Paige Kraynak studied English at Grove City College and a Global Ambassador. She spent a semester abroad with ISA in Galway, Ireland, in the Fall of 2017.
Coming from a girl who nearly packs a suitcase for a weekend trip, I understand the struggle of figuring out what to take overseas. It can be difficult trying to pack an entire semester’s worth into a bag that must weigh under 50 lbs. But if I can do it, so can you! Here’s a list of things to remember when getting ready to go.
1. Take a backpack. This is an essential! Not only will you need it for class, but a good backpack is needed for travelling as well. If you decide to use airfare, you won’t want to pay for a suitcase and sometimes weekender bags can be too large. However, backpacks are the perfect size for travel and you can fit a whole lot in them!
2. Pack good, casual walking shoes and a nice pair that you will wear out. You will wear and tear your walking shoes. Make sure they are comfortable and can handle the rain, snow, and all the steps! But if you plan on going to a nice dinner or spending a day in a museum, I also recommend a nicer pair of shoes for those special occasions.
3. Black or brown. Pick one color and go from there. Trying to pack the two will only cause you to pack more than necessary. This goes with other color schemes as well. Choose colors that go well together and stick with them.
4. Remember chapstick and other miscellaneous products for your skin. When I went to Ireland, I went through the only chapstick that I had brought with me and could not find another. If you suffer from dry skin, chapped lips, etc., make sure that you have access to lotions and moisturizers or else you may have difficulty finding them elsewhere.
5. Photos from back home. Take that lovely family photo with you and keep it on your desk. Having these with you will help you when you get homesick. It’s a great way to look back on your loved ones and think of them when you are gone.
Sometimes travelers can get a little eager before a big trip. When that happens, we grab last minute things that aren’t necessary. I compiled a short list of things you can easily find abroad (cheap!) that will save the space in your suitcase.
1. Towels. You will be throwing it out eventually, so why pack it and have it take up so much room? Rather than taking a bathing towel, its smart to pack a hand towel that can be used to clean your face and help you until you get to the store. (Trust me, you will be going to the store ASAP once you arrive.)
2. Bedding. This is another thing that takes up too much space. Its one thing if you take a small pillow and blanket for the plane ride over. Its another if you try to pack sheets, a heavy blanket, multiple pillows, and your favorite stuffed animal.
For the stuff you forget to bring, don’t worry. Either you can live without it or you can buy it. And you will be shopping a good bit while abroad, so keep a descent amount of room in your suitcase for fun souvenirs, gifts, and keepsakes. Good luck my fellow traveler. You’ve got this.
Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.
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