Guest Blog by: Jenni Maier (blogger extraordinaire, studied abroad in Madrid)
Before you go abroad everyone and their mom (and annoyingly enough your mom) tells you what to pack. But no one takes the time to sit down with you and tell you what NOT to pack. You can only bring two suitcases over with you so make sure to save all your poundage for the things that really matter.
1. Sweats – While pants with elastic waists may totally fly at home on your college campus, they’ll get you horrible stares when you wear them outside in Europe. And don’t even think about spandex. Even the homeless men will heckle you in the streets. While going back to pants with tricky devices like zippers and buttons may be a challenge, it’s well worth it to fit in.
2. Heels – Definitely bring a basic black pair but no more (unless you’re a guy, then you’ll want to bring your whole collection). Europe’s totally ancient which means many of their streets are cobblestone instead of paved. That means every time you take another step, you risk your heel getting caught and broken off. So unless you’re into the one-legged-limp-look settle for flats.
3. American-Anything – People in other countries don’t exactly love America. Sure they watch our television and trash talk our celebrities like they’re trying out to be euro-PerezHilton, but they have no tolerance for American values or pride. So if you were planning to use your American flag as a snuggie for the next four months, think again.
4. Electronics – Go ahead and trust all the converters but be prepared to plug in your straighter one day and watch it start sparking up like it’s preparing it’s own fireworks show. While it may cost more to buy straighteners, blow dryers, and camera chargers abroad, you’ll end up saving money because you won’t have buy all your stuff again when you return to America.
5. American food – Everyone thinks they can’t live without peanut butter for a few months but they’re wrong. It’s clinically proven that many people have survived without it. Take advantage of all the new and different foods in your new country rather than stocking your suitcase full of preservative-filled favorites.
7. Prescription Medicine – Bring over all the drugs you need for the first month or so, but after that start refilling your prescriptions in Europe. Everyone forgets that Europe isn’t a third world country and has access to the same medicines we do. Not only do they have most of our medicines, but they’re one billion times cheaper. My $80 allergy medicine in America cost 2 Euros abroad. If I had taken my own advice I could have brought over five more going-out shirts instead of wasting suitcase space on 16 extra nasal sprays.
*Note*- Check with a doctor before taking this advice
8. Drugs – There’s nothing worse than being sent home as soon as you arrive in Europe. If you’re lucky your parents will kill you as soon as arrive back in America, if you’re unlucky you’ll be sent back to school and be forced to explain to everyone why you’re not abroad after all. Be smart. If you absolutely can’t live without unprescribed drugs, stock up on Advil PM for the flight over.
9. Gym clothes – Sure gyms offer special discounts to American students studying abroad (10% off a million euros) but you’ll be so busy exploring, traveling, and recovering from hangovers that you’ll never end up going. Odds are by the time you get home you’ll be able to say vodka in six different languages but won’t remember how to turn a treadmill on.
10. American Money – Get everything exchanged into Euros before you go over. While there are currency converters all over the place, they can have long lines or even be closed. You’ll be ravenous when you get off the plane and it’s pretty hard to buy food with dollars. You would have better luck trying to use Monopoly money at an Arby’s in America than you will trying to find someplace that accepts U.S dollars.