7 things to make room for while packing for study abroad
From my traveling experiences, I have compiled a list of 7 things that were the most important and useful things that I had the pleasure to travel with.
7) A good rolling carry-on bag
Originally, I stuck to using my backpack to travel with. It worked just fine and had plenty of room (with careful packing of course) but then I discovered the rolling carry-on. There is more room, less back pain, and more ease. Gals, just pack a purse inside and once you get to your destination, use the purse to hold your things to get around. Another plus? It’s easier to secure with a little lock to protect your things while you’re in a hostel.
6) A sturdy water bottle
Staying hydrated is very important especially when you’re traveling. Your body probably isn’t ingesting the healthiest of foods nor are you probably getting enough sleep. My personal favorite is the Nalgene wide-mouthed water bottle. You can drop those things all over the place and they’ll never crack. They also hold a hefty 32 ounces of water. Along with the water bottle, I’d recommend a splashguard. There were countless times that my body got a drink of water before my mouth did. Spend the extra 6 bucks and save yourself the unexpected shower.
5) Lightweight underwear that dries quickly
Many homes don’t have dryers so you shouldn’t count on them while you travel either. You can re-wear the same 2 shirts and pair of jeans for days but clean underwear is a must. Pack a little container of Woolite or any type of detergent and you can wash up a pair or two in a sink, hang them to dry, and they’ll be ready by the next day!
4) A pair of ear plugs
You never know. All those trains, planes, and automobiles that you’re using to travel can get noisy and it’s amplified especially if you’re tired, cranky and trying to get some shut eye. You also never know who is a snorer in any given hostel. They’re cheap and tiny, so grab a pair and bring them along just in case.
3) A good pair of walking sandals
Yes, you can do with a good pair of walking sneakers too but sandals, in my opinion, are far more versatile. Get a good pair of sandals that can be worn with shorts, dresses, jeans, during day and night and packing will be much easier. My recommendation is the Gizeh sandal from Birkenstock. These go with almost any style of dress. They have great arch support and walking around all day in them doesn’t put too much of a toll on your body. Sorry guys, these are ladies shoes but any type of Birkenstock is highly recommended! Mine are in Antique Lace, though the color isn’t the important thing ( I loved them because they went with everything and you couldn’t tell if they got a little dirty).
2) An inflatable pillow
This one I also really have to insist on (trust me on this… this will be the best $20 you’ll spend). Think about all those trains, planes, and automobiles that you’ll be using to get to and fro. Now think about the discomfort of trying to sleep on them as well as airport floors. Waking up in a beautiful new location feeling like my neck muscles just went through a brutal WWE fighting match is a major travel buzz kill. My personal recommendation is one by REI. I preferred simply pressing the air out to make it flat like a pancake instead of trying to roll it up (the former took up a lot less space).
1) A Kindle (or any E-readerfor that matter) preferably with 3G
This is number one for a reason. Traveling and getting to see these beautiful sites has a price to pay: sitting for long periods of time in lines, unsightly airports, and various modes of transportation. Really anywhere. Travelers don’t have the luxury of being able to carry around heavy, chunky books. The Kindle charge holds for a long amount of time (about 30 days) and you can pass the time very quickly by going through a book or two. It’s also great when you want to read on a beach or other odd locations. I recommend the 3G specifically because when I traveled outside of Spain, my phone did not work. Through the Kindle, you can access e-mail, Facebook—the entire world wide web—so I was able to contact friends from other countries who I was meeting up with without stressing about having to find a computer with WIFI. (I think my parents also appreciated it too when I got to shoot them an e-mail after landing safely in whichever city I was off to that weekend). The 3G is also great when you’re in the middle of nowhere and have suddenly finished your book. Hop on your 3G, browse the selection and get a brand new book delivered to the palm of your hand in mere seconds!
My luxury item: A journal
Now this one isn’t officially on the list because it’s not something that is absolutely positively necessary in my eyes but it’s a personal recommendation. I was gifted a journal before I left by a dear friend and I used it throughout my trip to record thoughts, feelings, drawings, everything! Even if you aren’t a huge journal writer, it’s really cool to look back after traveling at different entries from different trips. Huge long essays aren’t necessary—no word count, size 12 font, or double-spaced requirements whatsoever. Like I mentioned before, draw a picture or simply jot down a few words that summed up that trip or day. If you have the spare room, I’d bring one along.
Katie McMullen studied abroad with API in Granada, Spain.
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- krisisisipoo said: make sure your carry-on is the appropriate size for carry-on traveling in the region of the world where you’re studying! european carry-ons are MUCH smaller than american, and I wish I had a euro-approved one for my weekend trips.
- apistudyabroad posted this