What to Pack if You’re Traveling or Studying Abroad This Summer

It’s officially 32 days until I depart for Italy! I will be spending my usual 3 months abroad to teach and research in Florence. I will also be doing a little bit of personal travel (stay tuned for more on that). I met with this summer’s students a couple weeks ago and, as expected, most of their questions and emails have centered around packing.

Packing for a long trip abroad is difficult. Over the years, I think I have done a pretty good job of mastering this skill. I am able to pack for the entire summer abroad in one large suitcase, one carry on, and one tote. As I discussed last week, the key to efficient and stress-free packing is starting early.

If you’ve been reading here for a while, this advice will feel very familiar (Feel free to skip down to the example packing list below). But it is worth repeating, because it works!

The following are my tried-and-true tips for packing:
  1. Take the number of days you are traveling and divide in half (if you are traveling for more than 3 months, this will need to be adjusted). This is the number of outfits you should try and pack. So for my summer abroad I will pack 40 – 45 outfits.
  2. Select items that you can mix and match. This will double your wardrobe for the trip. I suggest selecting one color scheme to ensure everything matches. You can see my example below.
  3. For warm summer months, focus on natural fabrics that breathe.
  4. Bring a variety of tops and bottoms of varying lengths and weights so you are prepared for all weather conditions.
  5. Pack only comfortable and functional shoes.
  6. Pack few toiletries, you can buy the basics when you arrive (more suitcase weight saving tips here).
  7. Use packing cubes and compression bags to save space and stay organized.

You can read even more of my summer packing tips here.

Now on to the fun part. Here is an example of exactly what to pack. This is what I would pack for a month abroad (mid-May to mid-June) in Italy. This example would also work for most of Europe, you just sub a couple more layers for cooler evenings (there are few cool evenings in southern Europe in the summer lol). And obviously the later in the summer you go, the warmer the weather you need to pack for.

sleeveless top // stripe tee // solid tee // long sleeve tee // dressy top (seen here) // button up // midi skirt // stripe skirt (seen here) // floral skirt // light-weight trench (a travel essential) // denim jacket // jeans (I suggest light and stretchy) // knit dress // floral dress // stripe dress // dressier dress // tunic that doubles as a cover up // stripe shorts // chambray shorts // scarf // cross body // tote // bathing suit // hat // travel ballet flats // sandals // sneakers // espadrilles

From this list, I can make 36 unique outfits. Don’t believe me? Check it out.

I hope this helps ease your packing anxiety. And please share if you’re headed somewhere fabulous this summer. I promise to share my plans soon!

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