The Tales of an Over-Packer: What Really Matters to Bring Abroad

Emilie Agras headshot
Emilie Agras
December 20, 2023

As the weeks drew closer to the conclusion of my study abroad adventure, a twinge of anxiety set in, fueled by the task of packing all of my prized belongings into suitcases. Admittedly an over-packer by nature, the looming challenge of reconciling the mementos collected abroad with my luggage capacity added a layer of stress to the winding-down phase of my journey. Now, having successfully navigated the intricate dance of packing and departure, I feel compelled to share some insights and advice, tailored especially for fellow enthusiasts of shopping and, inevitably, overpacking.

One crucial realization during my time abroad was the high probability of engaging in many shopping sprees. The allure of marvelous shops, vintage stores, and vibrant markets is irresistible, and the treasures one accumulates become a testament to the rich experiences gathered along the way. To accommodate these newfound treasures and maintain a semblance of order during travel, investing in a good travel backpack proved to be indispensable. Particularly useful for weekend excursions in Italy or other countries, a backpack not only streamlines travel logistics but also encourages more thoughtful clothing choices. It transformed me from an unabashed over-packer into a discerning and efficient packer, appreciating the value of selectivity.

Equally essential for navigating the European landscape is a reliable pair of walking shoes. Given the prevalence of walking and reliance on public transportation, comfort often takes precedence over fashion. Investing in one good pair of walking shoes is advisable, considering the limited suitcase space available for multiple pairs. Now, for those dwelling in off-campus apartments, it's noteworthy that basic amenities such as towels, sheets, pillows, and furnishings are typically provided. There's no need to burden your suitcase with these items, allowing for more room to accommodate your travel treasures.

When it comes to clothing, exercising restraint is key, especially with pants, and jeans in particular. A pair or two is genuinely sufficient, and the adaptability of jeans for evening outings is widely acknowledged, as many places favor a dressier dress code. Additionally, a stylish and versatile pair of boots proves invaluable, seamlessly transitioning from daytime excursions to nighttime outings while providing warmth during colder weather.

Practical considerations extend to daily essentials, such as a water bottle and a compact rubber ice tray. Staying hydrated on the go is a must, and having a reusable water bottle not only reduces expenses but is also an environmentally conscious choice. The small ice tray comes in handy when the water isn't chilled, ensuring a refreshing sip at any time. While not mandatory, an item of clothing frequently observed is the leather jacket. Perfect for brisk weather, it effortlessly elevates any outfit, making it a convenient throw-on piece suitable for various occasions.

In the realm of personal space, a pair of headphones is a valuable asset. In the confines of a small living space with new roommates, the need for privacy becomes apparent. Whether making phone calls to friends or parents, watching a movie on your laptop, or simply enjoying some music during walks to school, headphones offer a retreat and were, for me, an essential tool in seeking moments of respite and solitude amidst the bustling experience of studying abroad. As my study abroad journey drew to a close, the culmination of these practical insights made the process of packing, departure, and the transition back home more manageable and less overwhelming. 

Take all my tips with a grain of salt! 

Hope this helps!

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Emilie Agras headshot

Emilie Agras

Hello! I'm Emilie, a junior at Villanova, passionate about beauty, fashion, adventures, and meeting new people. Fun fact: I studied abroad and lived in London for high school. Can't wait to explore Rome and indulge in the finest gelato!

2023 Fall
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Villanova University
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