a ton of feedback from readers about how helpful it was, and I’m so happy it was of help to you! I’ve decided to come up with a list of things that I thought wasn’t very necessary to bring. Because I didn’t have a list like this, I ended up resenting myself for carrying around about 20 pounds of, for lack of a better word, shit for 2 months.
It’s hard to start packing when you have a million suggestions from anyone who has ever traveled. You begin to accumulate things that just don’t even make sense to bring anymore. You started a pile of clothes that won’t really have a value once over there.
For example, when I first started packing, my clothes pile was insurmountably large and extremely unnecessary. I think I packed ten different crop tops, six club dresses and way too many pairs of heels. My friend came over to help me pack and immediately threw the majority of those clothes aside and told me to remember where I was going.
We laughed [at my stupidity] when I realized I’d be in Switzerland in early May… when it was still going to snow. Then she reminded me that I wouldn’t understand now, but that crop tops and heels were illogical to wear in the majority of the cities I was planning on visiting. I would stand out like a true touristy American if I wore it out.
Now keep in mind that both times I studied abroad were in very small cities in Costa Rica and Switzerland, and both cities required a lot of walking and not much “glam.” After discussing with friends who studied abroad in Valencia, Florence and London, they wore a bit “nicer” outfits to go out sometimes. Just remember that it’s all about where you are going and what time of year you’re going.
Here’s a very general list of “What NOT To Bring”:
1.) Heels. Just from my experience, cobblestone and heels are never good idea. I brought a few pairs of heels thinking I was going to dress up all the time in “da club”, and I never wore them once. Even when I went out the clubs in Barcelona, Prague, Florence and Frankfurt, I just never wore them. Mainly because it was 30 degrees and cute boots were much more preferable and logical. If you’re going to bring nice shoes, I suggest bringing one pair of wedges. Wedges are easier with cobblestone. If you find you really need heels, there’s usually a store nearby you can buy a pair from.
2.) Crop Tops. I had about 12 different crop tops packed before my friend told me I was being absurd. Again, it really depends on where you are located for study abroad or where you plan on traveling to, but most places I visited, I still would have felt uncomfortable wearing a crop top out. Literally. It was snowing in three of the cities I went to… But honestly, I didn’t see many crop tops being worn out to the bars or clubs aside from pictures of my friends from other FSU programs when they were all together. Not to say, they aren’t worn, and you can totally pack some, just don’t pack 12 like I was going to.
3.) Expensive jewelry/sunglasses. Please, please, I beg of you, do not bring expensive jewelry and sunglasses. Not only does this make you an easy target for pick-pocketers, but it also leaves you with a constant liability. You don’t want to lose an expensive watch or necklace or ring, and losing things is almost a given while traveling. Just be safe, and leave it at home.
4.) Curling irons and blow dryers. I have yet to talk to someone whose curling iron or blow dryer didn’t almost catch on fire when plugging it in to the outlets in Europe. It’s safer to save the room in your bag to buy your “appliances” when you get over there. Or you can just use your straightener as a one-stop shop and learn how to curl your hair with it. That’s what I did.
5.) Too. Many. Clothes. You may think you NEED that cute little summer dress, you know the one that looks nearly identical to the five others you’ve packed, but you don’t. Like I’ve stated in my previous post about packing, remember to pack outfits that you’ll wear a lot. Bringing a dress you “may” want to wear that one night you feel like dressing up isn’t worth bringing. Also, you can always buy clothes while shopping once you’re over there.
6.) School Supplies. This may only apply to a few programs, but most of my “classes” didn’t require a notebook or binder or any normal supplies. Many of my fellow travelers have said that they bought school supplies at surrounding convenient stores in their city. It’s easier than packing it and wasting space. I would bring one small journal though to jot down moments you want to capture. Its always fun to look back and read what happened.
7.) Membership Cards. Of course you need your ID, credit and debit cards and health insurance cards, but in order to not get confused or lose other cards, I would leave gym membership cards, gift cards, library cards, etc. at home. They only get jumbled up with your important cards in your wallet.
8.) Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend. While this is not from personal experience, after asking around what not to bring on your study abroad or traveling adventure, numerous people surprisingly answered me with “an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend”. It’s funny how sometimes you don’t even plan for them to be there, or you think “hey this might work because we’re in another country,” but from what I’ve witnessed and was told about, it only brings unnecessary drama. While your ex may not take up space in your luggage, he or she can certainly take up space in your heart and cloud the experience of the trip. Be smart about who you invite along with you.
Like I said before, it’s a very general list and it comes down to one very general statement. Don’t over pack, be smart about what you decide to bring and pack for the climate. Hopefully this helps you! Feel free to comment with other items you feel are unnecessary to pack!
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