Here it is, folks. What you’ve all been waiting for.
Months (literally) of sorting, shopping, cramming, and accessorizing have left us with this…
Mandi’s End-All-Be-All Packing List for Studying Abroad in Austria
First, a word of advice for those of you who may be studying abroad in the future:
The hardest thing about packing for such a long period of time (besides combating a pile of stuff like above) is trying to span the seasons. The only real way to accomplish this without shipping fifty extra pounds of sweaters overseas in October is LAYERING!
To us Texans, this may be a foreign concept. My closet currently consists of tank tops, light jackets, and heavy wool sweaters. What on earth am I supposed to wear for that dreaded 50 degree range, which we don’t experience here?
Therefore, I invested in a few long-sleeved tees, cardigans, light sweaters, and extra scarves.
Let’s begin with clothes! How fun!
The point here is to be able to mix and match any top with any bottom, so that you have hundreds of combinations! (Thus, not needing to cart your clothes to the laundromat every weekend in the rain.)
Basic layering tees: White short sleeve graphic tee (H&M, altered)~Black short sleeve tee (The Limited)~Black and white striped long sleeve tee (H&M)~Black fancy 3/4 sleeve (Forever 21)~Black lacy 3/4 sleeve (Ross)
Light sweaters: Navy V-Neck (J Crew)~Black turtleneck (Gap)~Cranberry Crew-neck (J Crew)~Navy Polka-dot Crew-neck (J Crew)~Turquoise and navy colorblocked (Forever 21)
Blouses: Striped tie-front (Express)~Basic White Button-down (Wet Seal)~Black and Cheetah Chiffon (Dillard’s)~Navy Polka-dot (H&M)
Any of these can be layered underneath a light sweater for extra warmth!
Bulky sweaters: Pale yellow turtle-neck (Buckle)~Thick wool striped (The Limited)~ Heavy navy cowl-neck (Express)
Keep in mind- these items take up the absolute most space in anybody’s suitcase. Limit these, and instead wear lighter sweaters in layers.
Pants: Three pairs of my favorite Levi’s dark skinnies (Dillard’s)~ Black skinnies (Dillard’s)~ Brown and Grey Cords (Jessica Simpson for Dillard’s)
I was going to take two fewer pairs of pants, but Mama insisted that being overprepared was better than being underprepared! Works for me!
Dresses: 3/4 sleeve knit dress (Dillard’s)~ Long-sleeve grey dress (Dillard’s)~ Turquoise lace short sleeve (Belk)~ Navy and black sweater dress short sleeve (Belk)
Any of these dresses can be “warmed up” by wearing tights, boots, or cardigans over. Another neat way to wear a cooler dress in winter is to wear one of the thick sweaters over top, so the dress essentially looks like a skirt. Pair with tights and booties for a super warm combo!
Skirts: Black midi skirt (H&M)~Blue floral skater (Forever 21)~ Fall plaid skater (Dillard’s)~ Thick black (Express)~ Black and white skater (Forever 21)~ Polka dot casual pencil (Old Navy)
I plan on wearing all of these with tights for extra warmth.
Jackets: Simple black blazer (Forever 21)~Black cardigan (JC Penny)~ Cranberry wool cardigan (Forever 21)~ Green Corduroy jacket (Thrifted)~ Thick wool sweater jacket (Wool Overs, Amazon)~ Rain layer (North Face)
In addition to these, I am bringing a wool pea coat for use in the fall, and a ski parka for use in the winter (and obviously for skiing).
I chose a good rain layer after long hours researching, and chose to go with the Venture jacket by North Face. We’ll see how well it actually keeps the water out! Salzburg is known for being very rainy…
The wool sweater jacket was quite the find for me. I can throw this heavy warm layer over any light sweater, blouse, or t-shirt to instantly create the warmth of a single bulky wool sweater. Space-saving for the win!
Shoes: Waterproof hiking boots (Sports Authority)~ Plum Hunter Boots (Nordstrom)~ Running shoes~ Cole Hahn raised flats (Nordstrom)~ Pageboy brown boots (Nordstrom)~ Toms suede wedges (Nordstrom)~ Black riding boots (not pictured, DSW)
All of my shoes were carefully chosen to have thick soles, supportive arches, etc. I added foot petal cushions to EACH pair for extra comfort.
Side note: A pair of flip flops might be utterly necessary, depending on the state of hostel showers wherever I happen to be traveling. Better safe than sorry! But I definitely do NOT plan on wearing these anywhere else other than the bathroom. If there’s anything that screams “dumb American,” it’s these.
Accessorizing is key. I normally wear a lot of black in my wardrobe anyway, but it’s pretty clear how many neutral pieces I am bringing with me overseas. That can get very boring, very quickly.
That’s where scarves come in!
Belts: Gold (Target)~ Brown and Black (DSW). These can pull together layers quicker than tucking, and everything looks so polished!
Scarves: Black infinity (Nordstrom)~ Thick purple (Gap)~ Green pashmina (gift)~ Patterned infinity (gift)~ Crocheted infinity (Made by me)
Europeans LOVE scarves! I’m looking forward to seeing all the ways they style this iconic accessory.
Jewelry: This is where I am having so much fun! I have chosen a handful of key bracelets, rings, and statement necklaces of varying lengths in order to make all of my outfits come alive.
This stuff takes up little room, and stays organized in a travel hard-case jewelry box that I will put in my carryon luggage.
If you thought I forgot earrings, you’re mistaken! Check out how I’m transporting my collection here.
The perfect travel purse (cross body, lots of zippers, good size, able to be dressed up or down)
Pajamas/slippers (make sure you will be warm enough!)
Plenty of underwear/bras/warm socks
A couple sets of clothes for running and hiking (including appropriate undergarments and socks)
Warm gloves, hat
Swim suit (who knows…)
Full supply of necessary toiletries– I learned that with things such as shampoo and body wash, it’s best to wait and purchase over there. However, bring a full supply of contact solution, deodorant, and any feminine products you may be partial to. These things will be much more expensive in Europe, and your brand may be hard to find.
Anything else you’d obviously need I’m sure you’ve already thought of. Electronics and chargers, medications, etc. etc. etc.
Whew. I feel like I have run a marathon simply by writing that post.
Anything I’ve forgotten? Let me know! 🙂
Safe travels, everybody!