Coming up I have a 15 day study aboard trip where I will be going to Spain and France. One of the biggest stresses of going abroad can be packing for your trip. However, this is my 6th time going abroad so I have picked up some tips & tricks to make it as easy as possible!
Since I am only going to be going for 15 days, I am bringing a large suitcase to check, my Vera Bradley Weekender for my carry-on, and my Longchamp bag for my personal item to keep under the seat ahead of me. Depending on how long you are going, you might be able to get by with a little less or you might have to bring another suitcase. I definitely could get by with bringing a smaller suitcase to check. However, I want to make sure I have room to buy things while I am abroad.
When it comes to purchasing a suitcase, I encourage you to buy one in person so you can “test it out” and see if you like it. When buying a suitcase, make sure you have an idea of the size you are looking for. This is especially important if you are buying a carry-on suitcase since there are size restrictions. I got mine at TJ Maxx and it’s a Swiss Gear suitcase. TJ Maxx is a great place to get a suitcase because they have some great brands at a discounted price. I don’t think it’s worth it to get expensive suitcases when it comes to checked bags since sometimes they can get beat up when getting loaded/unloaded.
When it comes to what style of bag you get, it’s up to you! I like the fabric suitcases over hard cases because I feel like I can’t fit as much into the hard cases. I also prefer the four wheel suitcases. I think it makes it easier to get around the airport with them. Make sure when you are looking at suitcases to check out the wheel and see if they all roll properly.
Important Must Haves
When you decide to go abroad make sure the first thing you do is GET A PASSPORT! If you already have a passport make sure you check the expiration date to see if it will be good throughout your trip. While abroad you will usually have your passport on you at all times. Because of this, I like to have a cute passport holder. I use to have a cheap one from Target but just upgraded to a Kate Spade one thanks to my mom! You don’t have to get a passport holder. I just think it makes it easier to keep track of your passport by adding some color to it.
Another important thing to know when going abroad is what type of currency do they use. Since I am going to Spain and France I had to get Euros to bring along. I suggest getting some before you leave at a bank. However you can also exchange money to the correct currency when you get there. Make sure to call your debit/credit card company before leaving and let them know how long you will be gone, along with what countries you are planning on going to. If you don’t do this the debit/credit card company might think that your card is stolen and shut off your card making it so you can’t use it. It is also suggested to bring a copy of your passport with you in case you lose yours to help with the process of getting a new one abroad. I also think it doesn’t hurt to leave one back home with someone as well. I also like to bring with me a copy of my itinerary if you have one, along with all of the hotels you are staying at with phone numbers and addresses.