When it comes to planning, I tend to be a tad… shall we say, intense? (Just ask my family, friends, coworkers, probably anyone in my vicinity.) Unknown territory makes me incredibly anxious, so I love to feel as prepared as possible for the future. Whether it be for the looming fog of job searching in post-grad life or for something as insignificant as which necklace I’m wearing tomorrow, it’s a source of comfort to me to figure it out in advance.
So, as you can imagine, I’ve been mentally composing the first few drafts of my packing list for England since approximately January. Based on extensive Pinterest research (seriously, do not underestimate that resource people) and some helpful hints from a few well-traveled friends, I’ve managed to come up with a general idea of the necessities. Since there were so many great lists on the internet that really helped me out, I thought it might be fun to create a packing guide compilation of my own. When I arrive, I will update my list with any items that I didn’t think to include or regret omitting. So, without further ado, here are my tentative packing plans:
A Beginner’s Guide to Packing for a Fall Semester in England
- Universal Adapter. Although I will be staying primarily in the U.K., this will allow me to use electronics at the end of my adventure, when I take trips to other countries. (This is a top priority because updating Instagram is terribly important to me.)
- Rain Coat. I decided to invest in a high quality London Fog jacket with water resistant fabric and a hood, because I get the impression that I will be wearing it very regularly. I managed to snag one for a fraction of the retail price at Burlington Coat Factory.
- Sturdy Shoe Options. Since we will be doing some hiking in Iceland, I needed shoes that could survive water and rugged terrain for a week but would still look cute and feel comfortable for walking all over London. I chose Steve Madden leather combat boots, which I snagged off season and on sale at an Outlet Mall.
- Not Rain Boots. Almost every list I looked at made a point to mention this. Rain boots are way too bulky for limited luggage space when more versatile options (like my combat boots) will suffice.
- Not Umbrella. I think it will be a lot easier to just buy one over there and save myself the packing space/luggage weight. Plus it can serve as one of my souvenirs!
- Good Camera. I plan on using my DSLR for day trips and tourist attractions, but most of the time I’ll probably rely heavily on my iPhone 6s. For me, it’s important to always have some sort of device for potential photo ops/documentation on my person at all times.
- Comfortable Jeans. I’m planning on bringing 1-2 pairs of dark wash skinnies and 1 pair of black jeans. Old Navy is my go-to store for basically everything, and I like to buy jeans there because they fit well and they are very affordable.
- Black Skirt + Black Tights. Looks cute and still matches pretty much everything.
- Basic Layers. The easiest way to stretch a tiny wardrobe as far as it can go and stay prepared for all types of weather is to choose lots of basic pieces to mix and match. So far I’m planning on bringing: 1-2 pairs of black leggings to wear on their own or underneath jeans in cold situations, 1-2 long sleeved tees (maybe one black, one gray) that can hide underneath an outfit for warmth or stand alone, 1 black and white striped tee, 1 black comfy short-sleeved jersey dress, 1 chambray shirt, 2 tank tops (one black, one white).
- Sweaters. I’m thinking I’ll probably bring about 3-4 pullover sweaters, and 2-3 cardigans. Great basic outfit builders for a day trip, or great for layering when it’s cold.
- Dresses. Probably about 2 cute dresses for times when I need to look a little bit more put together. I have a black floral print dress with long sleeves from Forever 21 and maybe one of my favorite Old Navy dresses in mind.
- (Lightweight) Scarves. I’ve always been a little bit nutty when it comes to scarves, but my massive collection will really come in handy for this trip! I’m a firm believer that one of the easiest ways to alter the entire look of an outfit with relatively little material is the use of a good scarf. I’ll probably bring about 4-5 because they take up less space than anything else on my list, and will give me multitudes of outfit options.
- (Warm) Scarf + Hat + Gloves. As of right now, my game plan is to buy these things in Iceland as my souvenir and use them for the rest of the semester.
- Basic Crossbody Bag. Large enough to hold plenty of stuff (phone, cash, passport, notebook, camera?) but compact enough that it won’t be pick pocketed. As of right now, I’m planning on borrowing a Patricia Nash bag from a friend who used it for the same Study Abroad program last school year. Since her bag is fairly large, I might bring an extra (inexpensive) smaller bag of my own.
- Journal. A lifelong love of writing is important to me, so I’m challenging myself to write about what inspires me as much as possible on this trip.
- Bible. I know this item does not apply to everyone, but to me it’s a must have for two reasons: 1) Since I attend a private school, one of my classes is about Biblical study and religious/cultural differences. 2) Although there’s a convenient digital Bible app, having my physical copy with me would serve as a comforting piece of home.
- Book(s). I don’t want to weigh down my suitcase too much because A) I will probably (definitely) buy books as souvenirs and B) I won’t have too much down time for reading on a daily basis. But as a Cardinal Rule, I don’t travel anywhere without at least one book.
- Toiletries. There are certain products that I rely on here that I won’t be able to find there. I’ll probably bring a few travel-sized bottles in my carry on and a few duplicates of certain full-sized products in my suitcase. Basics like shampoo/conditioner or toothpaste can be purchased upon arrival.
- Not Heat Tools. Even with a converter, I’ve read that American flat irons and curling irons can blow a fuse abroad. I really don’t want to destroy my Chi or blow out the electricity in our flat, so I plan on purchasing cheap heat tools at a department store when I arrive.
- Photos. I still like to print physical copies of my pictures, even though I can just as easily view them on my phone or laptop. I’m planning on bringing a few with me to keep on hand for times when I miss my friends and family, and maybe even hang them up with some twine and clothespins in our flat.
There are probably still things I’ve left out or forgotten since I’m a fairly inexperienced traveler. Once I’ve embarked on my journey and fine-tuned my packing situation, I will post an update on major changes. Have any travel necessities in mind that I left out? Feel free to comment with ideas or corrections!