Learn all about packing do’s and don’ts for London with Spring 2022 participant Talaith Campbell! 

***This is an example of a student’s experience from Spring 2022. Specific programming and activities are subject to change semester by semester.

london pub

Packing for a trip across the world can be an overwhelming task, packing for a move across the world can be so daunting you don’t even know where to start. If that’s you right now, I have excellent news. I’ve done it before and I know better this time. Traveling to Spain for my fall semester I was a little clueless. When I sat down to finally pack for Spring in London, I knew what I was up against and luckily, things went smoother this time.

Drop Everything You Know

My first tip for any first time packer is to drop everything you think you know about what people wear. If you’re coming from the U.S. like me, your idea of day clothes might be something like jeans and a t-shirt. However, as soon as you get off that plane in Europe, you’ll see that even to European airport goers, you would be underdressed. When packing for the Fall semester I made sure to bring my favorite items, things I wore all the time and were comfortable in. While I still suggest bringing things you like, ditch the casual stuff in your closet, especially those graphic-t’s or ripped pants. Take a few minutes to look online at what Europeans are wearing day to day. You might notice that they dress a bit more formally. Pack your favorite blazers, boots, and tops instead.

walking in londonDitch Hair and Makeup Products

You might be tempted to bring all of your hair and makeup products however, you can ditch it all. Firstly, most heat tools that you buy in the States can’t be used in Europe. Unless your hair dryer or flat iron has adjustable voltage, you’re out of luck. Don’t try to use your adaptor with them either…..just trust me on that one. Unless you want your blow dryer to blow up like mine did in the first semester, leave it at home in the states. As for makeup, things are so much cheaper over here! Stores like Kiko and even Corte Ingles sell high quality makeup for half the price. While I was home for winter break I actually put off replacing some of my items until I was back and able to get the good stuff. While you might take your expensive, name brand stuff, try out some things from local stores. Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad!

 

Save Space for Goodies

Finally, save space in your suitcase. I know everyone always says this but really, don’t be like me! I heard the advice but still didn’t listen and when the semester came to an end I had to stuff my suitcase full of my clothes and souvenirs. Then, flying home, a 200 euro baggage fee charge and some sore muscles later, I learned my lesson. This time when I was packing I really thought about what I personally really needed. A lot of my weight and space is dedicated to shoes. That’s just me, since I know I like to change up what I’m wearing out. Maybe for you it’s scarves and hats. Maybe it’s some bulky sweaters. Whatever it is, yes, make space for it, but realize that you might have to make some sacrifices in other areas. My colorful pants collection is ever so slightly dwindled to allow for some more shoes, and that’s okay! Trust me, the stuff you don’t bring will be a fun surprise the next time you’re home for break.

At the end of the day, stress as little as possible. Whatever you bring, or don’t bring, will be okay. You’ll get good use out of the items you have and honestly, probably forget a little about the items you don’t. If you do overpack, think about donating to a local charity and limiting the stuff you’re taking back home. A semester abroad is all about the experience, right?

Hot Tips:

                        • Pack more formal clothes
                        • Buy makeup overseas and don’t bring heat tools
                        • Save space for souvenirs!
                        • Wear your heaviest shoes/clothing on the plane

big ben