Packing Tips and Nerve-Calmers!

Madeleine LaPlante-Dube Trinity College Dublin, Ireland


September 3, 2015

Most of my friends are already a couple weeks into their Junior years at their respective schools and I’m still at home, packing. The time has finally come – Ireland is officially a week away. I already know that this year is going to be amazing (knock on wood?), despite the fact that I’m going in blind. Well, sort of.

My trip is a little bit different, packing-wise. I will be in Ireland for an entire year (I won’t be coming home during breaks) and have about enough suitcase space to pack for a multi-seasoned two-week vacation. Challenge accepted. Sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got.

In all seriousness, I’ve been doing some research for what I might need and thought that maybe you guys could use a few tips, too. I’ve studied abroad before (briefly) in Peru so I have at least a minimal amount of firsthand experience. Some really great ideas that I’ve come across are:

  • Adapters for those crazy foreign outlets. Buy them in the US! It’ll take too much effort to track them down once you’re where you need to be. (And you might need to charge your phone or your computer right away.)
  • A folder. Kind of obvious, but dedicate this folder to just important docs – Arcadia, your home school and your host institution are guaranteed to overload you with important leaflets that you just don’t want to lose.
  • A light jacket. The not-fashionable, waterproof kind. Not cute, but so adaptable.
  • Just enough outfits to switch around for 2-3 weeks. Mostly staple clothes (t-shirts, jeans, stuff you feel comfy exploring in, etc.). Bring a pair of nice shoes and maybe one or two outfits for a fancy night out. Remember, you have to meet a weight requirement for your checked bags! Quick tip: wear your bulky stuff onto the plane – those boots you want to bring, your heavy jacket. Layer those things on so you don’t have to worry about them taking up extra room.
  • Think about the stuff you really can’t live without and leave the rest. An example of something you can live without: the six other sweaters you really love but wear only, like, twice a winter. Any necessities like hair products, food, or anything extraneous that you have in your bathroom you can buy once you’re there.
  • Prescription tip: If you’ve got medications that you’re really going to need in your time abroad, talk to your insurance company and your medications carrier and ask to see if they can give you enough supply for the entire time you’re away. Some carriers even have things like a “vacation override,” which is basically a way to say that you’re not going to have access to medication carriers while you’re away and need a full supply now. Don’t forget to get documentation for those prescriptions for customs, also.

That’s all I’ve got. It’s easier said than done, now that I’m looking at all of the stuff I want to bring. C’est la vie!

Anyway, just a few short days until I’m where I want to go. Adventure awaits!