five months in a suitcase – part one: the naive coed

Five months of my life in suitcase. It excites my gypsy soul and terrifies my inner Girl Scout because it took my car, my mom’s car to haul my harp, and my friends adopting my fridge and microwave to move back from the dorms. As much as I love minimalism, I am terrible at it. There is too much to prepare for.

However, a suitcase and a carry on seem like quite enough now that I’m all packed. 

There are a myriad of lists available (I liked The Budget Traveler), but they are often from richer or more tropical people than me. So for anyone studying abroad to Ireland, The British Isles, or North West Europe. Here’s what I’m taking. I’ll let you know when I get back how well it worked out for me

1. A Purse

My purse is actually a leather camera bag and has a very handy latch. It holds the while-on-airplane-essentials:

  • almonds
  • phone and charger
  • kindle
  • kleenex
  • Benadryl
  • gum
  • journal
  • pens
  • headphones
  • wallet
    • School ID and drivers license
    • health insurance
    • credit/debit cards
    • Starbucks gift card
    • Euros/USD

2. Carry On – School Backpack

Though no one believes you, you are actually going to study on your study abroad trip. I didn’t buy a new backpack for this and am bringing my sturdy one from Cabela’s that my parents got me in high school. I’m hoping this will work for Ryanair and other budget airlines as a carry on in addition to fulfilling my academic needs.

In my carry on, I’m including:

  • laptop, case, and charger
  • kindle charger
  • electronic converter
  • makeupfrom Pinterest
  • change of clothes
  • almonds
  • medicines for one month
  • passport
  • raincoat
  • water bottle/thermos
  • folder of papers
    • copy of flight info
    • acceptance letter from university
    • packet from study abroad provider
    • proof of finances
    • proof of insurance
    • class schedule
    • confirmation of enrollment
    • boarding passes

I have copies of all these documents stored on my computer and in Dropbox as well.

3. The main event

I’m borrowing a large suitcase from my parents, and I’m shocked at how much it holds. Lucky for me. So far, I have:

  • 8ish sweaters and cardigans
  • 4 tank tops
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • bar soap
  • coconut oil (see why I’m never without it)
  • feminine products and various toiletries
  • 7ish shirts/blouses
  • trousers
    • black ponte leggings
    • dark skinny jeans
    • maroon leopard pants
  • grey pencil skirt
  • black a-line dress
  • underwear (the more you bring, the less laundry you do)
  • belts for various outfits
  • hoodie
  • raincoat/jacket (my warmer, heavier one)
  • two pairs of comfortable, neutral flats
  •  two pairs of tights
  • school t-shirt and one other
  • leggings for sleeping/working out
  • prescription meds for as long as possible and tylenol

Sometime later, I’ll let you know what important item(s) I forgot to pack, but for now, I’m rejoicing at being 5 pounds underweight and both fully contained and fully clothed.