Getting ready to go abroad can be a very nerve racking experience. Packing was something that stressed me out more than I ever imagined it would. Am I bringing too much? Am I bringing too little? What if I need something and I can’t get it there? My biggest piece of advice would be start in advance. Do not wait until the last minute. I wish someone told me that sooner.

Two days before leaving for Milan, Italy is when I finally started packing my bags. I thought this was going to take no more than thirty minutes and be very simple. Boy was I wrong. I started by pulling out half of my closet and putting it into two large suitcases. As soon as I weighed the bags I knew I had made a mistake. My bags were well over fifty pounds each. I needed to start over and eliminate A LOT. If you are anything like me, you think you need so many different outfits and you are packing things that only work with one specific outfit. You absolutely don’t need to do that. Remember you can always just do laundry! I would recommend packing 3 basic pairs of jeans, a few basic sweaters, a few basic short sleeve tops, a few dresses, and a few skirts if that is something you like. Look for things that can be rearranged to make multiple outfits and not just one and focus on things you know you will wear all the time. When it comes to shoes, one pair of comfy sneakers to walk in, one pair of booties, and one pair of sandals is definitely enough!

Once I finally cut down on clothes, I realized I hadn’t even thought about basic over the counter medications. Sometimes many countries abroad don’t have the same medications or medications in the same strength as in the US. I ran to CVS to pick up Advil, NyQuil, DayQuil, Sudafed, and anything else I thought I might need. I would definitely recommend doing the same. I got sick within my first week of being in Italy and having those medicines was definitely a lifesaver.

Remember you are going to want to shop in whatever country you are going to! Don’t overpack and leave yourself without enough room in your suitcases to bring stuff back with you! Think very simple when packing your clothes, but think a bit more outside of the box when it comes to any over the counter medications you may prefer.