I recently returned from my 3 month trip overseas, and it is certainly bittersweet to be home. While abroad, I visited 5 different countries, each beautiful in its own right. Since I was only in most countries for a weekend, I had to pack light. Checking bags at the airport is tres expensive, and a student on a budget should try to avoid it. So instead, I brought a single backpack with me, which proved to be super convenient. By going on several different trips, I learned what was a necessity and what was just a waste of much needed space. I'll share with you my top 3 of each!
3 Things to Ditch
The hair straightener- Yes, I'm sure you'll want to look good for any pictures you may be taking while on your travels, but I promise you, this right here is a massive waste of space. Hopefully you'll be going on too many adventures to even have time to use it, but if you do end up straightening your hair, it'll most likely end up wavy and frizzy in a few hours, since you'll be on the go and the weather will be unpredictable.
The excessive jewelry- Feel free to bring a pair of earrings and a necklace, but if you're going for a short trip, it's unrealistic to think you'll get a chance to wear your entire collection of jewelry there. Options are nice to have, but when it comes to saving space and making a lighter bag, this one is a no brainer.
The party shoes- There will be plenty of bars and clubs that you'll be going to when traveling, but it's best to leave these at home. Not only can they take up huge amounts of space in your bag, but they are heavy to carry! I learned to just wear the same shoes from day to night, since most people won't notice/care. If you are completely set on bringing extra shoes to go out at night in, a nice pair of flats should be fine. Anything more would be a tad excessive.
3 Things to Keep
The sunglasses- Even if you don't think the place you're going will be sunny, you're probably wrong. Sunglasses came in handy in every country I visited. If you're planning on doing anything involving physical activity (like biking in Paris, which I highly recommend), sunglasses are a must.
The boots- A nice pair of sturdy boots will not only be comfortable to walk around in for hours, but will be able to withstand any type of weather. You never know when it will rain in London, so having a reliable pair of boots is beneficial. Not to mention, people wear boots to clubs and bars all the time, so they make a great day to night look!
The extra snacks- If you're traveling on a tight budget like I was, you'll realize the cost of food in Europe really adds up. Packing a few extra snacks to tide you over until meals is a great idea, and it keeps up your energy so that you don't have to miss out on anything while you're adventuring. Granola, nuts, and crackers are great snacks... and my personal favorite... chocolate covered blueberries.