Kelsi Hattaway - “How To Pack Like A Pro”
I'm Kelsi and I'm from Redondo Beach, California. For the past five years I've been studying and working in Ireland. I graduated from Maynooth University last October with a BA International in Anthropology and Spanish and I am now at Maynooth getting my MA in Anthropology.
The idea of packing can be quite daunting, especially if you’re packing for a semester, a year, or even longer. For anyone who hasn’t travelled much, there can be this need to over pack. Trust me, if I could have packed the kitchen sink when I first moved to Ireland, I probably would have. I landed in Ireland with three suitcases, each big enough to stuff bodies into. And now, after years of accumulating even more stuff, I have no way of bringing it all home with me. It is my hope that you all learn from my mistake and that tips in this article help you pack a little (or a lot) lighter.
5 Tips To Help You Pack Like A Pro
Tip #1: Now this might seem silly, but I get this question more than you would think. Yes, Ireland has toothpaste (and dishes, and bedding, and anything else you could ever possibly need). Don’t bring a lifetime supply of toiletries. No matter where you are studying abroad, I promise your host country will have everything you need and there will be a store close enough to your university where you can buy it.
Tip #2: You don’t need to (and really shouldn’t) pack every piece of clothing you own. Again, no matter where you live, there will be a way to wash your clothing. If you don’t wear it regularly now, don’t pack it. While it does rain more than I was used to, the temperature is pretty mild. You’ll definitely want to pack a good, waterproof coat (with a hood) but you don’t need anything drastic. And you’ll definitely end up adding clothes to your wardrobe once you get here – just wait until you discover Penneys!
Tip #3: Stationery and school supplies can really add pounds (or kilos) to your suitcase. Just don’t even bother. Chances are you’ll have at least a week once you land before classes start so use that time to get stuff then. And the binder holes are different in Europe anyway so there really is no point.
Tip #4: It can be tempting to want to bring stuff from home to decorate your room. Don’t do it! Chances are, you’ll have to leave stuff behind when you’re returning home because everything won’t fit or it just weighs too much. Don’t bring anything that you wouldn’t want to leave behind if you have to. Again, if you really want to decorate your room, you can buy cheap stuff once you land.
Tip #5: The most important tip!!! Leave space in your luggage for souvenirs! Just because you have extra space, doesn’t mean you need to fill it! You’re going to buy so much stuff on your travels (a nice keepsake for yourself or silly gifts for your friends and family). You definitely want as much free space as possible. And remember, your host country will have everything you could need. Buy cheap and don’t be afraid to leave the cheap stuff behind.
Hopefully these tips come in handy. I know I wish someone would have told me to take it easy on packing when I was a travel noob. And remember, if you forget anything super important, you can always bribe a relative to post it over.
Photo from The Odyssey Online