Ultimate Packing Guide for Moving Abroad

What SHOULD you pack when you’re moving to Europe, going on an extensive Euro Trip, or finally heading off on an epic European adventure to find yourself? Let me shed some light on this…for the women! Though, men I think you can find some good advice here, too!

What You’ll Find Here:

  • Packing Tips
  • Clothes to Pack
  • Recommended Travel Backpacks & Bags
  • Travel Accessories to Bring
  • European Travel Adaptors

Below, I’ve separated essentials, clothes and accessories– read through and adapt how you see fit. The list is for traveling for at least 1-2 weeks, or MOVING to Madrid to teach or live abroad. The following items if chosen at the maximum number should fit into a travel backpack + a carry on. If you’re only traveling with a travel backpack, bring the lowest amount of clothes with you!

Tips for Packing – What Essentials (Non-Clothing) Items Should I bring?

  • Photocopy of your passport (just in case, God forbid you lose your passport and need to go to an U.S. embassy)
  • Photocopy of every single document you needed to obtain your Visa (if applicable, moving/teaching abroad)
  • Photocopy of your Visa (if applicable, moving/teaching abroad)
  • Your smart phone + charger! (iPhone or Samsung, etc.)
  • Your laptop + charger
  • Headphones, earphones, music devices you can’t live without
  • Your Smart Watch (if you needed in the States, you’ll want it abroad!)
  • Treasured jewelry (engagement/wedding ring, etc.)
  • Daily prescriptions you cannot obtain in Europe (consult your doctor) though most pharmacies will not carry your specific brand, if you tell a pharmacist here they can find a match–for example you can substitute Spain’s Betmiga for Myrbetriq.
  • Your boarding pass (printed!) I know you can just pull them up on the app and use your phone, but you never know! Once my phone died, literally as I was at the gate about to scan it to get on the plane! Luckily, I could pull them up on my email through my fiancé’s phone but it was a stressful 10 minutes…
  • Eye Mask, Ear Plugs, Travel Neck Pillow – if you normally sleep with all the lights off, you won’t be sleeping on the plane–typically planes keep the lights on, even on overnight flights! Bring an eye mask! Ear plugs come in handy if you can’t sleep with a lot of noise, but airplanes can be quiet too. A neck pillow helps stabilize your head while sleeping, and can add comfort to your ride!
  • Travel Sized Liquids (100 ml -approx. 3 oz) for your shampoo, conditioner, moroccan oil, creams, etc.

Tips for Packing – What Clothes Should I Bring!?

  1. Bring clothes you’re ACTUALLY going to wear, that little black dress that you can wear to almost any occasion (fancy, business casual)
  2. Bring clothes you can wear over and over again! There’s that one outfit that might be super cute, but it’s only good to wear once–leave it at home.
  3. Bring clothes you are comfortable wearing all day. I cannot stress this enough! Some cute shirts tie in the back, or tie around your neck or something that may deprive you of all day comfort. Don’t bring those! Travel is tiring and 5+ hours flights can be uncomfortable. When you travel, you just want to do everything–you’re sometimes out all day to take advantage of experiencing a new city or country.
  4. Leave the dry clean clothes at home! Don’t bring high-maintenance clothing with you, I can’t even tell you where to get clothes dry cleaned if not at a hotel for a high price. Seriously, you don’t want those problems!
  5. Clothes are great souvenirs! Did you forget something you love to wear? Don’t worry–you can always buy more clothes! Fashion in Europe and Africa are gorgeous and different! And just imagine when someone asks you, “Where did you get that dress? I love it!” and you can respond, “I bought it in Paris!” 😉

SHIRTS

I know what you’re thinking…how the heck do I choose what to wear overseas?! Simple! What do you wear often now? Take a look at your wardrobe and pick out the following:

  • 5-10 cotton or lightweight fabric shirts, ladies–we all have that one shirt we can’t live without, and that shirt we wear on dates, or shirts that are nice enough for work–bring 1-2 of each!
  • Bring shirts that are plain in design, or look cute with multiple bottoms! Chances are, when you’re traveling, you’re not going to want to lug around a heavy backpack–nor check a bag with a ton of clothes. It’s too expensive, and you’ll realize you’re only going to wear a couple of shirts anyways.

BRAS

Don’t even play, you know you wear one bra for a whole week sometimes before washing it! Bras don’t take up too much space, so you can bring 2-5 bras. I brought 10 and rotate between 5 …smh!

  • 1 t-shirt bra, because they’re comfy and go with almost everything
  • 1 bralette, sometimes this is the only bra that works with certain outfits…
  • 1 sexy bra, well you never know! 😉
  • 1 sports bra, do I need to explain!? The girls need to be held up on travel sometimes.
  • 1 comfy sleep bra, you may stay in co-ed hostels or hotels with friends, maybe you don’t want everyone seeing your nipples out! My boobs are heavy; so I just want them UP when I’m staying in a hotel abroad with friends.

DRESSES

I love dresses! It’s a whole outfit and they’re usually always cute in pictures!

  • 1-3 cotton or lightweight fabric dresses, short or long these can easily be rolled up
  • Bring plain designs so you can wear them multiple times or dress them up with different accessories.

SOCKS

Your feet are always very important, but this is especially so when traveling. Travel in Europe tends to include a lot more walking than you’re used to in the U.S.–especially as a tourist. If you’re wearing shoes that calls for socks, I recommend:

  • 2-3 pairs dry fit, sweat slicking, non-cotton, odor-eliminating comfortable socks. Trust me, you’re going to be walking a lot and probably sweating. You’re going to want some quality socks with you. The socks below are my FAVORITE! I wear them, wash them, wear them and I wear them for running as well.

ASICS Women’s Quick Lyte Single Tab Running Socks (3 Pack), Lavender, Medium

PANTIES

These babies don’t take up much space, and you NEED THEM. Unless you go commando, you can just skip to next part…for the average panty-wearing lady, if you’re good about doing laundry 7-10 should be good…but if you’re lazy like me bring 10-15!

    • 5 quick drying and comfy thongs (if you wear them, and abhor the panty lines in leggings like I do) I’ve linked the EXACT panties I use below perfect for all-day travel and walking–don’t even feel them.
    • 10 quick drying and comfy panties in any style you prefer (for example, I like cheeky and boxer briefs..)


Asics Women’s ASX Thong 3-Pack, Verve Assorted, One Size

 

SHOES

Before I moved to Spain, I lived and worked in Phoenix, Arizona where my Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch told me I logged an average of 5,000-9,000 steps per day. In Madrid, Spain, and in Europe in general we’re all commuters, and generally walk and metro everywhere we go. (I LOVE it!) I log an average 10,000-20,000 steps per day without even trying! If you’re from Boston or New York, you’re probably used to this and already have some good walking/commuting shoes. It really depends on YOU, some shoes are more comfortable than others. All feet are different, with different archs, toes, nails and tolerances. Below are the shoes I couldn’t live without. I wear them everywhere, especially to school.


Nike Womens Free RN Flyknit

 

TRAVEL BACKPACKS & BAGS

This is HUGE! You need a good TRAVEL backpack! My favorite is Osprey’s Women’s Flare Backpack. I’m obsessed with it and when I received it in the mail I was so excited I almost fell asleep wearing it. It has a zillion pockets and safe, weather-proof zippers, comfortable padding on your back–and you can take it as a PERSONAL item on ALL airlines! You can fit a week’s worth of clothes and necessities or more. Trust me, I know from experience!


Osprey Flare 22 Womens Laptop Backpack One Size Black

 

Bags

The style ALL over Europe that I absolutely adore is LongChamp’s line of bags. They are weather-proof, cute, match with everything and timeless. Almost every young lady in Madrid, Spain has one. It’s a great commuter bag for living and traveling. I bring it everywhere–commuting, on the plane as my personal bag, to school with me where I teach–everywhere! When zipped and bottoned, it guards against pickpocketing VERY well.

Longchamp Le Pliage Garance Red Nylon Large Foldable Tote Bag

 

TRAVEL ACCESSORIES

European Travel Adaptor

This is ESSENTIAL. You MUST purchase a European travel adaptor. It’s better to purchase one before you arrive, as they can be more expensive. To charge ANYTHING from the U.S., you must plug these babies into the socket. European electrical sockets are much different than ours. Do NOT forget to purchase this! No one likes when their phone or laptop dies. Also, I use a MacBook and charge my iPhone almost every single day, these adaptors do not damage my electronics. Below are the adaptors that I use! They also work in Morocco in Africa as well!

 


2 Pack European Travel Adapter Plug For European Outlets – Type C, Type E, Type F – Europe Plug Adapter Works In France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Russia & More

 

Surge Protector

This will be easier to charge everything! Your iPhone, your laptop, your smart watch, your camera–all at once! This is essential to have since you’re probably not going to buy 7 adaptors, or bring them on the plane with you! Below is mine, but I bought a black one! The USB plugs don’t charge as quickly–and I bought a USB power strip too and it didn’t work from day one. But browse and find one you like!

Travel Camera

The camera pictured below is the EXACT camera I use to capture and record all of my adventures! I love it! It’s easy to carry around, put in my purse, AND you can transfer photos from the camera STRAIGHT to your Smart Phone via the camera’s WiFi. One of my other favorite parts is it’s high-quality AND you can flip the screen up so you can see yourself to take THE PERFECT SELFIE…or videos. 🙂


Sony a5100 16-50mm Mirrorless Digital Camera with 3-Inch Flip Up LCD (Black)

Waterproof Phone Case!

This is important! You’ll want one for the beach, boat trips, chasing waterfalls, in the snow and anywhere that your phone could potentially submerged in water outdoors. You can still use your touch screen and take selfies and pics too! Below is the one I use; I have a pink one too:


Mosslian Waterproof case,2 Pack Universal Dry Bag Pouch with sensitive Transparent touch screen for Outdoor Activities for iPhone X,8, 7 7s 6s,Samsung S7 Devices Up to 6.0′(Black&White)

 

Leave at home!

  • Bulky clothing – If you’re traveling through Europe in winter, wear your coat to the airport so you have more room! You can always take it off on the plane. If you’re moving to Spain, and want to bring your favorite winter coat, I suggest buying one here! Primark sells them for as low as 10 euros.
  • Blow-Dryer – These take up valuable space, most hotels and hostels in Europe have blow dryers you can use. If you’re moving to Spain, you can buy a really nice one for under 10 euros then throw it away when you move back home.
  • Huge Beach Towels – Buy one abroad! It’ll be a great souvenir–you can roll it up and put it in the water bottle holder of your backpack on your way home. 😉
  • Tampons – You can buy these anywhere. They have Tampax in Europe!

 

Any questions or comments? Leave me a comment–or shoot me a message on Instagram! @CravingCultures

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