How to Pack for Study Abroad in the Fall/Winter

Hello darlings! As you seen from my pervious post I’ll be going abroad in a few days for four months. Since I’m someone who overpacks, it’s a little crazy to think I have to pack for four months in one suitcase and a carry on. I stalked high and low for the past six months to hopefully get a taste of what it would be like to pack my life up into two suitcases. Today I did such a thing.

Before you start the packing process, you need to look up where you are staying and see what the average temperature/weather it is going to be. Here are the average temperatures for Siena, Italy:

Average Temps by Month Highs Lows
September 81 °F (27 °C) 59 °F (15 °C)
October 72 °F (22 °C) 52 °F (11 °C)
November 61 °F (16 °C) 45 °F (7 °C)
December 54 °F (12 °C) 40 °F (4 °C)

A more important tip is to roll your clothes in order to pack as much clothes as possible. Just fold your item in half and then roll from the bottom. This makes the garment confined and easy to squish in your suitcase. An example of this:

folding

The fist layer… That is right I have two layers to my suit case. The first layer of your suitcase should be things you’ll need when it starts to get colder. I packed jeans, sweaters, long sleeves, cardigans, and a jacket on this layer.

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The first thing I packed was all my jeans. I knew that I could easily fit about 7-8 pairs at the bottom of my suitcase. I originally packed 8 but then I realized I really wouldn’t need that last pair because of how many dresses I brought. I’m someone who owns a lot of crazy pants so it was kind of hard to narrow it down. However, I realized I should pack jeans that go with pretty much everything. If that means leaving my awesome water painted pants at home so be it.

If you’re going abroad then you need three classic blue jeans. One for wash day, one you’re wearing, and one for tomorrow. You can wear these with any of shirts and don’t have to worry about clashing. For the colored pants I recommend bringing my two favorite colors olive green and maroon because they compliment a lot of different colors. They also are really good to pair with a graphic shirt. I also recommend bringing black and grey pants because they can be used as a neutral like the classic blue jeans.

jeans

Deciding what to do about the jacket situation was very difficult for me. Since my stay in Italy will range from 81 °F to  40 °F, it was hard to decide if I needed one. I decided on bringing this fall jacket and then if it gets really cold and unbearable I’ll buy a nice Italian winter jacket there.

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I also packed four long sleeves and four sweaters. Even at school in Albany, New York I rarely wear long sleeves. I love wearing cardigans and tank tops instead. That is why I didn’t pack as much. If you love long sleeves I recommend bringing them but know that they do take up a lot of space!

long sleeves

Cardigans and button downs are great for creating more outfits. You can drape them on your waist, wear them open, button them up, and even button and tie over a dress! There are a lot of different combinations to wear and its a great layering piece in the fall/winter.

Cardigans. I recommend you bring two thin cardigans and two thick. In a lot of religious cities, like Rome, you’re not allowed to show your shoulders. That is why you should bring a thin cardigan and just throw it on when you’re near a religious site. The thicker cardigans are great for numerous reasons. When it is starting to get colder, you can wear it as a jacket or under your jacket. You can also use it as a blanket on the train or plane ride. I recommending not packing one in your suitcase and bringing it on the flight to Italy because you can save a lot of room in your suitcase AND you’ll have a blanket on the plane ride.

Button Downs. I think ever girl should own a million of these bad boys. They can be used like the cardigans and they can also create a chic outfit by tying it around your waist. They also look a lot more polished than a cardigan.

Vest. Like the button down and the cardigan, a vest can create many different outfits. I numbered it as one of the 6 things you should get before you go back to school and I still believe so! I’ll probably be doing a post about this later on in the fall but it really is such a staple.

Cardigans:buttondowns

New layer! The second layer of my suitcase is what I’ll be wearing in the warmer half of my stay in Italy. This includes dresses, skirts, tank tops, pjs, sports wear, and bathing suits.

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Lets start with dresses. The reason I decided to get more dresses this summer and pack them over more jeans is because you can created so many different outfits with them and no one will notice you’re wearing the same dress. You can wear it as a skirt, as a dress, you can even wear it as a top. It’s also extremely easy to pack because you could have a whole outfit by just packing that one garment.

Plain dresses. You need one plain dress, one going out dress, one nice dress, and a couple of casual dresses. Now thats a mouth full! Ever single dress you pack, you should be able to turn in into a couple of different outfits. You can do this with graphic shirts, plain shirts, and sometimes even tank tops if you have the right dress. (One is missing from this picture because I was wearing it. It is pictured in this post… the American Eagle dress).

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Pattern dresses. The same rule applies for the pattern dresses: You have to be able to wear it more than once in a different way. When you pack try to think of at least three different way you can wear it. If you can’t think of three then do NOT pack it.

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Skirts. Skirts aren’t really necessary for bringing abroad I just am really into this not-wearing-pants thing. Although they’re not necessary, I really do recommend packing a midi or maxi skirt. Some places won’t actually let you inside if you don’t have your knees covered and if it’s hot out I don’t think you want to wear jeans.

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For transitioning some of the skirts and dresses into the winter I packed a few pairs of tights. Also this scarf is great for adding something to an outfit.

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There are couple of different kinds of shirts you should bring.

Plain. This one is kind of obvious. You can easily wear these pieces in many different ways. I packed 5 different  colors of tank tops and 5 different colors of plain shirts. They can be worn by themselves, over dresses, and spiced up with jewelry. It’s really up to you how you wear it.

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Graphic tees. Graphic tees can really add some personality to your outfit and spice up a rather boring outfit. I actually forgot one shirt in this picture it’s the New York New York one.

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Fashion Tees and Tanks. Basically if you see yourself going out and wearing these then pack them. They’re easy to layer with cardigans and go great with all your jeans.

shirts

Shorts. I’m not much of a short person but I decided to pack a few pairs just in case I get tired of not wearing pants.

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I’m packing these two jackets because they’re easy to just throw on if I get cold.

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Swim wear. I recommend bringing only two pairs of bathing suits because one can be wet and one can be dry. Since I’m a crazy over packer, I packed three.

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Shoes. Sorry for that one awkward photo. Since I’ll be walking a lot in Italy, I need shoes that are super comfy and won’t give me blisters. I’ve been testing out most of these shoes and hopefully they’ll do the trick. I’ll most likely be wearing around a lot of the boots, boat shoes, and sandals. Since flats and sandals take up such little space, they’re easy to pack. Just make sure they’re comfy before you pack them. You should test out your shoes before you decided which ones are going over seas with you. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and you don’t want your feet to hurt!

shoes

Jewelry. I’m packing every day jewelry that I know I’ll wear. I have a lot of necklaces that I love but don’t wear all the time so I will not be packing them. When you’re packing jewelry ask yourself how many times you’re going to be actually wearing it.

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Chargers. Since you’ll be in a foreign country, you’ll need different plugs. This white one is for my computer and camera charger and the black one is for my phone charger. I will be purchasing a straightener over there so I don’t have to worry about the converter being fried.

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Not pictured but still packed: 5 bras, 10 pairs of socks, 14 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of yoga pants, 5 pajama bottoms and tops, and 3 pairs of running shorts with matching tops.

What was packed: 7 jeans, 1 jacket, 4 cardigans, 4 button downs, 4 long sleeves, 4 sweaters, 6 plain dresses, 8 patterned dresses, 3 skirts, 3 pairs of tights, 1 scarf, 5 plain tank tops, 5 plain shirts, 5 graphic shirts, 6 dressy tops, 11 dressy tank tops, 6 shorts, 2 lightweight jackets, 3 bathing suits, and 6 pairs of shoes. That all weighed about 56 pounds. United allows 50 pounds so I need to take some out and put some into my carryon. I actually have nothing in my carryon right now so I’m not terribly worried about splitting things up. I may give up some shorts if I am terribly desperate and maybe the grey jeans.

I still need to get some random things like bobby pins, an umbrella, deodorant, etc. Most of the necessities like shampoo, conditioner, soap, and notebooks for class I’ll be buying in Italy.

If you need more help for figuring out what to pack, I really recommend looking at Chic Street Style’s post on how to pack for study abroad. She really helped me gather my thoughts on what to pack!

Six more days until I leave! I’d love to know your thoughts if you have studied abroad or even if you’re going to!

As always,

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Don’t forget to follow me on social media so you get a sneak peek of where I’ll be in Europe!

                   

22 thoughts on “How to Pack for Study Abroad in the Fall/Winter

  1. Hi! I have a question if that’s okay with you…How were you able to find a host family in Italy? And you mentioned that you’ll be studying there, I would also like to ask if it’ll be a part of a scholarship or something. I also wanna experience living in another country. Thank You!

    1. Questions are always okay with me! My college set me up with this program. I believe that you can still go through the same program even though you don’t go to the same college as me. I would look at their website and maybe even contact them. http://www.sienaitalianstudies.com

      I hope this answered your question! I think living in another country for a little bit of time is definantly something people should pursue because you’re really never going to have that opportunity again.

  2. I’ve been abroad twice (Mexico and Northern Ireland), and will be going for a third time soon (Germany). My advice on the coat would be to take it. It’s super cheap to travel within Europe and you might decide to travel north. The Alps really aren’t that far away. 🙂

    1. Oh shoot I didn’t really think about traveling and it being colder! Thank you so much for pointing that out! I hope you had a wonderful time with your abroad experiences!

      1. Travel always has it’s ups and downs (Dublin is definitely a down. So is food poisoning.) But overall, my experiences were great. I am going again afterall! Enjoy Italy.

      2. Take a camera, but live in the moment. Go down weird roads and alleys (as long as it feels safe), and don’t make it a goal to hit all the touristy stuff. The best experiences I had abroad were all completely unplanned lucky turns off the beaten path.

        I’m also going to say not to be afraid to skip class to travel (this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip after all). Just don’t do it too much. I skipped a total of three days to do a couple of extended weekend travels. Worth it!

        As far as classes go, make sure that you ask in the beginning how the final exam will go. After arriving in Northern Ireland, I found out that their exams were after Christmas, during my first week back at school in the states. It took two months to sort all that out and each class was different (one proctored exam in the US, one taken early in NI, and one essay to replace the exam).

      3. Wow, thank you for all that advice! I’ll be sure to go off the path and live in the moment!
        That sounds like a disaster with your exams! I hope everything turned out okay!

    1. Hahah! Rolling up really does help I swear! It takes a little practice to master it… hopefully one day I’m super mastered!

  3. I am currently leaving on Sunday to study in Germany for a year and I just started packing and I have no idea where to start. So thanks for this, it’s so much help!

    1. I’ll actually be going to Paris on my 10 day break! I can’t wait to explore! I’ll be checking out your blog for sure.

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