Packing for Study Abroad

Headshot of Lily Nannini.
Lily Nannini
May 18, 2023

I’m back home and wrapping up my final blog. It’s been an incredible adventure and now it’s time to end the way this started: packing my bags. The following suggestions are for the Winter/Spring semester in Vienna with one checked bag, one carry-on, and a backpack.

Bring from home:

  • A few laundry pods (this was super helpful to keep me afloat until I went to the store and bought laundry detergent)
  • Photos from home (the apartment is lovely, but comes completely unfurnished. I was so happy I brought some photos to remind me of home and add some color to my room)
  • Journal & pens (I was dedicated to journaling every night and filled my book cover to cover. I also went through 10 different pens which I threw out at the end of the semester)
  • Hat and gloves (so glad I brought these because it was cold when we first arrived. I was especially thankful for them during the walking tour and woods hike)
  • Mini hand sanitizers (put them in a ziploc because one of my opened on the plane and spilled all over the plastic bag!)
  • Belt bag (this was a life saver. I kept my packable bag, keys, cash, cards, and every essential I needed with me at all times. Yay for not losing my apartment key or public transit card!)
  • Key ring or birdie (I was so happy my mom told me to pack my birdie because I wasn’t going to but it was a game changer for not losing my Milestone apartment key)
  • Grip scale (helpful to weigh luggage so you don’t go over 50!)

Buy there:

  • Blanket (the first thing I missed from home was a fuzzy blanket, especially during the cold winter)
  • Towels
  • Kitchen stuff 

Bring/buy there:

  • Travel toothpaste (I read in another blog that Europe doesn’t have travel sized products, so I stocked up on mini travel toothpastes. It wasn’t necessary because there were travel sections in Austria, but it was convenient to just have them and not have to buy them there)
  • Peanut butter (I brought a jar of peanut butter from home and I don’t think it was necessary, but I was glad to have it especially for the first few days when I didn’t have much food)
  • Euros (I got Euros from the bank at home before leaving, but honestly pretty much everywhere takes credit card as long as it’s Visa or Mastercard, so I would just go to the ATM when you get there)
  • Trashbags (they obviously sell trash bags in the stores, but I brought the rest of the roll I had from my dorm and it was just another thing I was glad I didn’t have to buy, and it lasted me the entire semester!)
  • Ziploc bags (this is debatable–the grocery store does sell ziplocs, but I was happy to have them with me to use them immediately)
  • Hot cocoa mix (also debatable because Billa sells hot cocoa mix I just couldn’t find it for the longest time. I loved enjoying a cup of cocoa in my apartment on a cold or rainy day in Vienna)
  • Travel bag (I bought a backpack in Vienna that fit my packing cube perfectly, so I took that on all my weekend trips, but if I could do it again I would make sure to bring a backpack that would be suitable for travel so I wouldn’t have to buy a whole new one)

I would also recommend to not pack stuff you don’t wear at home. I know this is something everybody says, but it’s so true. I didn’t wear half of the tops I brought and mainly wore the same five outfits everyday. It is much simpler to live with fewer things. Also, when it came time to pack my suitcase to go home I ended up donating so many things (my Vejas, Hokas, 3 pairs of jeans, sweaters, and a ton of apartment stuff), and both my bags were still overweight. Less is more and it will save you in the long run so you can prioritize souvenirs and not have to worry about overweight baggage at the airport. 

I had the time of my life these past four months, but it’s so nice to be home and working to fund my next big adventure: IES Abroad Australia!! 

If there’s one piece of advice I have to give from this entire experience, it would be to savor the moment (and keep a journal).

Feel free to contact me on Instagram, I had the best time and would be happy to talk or answer any questions:) @lilynannini 

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Headshot of Lily Nannini.

Lily Nannini

Hi! I'm Lily and I'm from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I currently attend Washington and Lee University in Virginia. I'm always down for spontaneous adventures, catching sunrise/sunset, and taking pictures of food:) When I graduate college I want to renovate a van and travel the country, visiting every U.S. National Park as I go. Hopefully I'll have a golden retriever with me too. I love meeting new people and gaining new experiences, so I am extremely excited for this term in Vienna!

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