Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Exchange Student's Survival Guide no5: Packing!

Packing for any trip can be a daunting task. What will I need? What will the weather be like? Should I bring my sheets, comforter and pillow? There are many things to consider, especially before embarking on a several-month trip abroad.

After my two exchange trips to France and Germany I have learned about the importance of packing light.

Here are my tips on packing for an exchange.

1. Bring only one suitcase
Make it the largest suitcase ever, but only bring one. You will be thankful once you arrive at your destination and only have one suitcase to lug around (plus whatever carry-on you brought on the plane).

2. Bring a backpack
Whether you end up going on week-long trips, or simple day adventures, having a backpack is the most practical way to travel. It can hold a lot of stuff, is comfortable to lug around and is less likely to get stolen or forgotten.

3.  Pack not once, but twice
This tip is crucial to narrowing down the things that are essential and those who can stay behind. As an over-packer, I often have brought along clothes, shoes, accessories or anything else that I just did not end up using. Pack your suitcase once, see what doesn't fit, what can be removed, what makes it too heavy, then pack again. Keep doing these readjustments until the suitcase can comfortably be closed.

4. Roll your clothes 
This is the best tip to make everything fit nicely in a suitcase. Every inch counts.  I cannot pack a suitcase without doing this, it feels off somehow.

5. Bring something to remind you of home
No matter how amazing the experience will be, the bottom line is you will be away from your home, your family and your friends for several months. Things may be difficult at times and having just a little piece of home will make such a big difference. I brought some pictures with me and hung them up on my wall with sticky tack.

Those are just a few tips and tricks for packing before leaving on an exchange.

Leave any of your tips in the comments below.


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