Looking Back - To Pack or to Thrift?!

Elisabeth Bolton Headshot
Elisabeth Bolton
July 2, 2024

Today I’m going to be serving packing realness, because I severely under-packed for these 6 weeks, which is not the usual problem. I’m gonna be going into what you should pack specifically for the Summer Semester (as a student, not an intern!), all of my worst packing regrets, and a few cheeky thrift store recommendations!


First, I want to say: if you do not want to spend money on clothes while you’re abroad, you should bring a little more than the recommended 2 weeks’ worth of clothes, especially if you are someone who expresses yourself through your outfits. Yes, you can wash your clothes, but you’re just going to get bored of the clothes you brought with you. I started with about 2 weeks worth of clothes (maybe less since I planned on thrifting while in Europe), and about halfway through my 6 weeks here I was bored with all my outfit combinations. 


Next, my worst regret is bringing only basics. I had done some research on how people dress in Vienna and found that people supposedly only wear neutrals and are extremely modest. This is only halfway true. People do wear color here; just not super bright colors, and dressing modestly means that they only really bust out their shorts in 90 degrees Fahrenheit weather. (Also, summer has not been super hot here so plan for 70 degree weather.) Don’t abandon your favorite clothes or favorite aesthetic just to “blend in,” because I’ve seen people wearing some really fun and creative outfits here in Vienna, and it made me regret all my packing choices. Also people around college age definitely dress a little more like we dress in the US so you aren't going to get judged for wearing something like a crop top. Definitely don’t leave out the basics, but include your favorite personality pieces and dress how you are usually most comfortable and then modify if necessary. 


Shoes are the biggest battle in packing. My recommendation (and this has honestly worked out well for me) is to bring one pair of comfy sneakers, one pair of comfy sandals, and then a nicer pair of shoes. I didn’t bring any dress shoes, but if you plan on going to any events or going out to a nice dinner, sometimes they are really nice to have. I brought white Reeboks, black Tevas, and a pair of Doc Martens loafers/slides. The biggest thing is to make sure you can mix and match your shoes with any outfit and walk up to 25,000 steps in them. A plus if you plan on doing anything outdoorsy or hiking is to bring hiking shoes or trail runners, but the “hikes” that I took so far were pretty much paved paths, so I was fine with my sneakers. 


Again, I am going to recommend that you bring your personality with you. Do not bring only black and white clothes (like me) because you are going to be so bored of your outfits! Yes, technically you will blend in, but you will also be so sorry you didn’t bring your fun clothes. Start with your basics, then add your personality pieces! If you have a favorite jacket, bring it. If you have a favorite fun accessory, bring it! If you have a weird t-shirt that you love to style, pack it. Trust me, you will wear it, and no one will bother you for wearing a fun outfit. 


Finally, here are my favorite thrift/second hand stores I’ve found in Vienna. Although some of the thrifting can be a little curated and overpriced here, so I would definitely pack plenty of clothes you want to wear and not rely on finding things at second-hand shops!

  • Humana (a chain, kind of like a Goodwill for Europe) - located all throughout the city
  • Textile House Vintage shops - one in 4th district and one in 7th
  • Retroshatz - on in 7th district
  • Lots of Vintage/second-hand in Neubaugasse, but it’s priced kind of like Depop



Looking back, I would have made a few different packing choices, but ultimately it did not detract from my experience here at all. I have had the time of my life living in Vienna, and I wouldn’t change a thing! 


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Elisabeth Bolton Headshot

Elisabeth Bolton

Hi! I'm Elisabeth, and I'm a psychology major and neuroscience minor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This is my first time traveling abroad! My favorite things to do in my free time are journaling, taking walks, and scrapbooking!

2024 Summer 1
Home University:
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
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