It’s always a fine balance to ensure you’ll travel comfortably but to avoid over packing especially when airlines charge big for extra bags. Used our tried and true methods and you’ll have everything you need without paying $1 more than necessary.
Where to start?
With a packing list of course! To make this list consider these key considerations
What are the highs and lows? Will it rain or snow? This will help you pick the right basics and accessories like an umbrella, hats, gloves, or mittens
What is your agenda?
What types of activities will you be tackling? Scaling the Swiss Alps? Partying hard in Barcelona? Visiting cathedrals in Italy? You want to look at how long you’ll be doing each activity and any special considerations that need to be made. If you’re hiking solid comfortable shoes and moisture wicking clothes are a must, if you’ll be clubbing you want to bring nicer clothes to avoid any issues with club dress codes, if you’ll be visiting churches remember they often require that your shoulders are covered. Go through each day considering the agenda and weather and make a list quantities of each type of clothes.
Now take that list and try to reduce it as much as possible with versatility in mind. Can you take a day outfit and dress it up with a scarf, belt or jewelry to also work for night? Can you wear some under shirts or camisoles and wear your shirts for multiple days? Can you wear you jeans for 3 or more days? Get creative!
Length of visit and how much you should bring
Depending on if it is for a semester abroad, a 10 day vacation or a weekend trip your strategies will differ.
For a semester abroad you really should target bringing no more than 1 checked bag and a backpack to carryon. If you have any more than that you have greatly overpacked. Keep in mind millions of people live wherever you will be studying so you you can get toiletries, and additional clothes while you’re there (plus then you can say you got it in Europe!) Try to bring just the most essential things and check out our study abroad packing list below or our youtube videos
For a 10-14 day trip try to keep it to 1 carryon bag and 1 personal item (i.e. a rolling suitcase and a backpack). It can be a challenge but a fun one and remember compressible packing cubes are your friend! Lay everything out and then edit, edit, edit!
For a weekend trip you should be able to fit everything into 1 backpack and avoid any unnecessary fees from budget airlines. Check out this great article for additional advice!