Your Honest Guide to Packing for Europe

Caroline Meza
January 20, 2018

The moment you open your closet and begin to start packing can be extremely overwhelming. Especially if you've never been to the country you are about to spend 4 months in such as my self.

I have come up with a list of items that I wish someone had told me to pack in order to save myself a few trips to the store as well as a little money when first arriving. If you have the extra room in your suitcase, I would definitely recommend throwing in these items:

· A small duffle- This is for weekend trips. Once I already arrived in Barcelona, I received an email from the airline that I booked my Dublin trip through that all carry on bags must be able to fit under the seat in front of you. I only brought a carry on suitcase that will definitely not fit under the seat in front so I am forced to either pay to check a bag or buy a duffle. Bring one!

· Reusable water bottle- You will spend more than you expect to on water, so this is definitely a good idea. IES Abroad has a water fountain so you can always fill it up on days you have class, plus the tap water is safe to drink here.

· A towel (or 2) - I am staying in an apartment and while they are provided, we did not receive ours for a week and only one is provided per person. A lot of my friends threw an old one in their suitcases so they did not have this problem and if your housing ends up providing more than one, you can always use the one you brought as a beach towel. An old towel is also something you can leave behind to make more room in your suitcase for the trip home.

· Set of sheets (twin size)- This is another thing that doesn’t take up too much room and better safe than sorry. I am not sure about home stays or dorms, but in the apartments you are only provided one set. Dryers are not very common in Europe so washing them can be a little difficult because they take more than a day to hang dry.

· Minimum 3 adapters- Think about how many plugs you use at home. Phone charger, computer charger, hair dryers/straightners for girls, camera charger. Like I said, better safe than sorry, and they are so small.

· Medicine- If you are like me and get sick often, stock up on medicine at home! There are many pharmacies here; however, the pharmacists don't always speak English and the labels are all in Spanish. If there are a few over the counter medications you know that you use often such as Advil, Tums (the food can be hard to adjust to at first so highly recommend a good amount), eye drops, cold medicine, Emergen-C, etc.

· Photographs- These don’t take up any room and its nice to have a little piece of home with you. Its also difficult to find someplace to print them and not something you’re really thinking about doing or wanting to spend money on. It helps make your apartment a little homier.

· School supplies & an organizer- It is super easy to threw in one or two notebooks and if you are a plan freak such as myself, your 2018 planner from first semester, in your carry on backpack. I went to three different school supply stores looking for a normal notebook and finally settled for graph paper because for some reason, people here do not seem to use lined paper. An organizer is very helpful to have in order to plan ahead for tests, important deadlines and trips.

· Laundry bag- This seriously takes up no space at all and if you don’t bring one, you will most likely end up using a plastic bag for the first couple weeks (yes, guilty). It isn’t horrible but also is very easy to just bring one.

· I have bad news for the Peanut Butter lovers and Ranch enthusiasts: these are two items I have yet to find in the supermarkets here. If you seriously cannot live without them, throw a bottle in, no one is judging. I have talked to so many people who have admitted to bringing their own.

Like I said, all of these items can be left behind for the trip home. So if you have these things lying around at home, I know I personally did, it can't hurt to bring them along.

As for traveling, all of the things I brought were also offered on the plane such as a travel pillow, eye mask, headphones, and I didn’t bring one but they gave out blankets. If you are trying to save space, check on the airline's website to see if these are offered so you do not have to bring your own. Also, if you are packing a scarf I would definitely recommend wearing in on the plane because it acted as another pillow/blanket (great decision). I didn't bring any snacks on the plane which was a huge mistake because we were delayed and I slept through the first meal once we were in the air, so definitly bring a granola bar or some chips! It is a longggg flight and everything at the airport is more expensive.

And if you forget anything, it really is no big deal. You can find almost anything you need, it might just be a little harder to find or different than you are used to at home. But hey, that is what this semester is all about!

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs

Caroline Meza

<p>I am a very adventurous person when it comes to traveling, trying new things, and meeting new people and I love to document my experiences. I am especially interested in fashion and entertainment. I have taken classes in both fields and gotten real life work experience. I plan to use my Marketing major to pursue a career in one of those fields.</p>

2018 Spring
Home University:
Indiana University
Los Angeles, CA
Explore Blogs