It’s about a half-hour bus ride from UCD campus into the center of the town where I find my favorite study spots and exploratory outings, so I don’t want to forget anything I might need for the day when I leave.
Water Bottle: Good for the planet and good for your body. As the kids say, hydrate or die-drate.
Umbrella: Sometimes it’s too windy to use an umbrella, but there are plenty of downpours heavy enough that you’ll want it. I’ve forgotten it a few times when I’ve ended up needing it, and let me be the first to tell you, arriving soaked to the bone is NOT the look.
Change: I alternate between putting it in a small pocket in my bag, a change purse, and my pants pocket. Still undecided about which is best.
Wallet: Cash, Leap card, student ID, bank cards, Irish Residence Permit (INIS asks you to carry this on your person at all times). I have a bigger wallet that I use at home, but since a large number of my cards are for businesses that aren’t available in Ireland, there’s no need.
Kindle: I’m never without something to do thanks to my Kindle. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to read more than almost anything.
Portable Charger: Absolutely ESSENTIAL. With the way mapping software and taking photos drains my battery, I’d never get through a full day out without it. Mine has room for something like eight full phone charges in it, so I’ve rescued plenty of friends as well.
Planner: I always say that if it’s not in my phone calendar AND my planner, it’s not going to happen. I take my planner with me whenever I’m not strapped for space so that I can add things immediately and check back on details later.
Journal: Need to make a list? Write your feelings? Store a ticket stub or receipt? Leave a note? Carrying a notebook has you covered.
Laptop: This is where the ‘homework’ that I go into the city to do gets done… no, really! People make a ton of jokes about how much you actually ‘study’ during study abroad, but in my experience, the workload isn’t actually lighter. Because you do far more fantastical things with your time off (visiting the Rijks museum in Amsterdam, for example, instead of watching Netflix) it creates the illusion that there’s no time left to get work done. If someone wants to tell my seminar professor that I shouldn’t have a 3,000-word essay due at the end of term, though, that would be fantastic.
Laptop Charger: When the days of studying grow longer, you’ll want the extra charge.
Organizing Bag: I swear by organizing your purse with little bags so passionately that my friends have to cut me off at least once a week to keep me from soap-boxing again!
Wall Adaptor: Because, of course, the plugs are different here! I always feel like I’m announcing my Americanness to the world when I pull one of these out of my bag, even if I haven’t spoken a word.
Sunglasses: I’ve noticed that not nearly as many people wear them here as in the US, even on those rare sunny days, but I’ve been glad to have them plenty of times.
Folding Bag: Whether it’s an unexpected trip to Tesco, or Penney’s, it always helps not to have to carry back your purchases in your hands or in a single-use bag.
Bandaids: Simple to carry and indispensable to have when they’re needed.
Sticky Notes: I only bring these when I plan on studying, but it really helps to organize my thoughts when I do.
Hand Sanitizer: If I’m about to eat after a day of touching door handles and bus seats, I’m glad to have it. It’s also helpful for after eating.
Headphones: Do I even need to explain?
Antacids: Kind of an unusual thing to have with you, but I can’t tell you the number of friends I’ve saved after bumpy bus rides, big meals, or bad smells. An underappreciated lifesaver.
Painkillers: Far more common to have in a purse than a container of Tums, but even more beneficial. Just be careful how you take them- I once took one for a headache while at a pub, and then had to explain that the only pill I was popping was Advil.
Chapstick: “Can you bring me my chapstick?” – Napoleon Dynamite, but never me!
Writing Implements: The journal and planner are no use without a means of writing in them.
Hairbands: You know things are getting serious when it’s time to put your hair up.
Acupressure Ring: A nifty little device I found in a shop in Amsterdam that helps you use the pressure points on your hand to relieve tension. I don’t know whether it actually scientifically works, but the placebo at least does wonders when my shoulders get tight.