I couldn’t be more excited to be studying abroad in Madrid next semester, but about two weeks ago, when I was eagerly emptying my backpack and brain of any traces of scholarly information, I realized I faced one last challenge: packing.

Because of my parents’ temporary move, going home for the Holidays means packing a little more than normal and triple checking to ensure I have my passport. This time however, I needed to pack 5 months worth of things, which let me tell you, is no small feat. I thought I’d give you a glance of what I managed to fit into my bag—but don’t worry I’ll stick to just my carry-on, because honestly I can’t remember what I packed (read: threw with no semblance of organization) into my large check-in. I also figured this would be good practice in packing a small bag for those short trips I hope to be taking throughout the semester.

  1. Laptop: oh what a joy it is to take this out at airports and place it in its own bin…just kidding. But of course I wouldn’t survive without my trusty computer; we’ve been through a lot together and I can’t thank it enough for being my Netflix provider during layovers. I’ll probably be leaving this behind for most trips next semester unless I need it for something school related.

life is better with stickers

  1. Passport: need to keep track of this one.

Snazzy case, right?

  1. Books: Pictured is the book I need to read for homework that I’ve procrastinated on (shocker). Also pictured is my kindle (yes that’s a Starry Night cover), which remains one of the best gifts I’ve gotten because it’s saved a lot of space and back pain over the years. I just started The Girl on the Train because it’s been getting a lot of attention—stay tuned for my opinion…also, send me book recommendations!



  1. Various chargers: need to keep track of these.

ft. adaptor because hello Europe

  1. Bag of toiletries: I’m the queen of packing one thing, and it’s the Ziploc bag we’re allowed to fill with anything under 3 fl oz for flights. Special s/o to small containers of contact solution and the lovely-smelling hand sanitizers from Bath & Body Works. Noted absence: toothbrush and toothpaste—don’t worry guys I’ll remember them for the real deal.

100 ml of contact solution? be still my heart

  1. Chapstick, Gum, and Water Bottle: A weird assortment of things, but all necessary. Definitely items to stash in those little pockets.

ft. sticker for the Spring Fair I won’t even be on campus for

  1. Pencil Pouches: Call me a little OCD, but I have separate pouches for pencils/pens, highlighters, and colored pens. Okay fine, this happened because I accidentally ordered too many pouches from Amazon. Again, probably not something I’ll tote around with me on trips.

what does ipow stand for?

  1. Phone, Headphones, Wallet: the three most important items to a College student. I don’t want to get into how many pairs of headphones I’ve had to replace.

thought I was being cool with this pic

Replace a couple of items with some clothes and I think I’ve got myself a pretty solid carry on. Here’s to [hopefully] being prepared for some new adventures!