What and how to pack for a year abroad

So, you have decided to go abroad for a year. It doesn’t matter whether you are going to go to school, travel or live with a family (like I am). You have to pack everything you might need in a suitcase. It isn’t easy to decide what to bring with you and what to leave behind, but it is just not necessary to take everything you have with you.

I am lucky enough that it’s quite easy to travel back and forth to the Netherlands (not that I do it that often) and so I could leave all my big chunky jumpers at home when I left for England in August. But, if you’re going farther away, you will need to pack everything you need in one (possibly more than that) suitcase.

Some general tips

  • Do your laundry before you start packing and take it from there. The clothes that are in your laundry, are the clothes that you have been wearing in your daily life and you will probably want to wear them when you go abroad
  • Only bring clothes that you know you are going to wear for the season that you are going to be moving abroad. If it gets warmer, you can buy shorts and tops. If it gets colder, you can buy jumpers and boots.
  • If you’re moving to a country with different sockets, you will also need to bring an adapter. What I like to do, is bring one or two adapters and a thing with multiple sockets. That way, you don’t need to bring a hundred adapters. You just bring the one, plug in the multiple sockets, and you are ready to charge all your devices at once.

Things you do not need to pack:

  • bedsheets
  • towels
  • full-sized bottles of shampoo/conditioner/shower gel
  • out-of-season clothes

Towels, bedsheets, etc. take up a lot of space in your suitcase that you can put to much better use. If you’re staying with a family as an au pair, they will provide you with towels and bedsheets. (If they don’t, they are shit, and you should try to find somewhere else to live as soon as possible.)

What you CANNOT forget to pack

  • medicine
  • glasses/contact lenses (if you wear them)
  • adapters
  • any electronic devices and chargers that you use

If you’re into the whole minimalistic lifestyle, this is a great time to really clear out everything you do not need in your life and, as I’ve said before, completely start over. Good luck!

Download the Caffeinated Chapters Ultimate Packing List!

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