Swap These for These: What I Wish I Packed and What I Should Have Left at Home

Sammi Bilitz
April 22, 2022
Things I wish I packed

As I get ready to pack up my life in Dublin and head home to the United States, I’ve run into the common problem of stuffing what I brought here in with what I bought so everything fits in the same luggage I used to get to Ireland.

In my perusing, I’m struck by how many things I use every day that I had to purchase upon arrival, and how many things I brought from home that I have never once used.

Below are three things I brought that I wish I didn’t and three things I wish I had brought instead of buying in my host city:

Leave at home:

  1. Shorts: This is particularly true for my city, Dublin, Ireland, in the winter semester. I brought a nicer pair of shorts that I thought I would wear out one night to pubs or dancing, but they have not left my closet. No one wears shorts in the city and going out is a much more casual affair, with a good pair of jeans or trousers and a simple black turtleneck being the hallmark of fashion. It’s been far too cold to try anything other than sturdy pants or a dress with tights.
  2. Back up bottles of makeup: While sometimes it’s better to prepare for running out of a product, I am left with completely full packages of backup makeup that I have to pack up for their return home. Any well-known brands are available at the local beauty counter or pharmacy in a pinch, and if worse comes to worst, I could have always ordered online for any hard-to-find replacements.
  3. Digital camera: Ok, I know this one is a bit controversial, however, I brought a digital camera that I use frequently at school, but it has not left my shelf. The best moments and pictures I have taken so far on my trip have been spur of the moment and with my iPhone. Plus, digital cameras are heavy, you have to always plan to use them, and can be a pickpocketing target.  


  1. Slippers! I wear slippers I bought here every day. With a bunch of people living in one place, all using the kitchen and continually tracking things into the hall, the floors become dirty. I wear slippers all throughout my apartment and the building as a way to have easy, on-the-go, sock protection. Plus, they keep my feet nice and toasty during the winter months!
  2. Hangers! When I went to unpack there were absolutely no hangers in the closet, thus prompting a search through the city streets to find some cheap hangers. Unfortunately, when I bought a package of them, I was about three short for what I needed but didn’t want to buy a whole additional package for the three tops that I left folded. If I had thought ahead, I would have portioned out how many clothes needed hangers before I left and brought the exact right amount from home.
  3. Body wash: Ok, this may sound contradictory to “make-up bottle tip,” but I think it’s worth it. I ended up purchasing body wash when I got into town, and now I have way too many leftover bars of soap that I am certainly not packing to take home. Especially if you have sensitive skin, you’ll want a body wash you know you can trust and that you will want to bring back with you if you have too much leftover.

Of course, people forget things and make unnecessary purchases to compensate, and there are plenty of relatively cheap places to buy the odd thing here or there, but if you want to maximize your luggage space while remaining comfortable, really consider the practical things you need every day and pack accordingly. 

Sammi Bilitz

<p>Sammi Bilitz is a junior at Indiana University enrolled in the Writer's Program in Dublin, Ireland. She is studying journalism and international studies and is so excited to explore what Ireland has to offer. In her free time, you can find her huddled up in some bookstore with a steaming cup of tea in hand.</p>

2022 Spring
Home University:
Indiana University
Zionsville, IN
International Studies
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