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Packing to Study Abroad: What I Wish I Brought

Today is going to be the first in a three-part series of what to pack when you study abroad. This post will be sharing what I wish I had packed, next will be what I actually packed, and the last installment will be what I wish I hadn’t packed. So stay tuned for all of those to come!

One of the biggest concerns (let’s be real, my biggest concern) I had with studying abroad was making sure I brought enough clothes to make outfits for four months and still being under the weight limit of my suitcases. I managed to make the weight easily, but I still had a decent amount of room in my suitcases which stressed me out. It tricked me into thinking I hadn’t packed enough, or at least not the right things. And well I was somewhat right.

I’ve really struggled to put together outfits since being here. One because I brought pieces I actually never wore back home, but I thought bringing them here would force me to wear them. Lol no they just sit in my wardrobe. Two because I didn’t really think about outfits and just threw a ton of neutral pieces in my suitcases. Which is fine, my closest is mostly neutrals, but I left my favorite statement color tops at home which sucks because sometimes I do want to wear color. Especially when it’s dreary and I need to something to cheer me up. Aka everyday Glasgow weather.

There are a couple things I wish I brought that aren’t clothes, as well. So let’s find out what those are!

Packing to Study Abroad: What I Wish I Brought | Everything I wish I had packed in my suitcases before flying to Scotland for four months | Caitlyn Stone

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Clothes

More cardigans

My dumb butt literally only brought one cardigan with me. Like what? Granted it is black, so it should go with basically my whole wardrobe, but not the wardrobe I packed with me.

I kept opening and closing my wardrobe door hoping a more neutral colored cardigan would appear to actually match my outfit. Obviously it didn’t, so I headed down to Primark and bought myself one. I’m obsessed with it and totally see myself wearing it even back home.

More sweaters

Not only did I only bring one cardigan, but I also only brought five sweaters. One of which is a sleeveless mock neck, another I don’t like to wear, and one that is basically just a long sleeve pretending to be a sweater. Basically, I brought nothing to keep me warm. I wish I had brought at least one more. Yo girl needs more than five options when she can only do laundry once every eight days or so. (I literally spent over $30 on laundry in less than a month of being here. WTF!?)

red scarf winter fall ootd Caitlyn Stone

Red blanket scarf

I opted to only bring two scarves with me since they take up so much space: my huge black knit one and my staple gray infinity scarf. My only other staple is my reversible red blanket scarf and having it would definitely help me spice up my outfits and keep me warm.

Long sleeves

Apparently there’s a pattern here, because I also only brought a total of four long sleeves. And one of them I don’t even like!! I can survive without long sleeves (I always roll them up anyway), but I especially wish I had brought my black turtleneck. No way I’m buying another one because I love the one I have back home and I got it for only like $4.

My white button up is another piece I wish I had packed, too. I opted against bringing it because it gets so wrinkly, but I legit never liked ironing it anyways so I should have just brought it. I thought I could find one cheap at like H&M or Primark but they are all like £12 or more! I need to find a thrift shop apparently.

More no-show socks & fuzzy socks

Didn’t really think this would be an issue, but it’s one I can’t stop thinking about. I brought enough normal socks, but not enough of the no-show socks I wear with flats and oxfords. Plus, I brought like all white ones because I originally had my white keys in my suitcase but took them out last minute. Really wishing I had remembered to swap out the white ones for black ones so it didn’t look so strange when I wear my black flats.

I also brought literally zero fuzzy socks. I never wore them back home because I always thought my dorm and house were hot at night, but my flat is freezing!!! I always end up sleeping in socks, and I wish I had fuzzy ones to keep them even warmer.

work attire

Non-jean pants

I thought I had brought a pair of my “work” pants with me but I guess not. Having at least one pair of my pixi pants would be nice so I’m able to dress up a little more than jeans, but still keep my legs warm in the bitter wind.

White booties

This is just me being extra but I want my white booties so badly. I bought them back in November and only got around to wearing them out twice. Back in the US, it’s not as normal for girls to just wear heels everywhere, but legit everyone wears booties here. Plus, of course I come up with a lot of cute outfit ideas revolving around the white shoe when I don’t even have them with me.

Toiletries

Bottle of face masks (not just samples and sheets)

I brought all of my leftover sheet masks and face mask samples from Christmas, but I used up my last one last week. I was so set on bringing at least one of my three full-size face masks with me, but I ended up deciding against bringing one of my tubes of face masks because I thought they weighed too much. I definitely could have fit one and I wish I had because I really don’t want to drop like £5 – £10 on a new one here.

face mask samples

Natural lipstick and gray

Me packing eight different lipsticks was me packing light I swear. But I brought all reds, pinks, and purples. I really wish I had brought a more nude lipstick and my gray one. My gray lipstick would go with so many of the outfits I want to wear out at night!

Related: My First Pub Crawl Outfit (& talking fresh starts)

Other

Towel

Okay, so I totally forgot to take my dad’s advice and didn’t pack any sort of towel with me. He had recommended I bring a hand towel to wash my face and such if I got stuck at an airport. I didn’t get stuck at an airport, but I did arrive in Glasgow at night with no idea where the closest place to buy a towel was. So I kid you not my first night I dried off with the sheet that came with my bedding pack. I never use flat sheets, only fitted ones, so I just threw it away after and found a place to buy towels the very next day. Gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Paperback book

I did bring books with me, but no novels. Paperback books are my absolute favorite, so it’s been a real adjustment to switch to ebooks exclusively. It’s nice because I just have the books on my iPad or phone whenever I want to read them, but I wish I didn’t have to stare at a screen.

Staring at a screen before bed makes it hard for me to sleep, and reading it my usual choice activity before deciding to hit the hay. I’ve gone into the five-story (YES FIVE) bookstore near campus too many times to count, but the books there are so expensive. I wish I had just brought one or two short paperback novels with me.


I hope this post was helpful for anyone trying to plan out their own packing list to study abroad! Of course, this list would be super different if you’re studying somewhere warmer or in a different season.

Remember, this is the first post in a series so stick around to see the other two installments coming soon!

What’s one thing you always make sure to pack in your suitcase?

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