Copy editor Jennifer here! This exact time last year, I was gearing up to spend my fall semester abroad in London, England. Nothing could have prepared me for such a magnificent experience, but I effectively busied myself beforehand by scouring the web for cost-efficient finds—and frantically attempting to fit three and a half months of clothing into one suitcase. Less is really more on these kinds of prolonged trips, so I’ve compiled a streamlined guide of essentials to help point you in the right direction. Check these eleven items off of your list, and then get ready for the experience of a lifetime!
1. A raincoat (Modcloth Rain Dots Keep Falling Raincoat): A raincoat was particularly handy in London, but I also always brought it with me everywhere I traveled. It kept me comfortably cozy for months of in-between weather.
2. A cute multipurpose backpack (Everlane The Twill Snap Backpack): On the weekends I often took advantage of England’s close proximity to other countries on my must-see list. To save money, I never once checked a bag on these trips—I simplified and packed everything in a carry-on. This waterproof backpack is my pick!
3. Airline-friendly travel kit (Up&Up Travel Airline Security Kit): I brought this exact kit with me and filled up the bottles with shampoo and conditioner for those weekend trips around Europe. I packed them in my carry-on and never faced any issues with airport security! (Still—be sure to check your airline’s website before each trip, just to be safe.)
4. An everyday cross-body bag (Frye Campus Mini Crossbody Bag): Definitely bring along a hands-free means of carrying your money and phone.
5. A coin purse (American Apparel Framed Coin Purse): Wherever you’re going, there’s a good chance you’ll be carrying around more coins than you ever anticipated. After a few weeks of agitated digging through my wallet and purse, I realized this would be worth every penny.
6. An oversized scarf (Ozetta Handmade Scarves): A thick, oversized infinity scarf doubles as a headscarf in cold weather and as a kind of blanket on chilly bus, train and plane rides. I bought mine on Etsy before I left—I love supporting small businesses.
7. A travel journal (Rifle Paper Co. Bon Voyage Everyday Journal): I saved ticket stubs, brochures and photos from all my travels and scrapbooked them into this journal (by date!) when I got home. It’s such a wonderful way to relive and remember special times.
8/9/10. Tons of layering pieces (Topshop Hybrid Lace Panel Tunic Dress / J.Crew Linen Studded Tank / Madewell Turntable Skirt in Ikat): I paired easy, versatile dresses and skirts with tights and boots all the time. This tends to look a bit more polished than jeans (and is very often more comfortable!). Choose soft fabrics in shapes and styles you love, and then mix and match to your heart’s content.
11. Durable, versatile footwear (School Uniform Women’s Wide Blakeley Riding Boot): I can’t stress this enough! I invested in these LandsEnd boots before my trip and now find myself recommending them to absolutely everyone. They proved incredibly comfortable—and the buttery rich leather always elevated my ensembles. Perhaps the best part: LandsEnd has a lifetime guarantee!