Now that I am over six weeks into my Florence study abroad trip, I feel the need to share my own personal public service announcement. Everything you have been told about packing for study abroad is a blatant LIE! Yes, I am being dramatic, but what I mean is there are too many half-truths online when it comes to packing. I feel it is my duty as a female to share my newly acquired knowledge with any fellow self-proclaimed girly girls looking to start packing.
My number one tip is to ignore all the haters who warn against over packing. I recall listening in horror as friends told me they fit weeks’ worth of items in a carry on. Ethically, I am obligated to share that, yes, this is coming from a chronic over packer. However, I decided to listen to this advice and try to pack light, which brings me to my golden rule. Pack everything you can that you can carry! Trust me. As I repeat my outfits every week, I wish I packed more. You’re living here for a solid amount of time, not backpacking through a different city every day. Capisce?
My next piece of advice is to bring backup items. Too many times have I read for ladies to pack one pair of each type of shoe or one going out dress. I grudgingly followed this advice and packed a single stylish, yet comfortable pair of sandals that would have lasted me two years at home. Here, they were obliterated in one week from all of the walking. I repeat. There is no such thing as over packing! Had I brought more shoes from home, I would not have had to spend another 80 euros on two pairs of replacement shoes. Let’s not forget to consider the trauma of wearing sneakers with everything until I found a suitable replacement.
Another crucial item to pack is compression shorts to prevent chafing. Ladies, unless you were somehow blessed with a thigh gap by some divine force, then your thighs are going to be touching…in 100 degree heat… repeatedly for over 10,000 steps each day. Avoid the worst chafing of your life without having to give up your dresses and skirts by throwing on a pair of compression shorts underneath. Your thighs will thank you for having some Spanx to protect them from themselves.
I also feel its worth mentioning the following quick tips at the risk of sounding like I have spent my last few weeks keeping up with the Kardashians. Keep your wardrobe pressed with Downy Wrinkle Releaser. You can find this in travel size at the drug store. When you line dry your clothes and are without an iron, this is a life saver. I also recommend a bottle of clear nail polish. Make that pedicure last and avoid the cost of the salon here. Lastly, bring your important toiletries in full size. While abroad, you will be hard pressed to find your signature concoction of products that you’ve been expertly crafting since puberty.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if you look like you moved out your entire apartment with all the bags you have. If you can carry them up a few flights of stairs, you’re all set. Now prep those biceps, and get to over-packing!
Want more travel tips? Check out “4 Tips for Exploring Your Host City“