What to Pack When Studying Abroad in the U.K.
As my time studying the U.K. comes to an end, the packing must begin, again. The stressful moment of truth, and the question arises once more… Will all my stuff fit?
My mom and I spent hours packing my 120-liter duffel bag as I prepared to depart for the U.K. All my clothes were:
- neatly stuffed into place
- rolled into balls
- placed in airtight bags where they were sucked into dense sheets of plastic
I packed my many pairs of shoes, makeup, and other “necessary” things into what I feel is by no coincidence at all called the “Black Hole Duffel.”
Zipping it shut was a two-person job. It weighed a whopping 60 pounds, so we payed the overweight charge, and vowed that I would buy a new bag in England.
Lydie exploring England and enjoying the many shopping opportunities.
After many months of feeding my shopping addiction while in the U.K., I have noticed the ‘Black Hole’ doesn’t shut quite like it used to. With nearly four days left until my departure, I have many random bags full of my things all over the place. I did donate a decent-sized pile of clothes, but alas, not all of my stuff will fit into my duffel.
I have traveled a lot since I arrived, and every time I have had to pack up all my things, my packing has become more and more sloppy. So many times I have thought to myself, “Why did I pack this?” or, “Why did I buy this?”
To save you from making the same packing and purchasing mistakes I have, read on for packing tips.
Why Did I Bring/Buy This?
- I brought a tall pair of rain boots with me, and a pair of winter boots. I have worn my winter boots once, and my rain boots have remained in my duffel. It doesn’t rain to the extent I thought it would here, so if you have a small pair of waterproof boots, I think they would do the trick and save you a lot of space in your bag!
- Since I have been in England, I have purchased three pairs of sneakers (trainers in the UK). It might not seem like a lot, but keep in mind that I “needed” to bring eight pairs of shoes from America. And those barely fit. My advice to you would be to only bring three or four pairs of shoes, and try to refrain from shoe shopping.
- I brought all my makeup, the whole lot. Every palette that I owned, but I only use a small selection of it. Just bring what you need and buy whatever you forgot once you get to the U.K.
- Why did I bring four baseball caps? Believe it or not, it’s not that sunny in England. It’s still nice to have a single hat, though.
- Thinking about bringing portable speakers with you to play music and to annoy your host family with? Think again. My portable speakers have been used once, and remains dead as I have lost the charger. Just, don’t bring them.
- Don’t bring all your workout clothes! They take up too much space, especially if you’re not that into working out. I promise that unless you go to the gym a lot when you’re at home, you’re not going have the motivation to go to the gym in your host country. Not necessary!
Shoes Lydie suggests you pack on the left. Shoes Lydie thinks you shouldn’t bring on the right.
So Glad I Brought/Bought This!
- A reusable water bottle! I personally drink loads of water, and carrying a bottle with you is a smart choice. Another alternative to a reusable water bottle is to buy a plastic water bottle and fill it up throughout the week.
- A pair of gloves and a hat. In those winter months it gets brutally frigid. You spend countless hours waiting around for buses, so it is essential to have the proper clothes to stay warm.
- International Phone Plan! A lot of my friends that I made over in the U.K. spent the first week trying to switch their phone sim cards to U.K. sim cards, which made it so they could pay as they went. My international phone plan was instant and with unlimited data I was able to always stay connected.
- My first day in the UK I found where the closest shop was where I could purchase toiletries. There seemed to be a Boots pharmacy within walking distance of where I was at all times, so find out where your closest one is, you will go to it a lot!
Lydie with a friend enjoying an evening out in England.
I cannot emphasize this point enough: When they say to leave room in your bag because you will buy things while abroad, they aren’t joking! Leave room!
What’s the best piece of packing advice you’ve ever received? Let us know below!