Tips and Tricks: Don’t Let Your Suitcase Break the Scale on Your Study Abroad Adventures


Study abroad admission decisions are finally out, and it feels like everyone on campus is either excited for this once in lifetime adventure or getting ready to spend another semester in Champaign.

For me, traveling has never been a huge part of my life, so this summer when I traveled to Hawaii, I experienced things I used to only dream of. Being able to spend an entire semester abroad is a much longer time away from home than my two-week Hawaiian adventure. The struggle was real while I was packing, as I simply cannot fathom bringing enough outfits to last me an entire semester in Europe.

Although I will not be embarking on an Australian or Spanish adventure, I will be in the middle of cornfields, in the comfort of my walk in closet that houses my excessive wardrobe. So how will all my fellow fashionistas keep up their style 5,000 miles away from home?

After traveling to Hawaii and wrestling to close my suitcase which needed to remain under 50 pounds, I came up with some packing hacks to let my fifth favorite pairs of shoes accompany me on that airplane.

It may sound silly, but folding skills will come in handy. Simply wadding your clothing into your suitcase will take up too much room. If you roll your pants and shirts, you will be surprised as to how much more you will be able to take. You can even use rubber bands to make sure your rolling is as tight as possible and doesn’t move around.

I don’t know about you, but my makeup bag weighs about 5 pounds. One travel trick would be to buy travel sizes of your go-to necessities, reducing your makeup bag by almost half. Thankfully, Ulta carries a lot of its makeup products in mini sizes, so I was able to bring everything I needed without the extra pounds.

It may take a lot of contemplation on your living room floor, but be stingy with every item you place in your suitcase. Items that can be worn multiple times have priority over items you will only wear once. Play a long game of “Do I need this,” and “what can I wear this with?”

Purchase a carry-on suitcase that has maximum storage capacity. This may sound silly, but it really does make a difference. I purchased an Eagle Creek carry-on bag for my travel goods and it made all the difference, allowing me to take more than I thought I could. I was able to put items, like smaller clothing items and flat sandals, that didn’t fit in my larger suitcase in my carry-on.

Make sure to have a carry-on bag that securely closes. Being at the airport can be extremely chaotic, and having all your cards, boarding pass, passport or other important documents close to you makes things go much smoother.

Overall, traveling to a foreign country for an entire semester sounds absolutely amazing and packing shouldn’t take away from this excitement. We all know how hard it can be to pack lightly, so try using all of these hacks while packing for abroad to ensure that every last thing you want can be taken with you!

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