I’ll never forget the first time I went overseas. It was during my sophomore year of college that I decided to study art history in Florence for a semester. I had never even left the U.S. before, so you can imagine how enthusiastic I was about spending a few months in a beautiful, romantic Italian city. In fact, in the months leading up to my trip to Florence, all I did was prepare to myself for the riveting experience; yet once I got to Italy, I realized the one major thing I had forgotten to carefully consider was what items I decided to bring along with me.
Lucky for me, I was able to buy the extra things I needed while I was in Florence, but looking back, I wish I had been more concerned with what I packed in my bags. For those of you who are about to travel abroad, here are four items you should always take along with you.
The last thing you want to do is get to a foreign country and not know where you are or where you’re going. Even before you make it to your study-abroad destination, you should have a map in your hands studying the streets, landmarks, buildings, and hotspots of the city you’re traveling to. By familiarizing yourself with the lay of the land beforehand, you’ll be able to navigate through the streets like an initiated citizen. Even if you get lost during your trip, you’ll have a map on hand to guide you to where you want to go. So during your trip always, always have a map in your hands.
One day on my way home to my Florence dorm, I somehow ended up completely lost. I didn’t have a map, nor did I have a clue where I was. The absolute worst of it was that I didn’t speak Italian. During that terrifying experience, I kept thinking to myself how useful it would be if I had a book or pamphlet to help me translate my English cry for help into Italian. If you are traveling to a country where you don’t speak the native language fluently, bring along a translating book with you at all times. You might never need it, but just in case you do, you’ll know it’s there to utilize.
When I first arrived to Italy, I wanted to dress bohemian-chic all the time. By the second week, I was crying for a pair of walking shoes. Many foreign cities are designed so we can walk our way through them, so it’s always vital to have a pair of shoes you can comfortably walk around in. Plus, nice shoes will take a beating if you wear them down on cobblestone streets or on long walking trips. Even if you don’t intend to do a lot of moving around, you’ll want walking shoes for those rare days you do decide to go out and explore.
Universal plug adapter
Not a lot of people consider bringing a universal adapter along on their trips, but trust me on this one – it’s a worthwhile investment. When I first got to Italy, I forgot to bring mine and ended up frying my $200 hair straightener. You never know what to expect in the places you’ll be staying, so it’s never a bad idea to bring along an adapter on your study-abroad adventure.
I can’t think of one person who enjoys packing early for a trip, but it’s always important to consider what you’ll need to bring along with you before you head off to your destination. For those you gathering items for your study-abroad trip, be sure to make some room for these four essential items.
Karen Smith is an avid blogger who love to give advice on how to utilize an online business degree.