How to Pack for Study Abroad

The Essential Study Abroad Packing List

While most people have a problem with over-packing, I’m notorious for not packing enough. I usually take a lot of pride in “packing light”, until I’m in a situation where I realize I’ve underestimated what I need for a trip. But finally, after a lot of trial and error, I’ve developed the perfect packing list.

Here is your essential study abroad packing guide, perfect for 3-4 months in Europe in mixed weather.

You should pack with three principles in mind: versatility, comfort, and style.

What to Pack In

  • 1 large checked bag
  • 1 carry-on (I prefer rolling)
  • 1 regular-sized backpack


  • 1 warm coat
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 warm active jacket
  • 2-3 additional jackets of different styles/warmth levels (i.e. leather, denim, blazer)
  • 3-4 cardigans and/or sweaters
  • 1-2 sweatshirts
  • 10-12 short and long sleeve shirts
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 3 pairs of other pants (which vary in warmth/thickness/color)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 4-5 dresses/skirts/jumpsuits (day and night)
  • 2-3 pairs of leggings
  • 1-2 athletic tops
  • 1 pair of athletic shorts
  • 2-3 sets of pajamas or sweats/t-shirts

*Remember you’re going for versatility, comfort, and style. Your wardrobe might not be as diverse as you’re used to, but packing things you can layer will help you mix up your outfits.

Accessories & Undergarments

  • 3 bras, 2 sports bras, 1 bralette (comfy for travel days)
  • 7-10 days worth of underwear/socks
  • 2 swimsuits
  • 1 functional scarf (something warm and versatile)
  • 1 accessory scarf (use to mix up your outfits)
  • 1 purse
  • 1 small backpack or bag
  • Minimal jewelry
  • Glasses and sunglasses


  • 2 pairs of comfortable everyday shoes (i.e. slip-ons, sneakers)
  • 1 pair of athletic shoes
  • 1 pair of stylish boots/booties
  • 1 pair of rain booties
  • 1 pair of sandals

*I don’t recommend packing heels, but make sure you have one pair of shoes that you can pull off with dressier outfits

Hygiene & Personal

  • Makeup
  • Toiletries (except shampoo/conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, lotion which you can easily buy when you get there)
  • Nail trimmers and tweezers
  • Packable micro fiber towel
  • Reusable makeup removing cloths or cleansing wipes
  • Dry shampoo
  • Medicine (i.e. ibuprofen and motion sickness meds)
  • Feminine products (If you’re particular to a certain brand or type. FYI it’s hard to find tampons in Europe)
  • Contact solution
  • Face wash/skincare

*You can pack full-size products assuming you have room in your checked bag. Then just bring some empty travel bottles that you can fill for short trips.

Travel & Tech

  • Neck pillow
  • Eye mask
  • Noise-canceling headphones or ear plugs
  • Passport protector
  • Laptop
  • Camera and case
  • Book or e-reader
  • Journal/pens
  • Travel adapter plug
  • Power bank
  • Luggage lock
  • Student ID
  • Passport/travel documents

Extra Tips

  •  Leave extra room in your suitcase purchases you make abroad, and don’t pack something that you know you’re going to buy when you get there.
  • Double check that you have all your travel documents, plus a few copies
  • Check out this list of travel products you need in your carry-on

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How to Pack for Study Abroad

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