Packing for a trip or move abroad takes tons of organization and planning. The bad news is, there will inevitably be items you forget. The good news is, packing for travel abroad gets easier the more you do it. Save yourself time and money by checking out the 10 items I forgot to pack before I moved abroad and desperately wished I hadn’t.
During the warmer months, the windows in European apartments are almost always open and without screens, making it easy for mosquitos to find their way in. Remembering to pack bug spray will keep you from sleepless, itchy nights during the summer months. Typically, bug spray is significantly cheaper in the states, so stock up before you go.
Portable Phone Charger
There’s no greater frustration than flying across the world, navigating foreign streets and hiking for miles to find some amazing sight, only to reach for your phone to snap a picture and find that it’s dead. Keeping your phone charged while abroad can be hard since you’ll spend most of your time out of the house. When it comes to portable chargers, there are a few options. You can go the less expensive route and grab this one. I use this charging case, and I can typically go from 9 a.m. to midnight without plugging my phone in.
Workout Clothes & Shoes
I opted to leave my tennis shoes and workout clothes at home the first time I moved to Italy in order to save space in my luggage. A short time in, the pizza and pasta caught up to me, and I found myself in serious need of a gym session and no idea where to go to buy gym clothes. This, combined with the fact that Lulu Lemon does not ship to most countries and workout gear can be expensive and hard to find abroad, led me to the conclusion that workout gear is a must when packing to move abroad. If you’re worried about space in your luggage, take out a few bras. They take up a lot of room, and you know that you’ll probably only end up wearing your favorite few anyways.
You’ll thank yourself later for tossing a bottle of Claritin or Zyrtec into your bag before heading overseas. Most people find themselves dealing with allergy symptoms abroad that they never encountered at home simply because they are now in an area full of plants that they haven’t been exposed to. Save yourself the hastle of trying to decipher foreign labels and the risk of accidentally purchasing sleeping pills in an Italian pharmacy (true story) by packing some allergy meds before you leave.
Backup Laptop Storage
If you’re going to be abroad for an extended period of time, chances are you’ll be taking tons of pictures and videos. Backing up your media is essential while you’re abroad because losing once-in-a-lifetime pictures and videos is not an option. With Apple stores few and far between, your best bet is to bring along an external hard drive. I use this one!
Never underestimate the helpfulness of a good, old-fashioned paper map. When cell service is spotty or Siri leads you to an abandoned parking lot in the middle of nowhere, having a physical map in your bag will be your saving grace. Before you come abroad, take time to circle important places on the map like your apartment and city monuments. This will help you orient yourself and save time when you’re trying to find your way around.
Camera Neck Strap
If you’re bringing a camera, specifically a DSLR, you need a neck strap. Most DSLRs will come with a standard neck strap. If not,they’re inexpensive and easy to find online or at Best Buy. When you’re out and about taking pictures, the last thing you will want to do is take your camera in and out of your bag or backpack. If you don’t already have one, these monogramed straps are some of my favorites!
Moving abroad is a life changing experience, and you will want to remember every second. There will be highs and lows as you meet new people and travel the world. Take time to yourself every night or every other night and jot down your thoughts. You won’t regret it. I prefer an actual journal as opposed to my laptop or phone. This is the journal I’m using right now.
Portable speakers are a must. While most of us have a set of speakers back home in the States, almost everyone forgets to bring them abroad! Speakers can be expensive and hard to find abroad, so make sure to pack a super light set of speakers like these.
Sleep Mask & Ear Plugs
A sleep mask and ear plugs are essentials for a transatlantic flight. They are also essentials as you find yourself napping at odd hours due to jet lag. Add on the fact that if you’re studying abroad, you’ll definitely have roommates, and an eye mask and ear plugs become totally necessary. You can find my favorite silk sleep mask here.