How to Stop Crying When You're Trying to Pack for a Year Abroad
Picture a big fat suitcase, all empty and lined with fancy organizing pockets sitting open on the floor. Now, picture me curling into a little ball and crawling inside. That is my life right now.
How the hell do you pack for a year abroad without pouring your whole life into the confines of your suitcase?
This has been my endeavor.
Sometimes I wish I was one of those perfect little liars on Instagram that have their lives together with their closets organized by color, their homes empty of beer bottles and burrito wrappers, and their children dressed better than my church clothes. I bet they can pack their suitcase. Or...I bet they have an assistant to do that. The only assistant I have is my cat and he really is not that helpful.
But I digress.
I'm moving to Germany so naturally I am very excited. I will be staying there for a year, working as an au pair. And in all honesty, I wouldn't be surprised if I returned or stayed in Germany. I've tentatively looked at some schools but who knows.
So I'm trying to pack up at least a chunk of my life and move it over to Germany. I know I need things like underwear...socks...my toothbrush...but I mean, there is no guide to packing for moving abroad. I really wish there was! Aw shit-I have a blog. I can just make one myself.
1. Determine what suitcases you are taking.
Probably not taking one, and three is far too many. I am taking a larger suitcase and just a gym bag where I can stuff my clothes into.
Uhg. Clothes are hard. If you're going to be there for a year, you are probably going to experience every season. In some places, like Hawaii or another tropical place, you probably don't need winter clothes.
The biggest tip I can give you is to use layers. That way, you can just get some basics and change them up every day. You don't have to have 100 different shirts for winter, spring, summer, and fall. You can layer them up, take off layers, and add accessories. Stick with the basics-I mean, aren't you going to go shopping while you are away? You can pick up some unique things while you're away.
-2 weeks worth of underwear
-2 weeks worth of socks
-4 undershirts-white and black tank tops
-1 pair of walking boots
-1 pair of non-descript sneakers (I have grey vans)
-5 pairs of pants (I like me some skinny jeans/pants)
-at least 1 nice outfit for special occasions
I am a firm believer that you need at least 2 pairs of comfortable shoes. Here is a guide to some good, comfortable walking shoes.
-2 turtle neck shirts for layering
-2 long sleeve shirts
-long, warm, waterproof jacket
-1-2 pairs of leggings to go under your pants
-warm hat and gloves
-2 pairs of wool/boot socks
-2 thermal shirts
-3 simple fitted short sleeved shirts
-1-2 simple flowy shirts
-a rain proof jacket
-1-2 dresses or skirts
-1-2 flowy cardigans to go over tank tops
I am all about being able to make 100 different outfits without having 100 pieces of clothing. I am not a big clothes person so I am all about functionality. Some people might call this lazy, I call it smart.
Well, you can get most of this stuff abroad. Don't waste a lot of space on these unless you have some particular shampoo YOU JUST HAVE TO HAVE. I have a little organizer so I just fill that with travel size stuff and I'm good. I also bring:
-tampons/pads (you never know)
-extra deodorant/antiperspirant (it isn't the same all over the world!)
-over the counter medicine
-prescriptions (I keep these in my carry on so I don't get in trouble)
-chargers...and maybe extra chargers
-invest in a good power adapter or 2
5. Other goodies
-wallet/passport wallet with lots of pockets
-extra purse or duffel bag for your weekend trips and excursions
-travel water bottle
-$200 in local currency
-stuffed animal or your boyfriend's shirt
You can see some tips on packing your carry on here
Hopefully this helps! I'm not sure if I'm going to pack much better but I guess I will at least get out of my suitcase and give it a shot.