To Pack, or Not to Pack

Sydney Parks Arcadia in Greece, Greece


February 11, 2019
Currently Studying at: Arcadia in Greece, Greece
Homeschool: Beloit College

T-minus-four days until I leave the U.S. for four months in Greece. Months of preparing have gone into this moment, but there’s one last thing I need to do before I head for the airport– pack.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you tend to bring way too much stuff when you are at college. Except, I really can’t afford to do that this time. Everything needs to fit into a max of 1 backpack, 1 carry-on, and 2 checked bags. I have spent so long fantasizing about living in another country, buying clothes that are nicer than my normal t-shirt, jeans, and hoodie combo, and researching YouTube and other blogs to figure out what I should bring. I like to call it, “To pack, or not to pack.”

Here’s the thing with clothes, you don’t need as much as you think you do. In fact, I’m probably bringing too many as it is. Laundry exists, and if I do find that I absolutely need a certain item of clothing? Guess what! Stores exist in other countries too! (Who knew, right?) Which means that I can always visit local stores with friends and buy whatever I might need. One thing I did learn while researching the fashion trends in Greece is that you do not want to wear shorts. Those things mark you as a tourist, and that is something that I want to try and avoid. Yes, I will stand out as American, but my goal is to have an immersive experience, so shorts are out of the equation.

Traveling can make you feel gross, so I want to make sure that I have a small set of shower supplies so that I can shower my first day there. The towel that I am bringing is made for backpacking trips. It’s thinner than a normal towel and dries a bit faster too. I don’t personally use hair dryers, curlers, or straighteners unless absolutely needed. Turns out that this is good, because if I were to bring any of those and plug it in? Talk about some fresh fried hair supplies.

I really had to cut back on the art supplies (art minor here). I tend to draw and write a lot, so I made a conscious decision to bring two, and only two, sketchbooks. These will work as a combination of sketchbook, journal, and scrapbook to help document my stay in Greece. I’m bringing the minimal amount of writing utensils and only one notebook for class, as I can buy more once I’m there.

A laptop, phone, and camera are standard for any student traveling abroad. I personally want to bring my 3DS for something to do on the plane, and my iPod so that I can listen to music when I don’t have Wi-Fi. I’m also planning on bringing a speaker and travel alarm clock. Both are small items that I know I will use in my room in Greece.

Then there are all of the random things that I will need. Some are more obvious than others - like a water bottle. For me, I want some pictures of me and my friends from home to help decorate my room in Greece. Pictures don’t take up a lot of room and can be stored in between two, flat, items. Command hooks, twine, push pins, and a cork board will give me places to hang up my pictures or display any postcards that I buy while I am in Greece. Items like contacts, a glasses case, and my retainer (with its case) are also coming with me. Greece doesn’t have a lot of dryers. The main way that I will be drying my clothes is with clothing racks and wires - that’s where clothespins come in handy. I’m bringing a beach towel because I know that I will go to the beach, and I don’t really want to bring my normal towel there and get it all sandy. My travel purse and daypack are specifically designed for travel. The purse has a strap with a wire running through it so that a thief can’t slash the strap. The daypack is a small backpack that opens up from the back so that none of my valuables are easy to get too unless I take the bag off. And I can’t forget my Passport! It would be a really short trip if I didn’t bring that.

I am also making sure to make photocopies of important items that I will take with me; passport, drivers license, credit/debit card, school ID, etc… I will leave one copy of everything at home with my parents, and take at least one set with me to hide in my room somewhere. This is important, so that, on the off chance that something gets stolen, I have all of the information and can cancel anything if needed.

Hopefully, I have all that I will need. My next post will be written when I am actually in Greece so get excited! I know I am!