10 Must-Have Items for Going Abroad

Johnna Hawyard headshot
Johnna Hayward
February 27, 2019

After I finished packing for my three-month trip to Barcelona I was super confident that I had covered all of the bases. What could I have possibly forgotten?!

Come to find out, I only had about half of these must-have items...so learn from my packing mistakes! Use this list to make sure you’re completely prepared for an adventure abroad!

Stuff for YOU.


1. Journal

After speaking with a close family friend they expressed that their biggest regret after traveling the world was that they didn’t journal about it! They had no notes or thoughts to reflect back on. Don’t let this be you! Make sure to journal as frequently as you can while abroad. You'll love being able to refresh your memory in the future.


2. Scrapbook Supplies

Instead of buying something from every place that you visit, save your tickets, receipts, napkins, etc! This will definitely save you money and I promise the end result will be so much more personal and rewarding. Scrapbook each memory into your journal so you don’t forget any piece of your journey.


3. Pictures of Family & Friends

Everyone gets homesick once in a while, whether they like to admit it or not. Sure, we all have social media and pictures on our phone. But tangible, printed photographs of our closest friends and family are incredibly special. So don’t skip that last-minute trip to CVS...print your pictures before leaving home!


4. Favorite American Snacks

I definitley regret not stuffing the extra room in my suitcase with snacks from home! Now don’t get too crazy with this. But there’s no better feeling than remembering that you have late-night snacks hiding in your suitcase :)

Stuff that you just NEED to have.


5. Universal Converter

Don’t just buy a converter for the country that you’re going to! I guarantee that you’ll travel to a different place in the world at some point. Buy a converter that works in every country just in case.


6. Reusable Water Bottle

If you’re traveling to Europe you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how eco-friendly everything is. But regardless of where you’re going in the world this is a great habit to get into and it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run.


7. Portable Charger

There’s nothing worse than your phone dying right as you’re trying to figure out how to get home. You definitely don’t want to be that person who finds themself completely lost with no way to contact anyone. Invest in a portable charger just in case! It’s always good to prepare for the worst in some situations. Also, there’s no need to break the bank when buying a portable charger. Some brands are ridiculously expensive. As long as whatever you buy gets the job done and charges your phone that’s all you need.


8. Suitcase Lock

This purchase will definitely come in handy. First, you’ll be able to lock up any of your important valuables while abroad. It’s always a good idea to be safe rather than sorry. Second, if you plan to stay in any hostels (which I highly recommend) then you will find yourself needing a lock. Essentially all hostels provide you with a personal locker/drawer during your stay. Buying a lock to use at the hostel in advance will also help you to be prepared for your additional weekend travels!


9. Travel Pillow & Eye Mask

You will not regret this! Good sleep is essential while you’re traveling and as we all know this can be nearly impossible on an airplane. Invest in a super comfortable neck pillow and the darkest eye mask that you can find. Don’t worry about how you’re going to look on the plane because you’ll soon realize that everyone else has the exact same items. Enjoy your beauty sleep!


10. REALLY Good Sneakers

The sneakers that you bring with you abroad ultimately have the potential to make or break your trip. I know that sounds dramatic but it’s the honest truth. But, of course we all want to look good. My best recommendation is to bring two pairs of sneakers: one really good pair for walking a gazillion miles and a super cute pair to complete the perfect outfit. Do whatever it takes to avoid bruises and blisters!

This list includes my best recommendations for what you should make sure to pack when preparing to go abroad. But definitley keep doing your research! There are plenty of blog posts and websites out there that have great tips and packing tricks. Do your best to be prepared for your international trip, but no matter where you're going in the world I can guarantee one thing: every city has a grocery store! So try not to stress too much. Take it from me, if you forget something, you can buy it once you reach your destination.


Until next time!



All incorporated pictures are original content that I have photographed! To see more visit: https://www.instagram.com/momentss_by_j/

Johnna Hawyard headshot

Johnna Hayward

<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:.4pt; margin-right:14.7pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.5pt"><span style="line-height:103%">Hiya! My name is Johnna (pronounced John-na). I am from Peekskill, NY (about 45 minutes north of Manhattan) and I will be graduating from Penn State in December! I’m a marketing major with strong passions related to sports and nonprofit efforts. In my free time I take weekly yoga classes and enjoy capturing Penn State’s beautiful campus through my iPhone camera lens. Lastly, traveling is a huge passion of mine and I am thrilled for the experience that I am about to embark on in Barcelona!</span></p>

2019 Spring
Home University:
Penn State University
Peekskill, NY
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