Every year, EF takes thousands of students on the trip of a lifetime—with 50 years of experience, we’ve also seen our share of packing mistakes on tour. Here are our tips on how to save yourself plenty of trouble by avoiding the three most common packing mistakes!
Whether you’re packing for a short-term trip or a semester abroad, there are some things to keep in mind when planning your wardrobe.
Packing Mistake #1: Bringing Too Much Stuff
Often we see students dragging gigantic, heavy suitcases through the airport. When you’re on tour, you can expect to be carrying your luggage over cobblestoned streets and up and down flights of stairs, so you will want to be efficient in packing.
Most people tend to overpack, by bringing too many clothes, shoes and accessories (Pro tip: try editing your on-tour wardrobe by bringing along pieces that you can wear multiple times (like hoodies, cardigans, and other versatile garments) without leaving room for souvenirs and other keepsakes from their time abroad.
Here are our tips to save space and leave more room for souvenirs:
Bring multi-use items that you can wear more than once.
Try to pack clothes that go together colour-wise, so it’s easy to mix and match.
Don’t go overboard with your separates (pants, skirts, tops, dresses). You can bring much less than you think you’ll need.
Bring no more than three pairs of shoes—one comfortable pair for walking, one dressy pair for nice dinners, and maybe a pair of flip-flops or sandals if weather permits.
It is handy to pack an ‘just-in-case’ outfit along with some socks and undies in your carryon.
Packing Mistake #2: Not Bringing “Emergency” Items In Your Carry-On
Be prepared! The reality of travel is that sometimes the unpredictable happens, and your luggage could get lost or delayed.
Don’t be left stranded. Here’s what you need in your carry-on, just to be safe:
An extra shirt
A few pairs of socks and underwear
Travel-sized toiletries (at minimum, you’ll want a toothbrush and toothpaste)
It’s not fun landing in a new country and having to scramble to find these things, when all you want to do is relax and enjoy your trip.
Ensure you’re checking the weather forecast for the time you are in destination to pack appropriately.
Packing Mistake #3: Packing the Wrong Stuff For Your Destination
Be sure to pack clothing that works for your destination! We were recently on service learning trip and one student didn’t have a raincoat in the rainforest, which made for a very soggy time for them. Don’t get caught in the rain!
Check your destination’s weather forecast and make sure you have warm layers or rain gear if you need it. Also, be practical—if you’re going to be walking on the cobblestone streets of Quebec City, you may not want to be wearing those dress shoes.
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