Packing for Rome

Elsie McCabe headshot
Elsie McCabe
August 23, 2023
A pile of suitcases

The past month has been a mad dash for me to figure out everything I could possibly need to bring with me to study abroad. I’ve combed through YouTube videos, TikToks, and blogs from people who have studied abroad in Italy and thoroughly questioned my friend who just got back from her semester abroad in Rome. Today I’m going to share with you the pieces of advice that have helped me the most while packing and my favorite people to go to for advice. 


  • No lettered shirts: Stick to prints and basics. They will look a lot better in photos and are easier to mix and match with the rest of your clothes.
  • Laundry bag: Not every housing assignment has a washer and dryer in your living space. I know that my dorm room has communal washers and dryers, so a laundry bag is a must. Get one that compacts down really small, like the mesh ones. This would be easy for you to bring along on weekend trips to help you stay organized.
  • Packing Cubes: Keeping going with the organization theme, packing cubes are a must. I would recommend the compression packing cubes so you can fit more stuff in your bags (Just be careful about not adding too much weight). These can also be used to keep your drawers organized in your closet and to help you fit more on your carry-on. 
    • Extra tip: Use a compression cube to take extra clothes in your carry-on on the plane when you leave for Rome so if your checked luggage gets lost you still have spares.
  • Research availability of your skincare/haircare essentials: I wish I had done this sooner because I went and bought a three-month supply of my body wash before realizing I could buy it in Rome. It’s a good thing I hadn’t gotten around to buying shampoo and conditioner because I’ve decided to just bring a travel-size container and buy more there. The one toiletry I would definitely bring is deodorant. If you have one you know works for you, bring a full supply of it. My friend who just got back from Rome told me that she could only find spray deodorant there, so if you prefer stick deodorant, don’t risk it.
  • Get a quick dry towel that could double as a scarf and a blanket: This is perfect for your weekend trips because you can wear it into an airport or bus station as a scarf, use it as a blanket on the plane/bus, and have a towel for showering once you reach your destination. The best part is that you don’t need to take up any extra space in your carry-on.
  • A comfort item: No matter if you're worried about getting homesick or not, it’s definitely worth bringing a little reminder of home. Even if you're worried about how much room it’s taking up in your suitcase, it will be the one thing you won’t regret bringing. If you're having a hard time justifying bringing a memento from home, opt for something practical like a comfy robe or slippers, or something small like photos of your friends and family.
  • Be prepared for the cold: Researching what to wear to Italy can be tricky during the summertime when everyone is packing for the summer vacation. Don’t let the extreme heat of the summer fool you into thinking Rome doesn’t get cold. By mid-fall, the evenings can be quite chilly. I’ve heard some people say that they brought a puffer coat, but if you're going in the fall it might not be a bad idea to wait until you get there to make that decision. As it gets cooler and you decide what trips you will be taking, you may find that simply layering up works for you. 

Now for those of you who still have questions, here are the people I recommend checking out for packing tips and more!


What to Pack for Study Abroad in Italy by Alayna O’Keefe

Alayna not only gave some great advice but also put together packing lists depending on which season you're studying abroad. Whether you're going in the spring, summer, or fall, Alayna’s got you covered

How I’m Packing - Dress to Impress in Rome by Jackie Jones

Of course, I had to plug our former IES blogger, Jackie, who gives us some great styling advice and tips to help you dress your best without having to stress every morning.


Ally: @allyfelise 

Having studied abroad in Rome in the Fall of 2022, Ally gives some great insights into studying abroad. Definitely check out her Study Abroad Tips playlist for packing recommendations, and to see more about life in Rome, check out her Rome playlist. For advice on where to visit while studying abroad, check her playlist, Travel Recs.

Mel: @mmatts511

For advice on what non-prescription medications to bring abroad with you definitely check the first pinned post on Mel’s page. In Europe you often need a prescription for most medications, sometimes even Advil. Bringing meds you know work for you can make it so much easier for you when you're not feeling your best. 

Caroline | Life In Italy: @rivieradreamer

If you're looking to get advice from a local, then Caroline is your girl. Born and raised in America, Caroline moved to Italy and has lived there since graduating college. Her Italy Travel Tips playlist is a must-watch, but don’t stop there. She covers everything from tips to riding Italian trains, to learning the language, and for those who get really hooked by the Italian lifestyle, she has several playlists about living in Italy and how she got dual citizenship. 

YouTube Videos 

Study Abroad: What to pack and not to pack for your trip to Europe | Miami University by Maddie Tatum

Maddie’s advice is really on par with what I heard from other people. Maddie also sprinkled in a few that I hadn’t thought of before, like bringing a surplus of socks and underwear because they always get lost in communal laundry. 

How to PACK for study abroad: bags, essentials, tips & tricks by Daisy Blake

So now that you’ve got the lowdown on clothes and meds, head on over to Daisy’s video, specifically her section on types of bags. Oftentimes people just pack in whatever suitcases they have available, and that works just fine. But, for those of you who want to optimize your bag situation, Daisy gives you a few things to consider when picking your luggage.

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Elsie McCabe headshot

Elsie McCabe

As an aspiring archaeologist, a bookworm, and a lover of thrifting, I couldn't be more excited to be going to Rome. Come with me to explore the city's vast history and find the best second-hand shops and cozy corners to curl up and read a good book.

2023 Fall
Home University:
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
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