Things I Wish I Brought Abroad

Kate Allen headshot
Kate Allen
April 11, 2024

To no one’s surprise, I overpacked (in all the wrong ways). Here are some things I wish I brought abroad, and some items that I regret packing.

First and foremost, I wish I brought a blanket from home. I convinced myself that I could go the whole semester without an extra blanket for my bed. I didn’t even last one night of sleep without one—seriously, I went shopping the first day I got to Nice and picked out the fluffiest blanket I could find. I wish that I brought one, so that I didn’t have to purchase one when I got here!

I regret not bringing a light beach towel. I converted the shower towel provided by my apartment into a beach towel, but I wish I packed a beach towel from home. I suggest buying a beach blanket or the lightest towel you can find that takes up minimal space. 

I wish I had brought more socks.  I have done laundry fewer times than I expected, just because it is so expensive! The laundry machines are small, so you can’t even fit that many clothes in one load. Socks are easy enough to buy in Monoprix or any clothing store, but their importance is not to be overlooked.  This is one piece of clothing that you should overpack. 

Lastly, more books! It is challenging to find English books in Nice. I prefer reading physical books to reading on a Kindle or iPad, but I finished the books I brought after the first two months. Every travel website and study abroad packing guide says to ditch the books, because they are so heavy and take up too much space. I completely disagree. If you love to read, pack as many books as you think you’ll read!

Remember my first post, when I suggested planning out what you pack so that you can be sure not to overdo it? I didn’t take my own advice, clearly. 

Most of my regrets are simply overpacking clothes. My drawers and closets are full. I packed too many of each item of clothing, to be transparent. I packed multiple coats. You need TWO. Or maybe three, especially if you are going to a warm place. I also packed multiple pairs of jeans. Jeans are deceptively heavy (maybe that’s why my suitcase was 15kg overweight…) and take up a ton of space in both your suitcase and your clothing storage throughout the semester. Similar to coats, I would select 2-3 of your favorite, most versatile pairs of jeans. 

To continue, I regret bringing too many fancy outfits. I overestimated the amount that I would be wearing dresses and skirts, and underestimated the amount of everyday clothes to bring. This is also true for bringing too many summer clothes. If your study abroad destination is super warm year round, ignore this. In Nice, we’ve had our fair share of cold and warm days, but for some reason I anticipated it to be warmer than it was. 

One last thing that I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT REGRET BRINGING is packing cubes! They are a lifesaver. Everyone needs them for overseas travel. Just trust me. 

The moral of the story is that it is so difficult to pack perfectly. Inevitably, you will be purchasing new items abroad, and so it is better to leave a little room in your suitcase, like everyone says…

Oh well, you live and you learn. Here’s to hoping I can fit everything in my suitcases when it’s time to leave! 

Au revoir!

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Kate Allen

Hi! My name is Kate Allen and I am a third year at the University of Virginia, studying Foreign Affairs and Global Commerce. I love to read, cook, take photos, and explore. 

2024 Spring
Home University:
University of Virginia
International Business
International Relations
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