Today is my fifth day of studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, and I thought I’d use this blog post to provide a little insight into what I packed for the trip that has thus far been waste of luggage space, and what I wish I had brought with me that I didn’t. I would like to preface by saying that I have a very mixed travel mindset of eagerly wanting to be overprepared, while also being rather impulsive. Professor Clark provided us with plenty of material that outlined the packing necessities, which was a huge help.
A little bit excessive?
There were definately a few things that I could have left at home, which would’ve saved me headache and luggage space. While in Aix, we have been walking numerous miles a day as that is the main mode of transportation within the city, and it has been in the upper 80s most days. This being said, we have been sweating A LOT. So far, doing my hair nice, personally, has not been a priority, nor a necessity. I brought a travel size kit that had a hairdryer, straightner, and curling iron in it, and the only thing I have used out of it is the straightner, and I only used it once. I found that braiding my hair has been the best option, as it looks neat and keeps it out of my face and off of my neck. I had never traveled abroad so I wasn’t sure what kinds of things would be available for me to purchase here, but I have quickly found out that almost anything can be bought here. I brought a large bottle of aloe, a large bottle of fingernail polish remover, and a lot of hair accessories that I have not used and can easily be bought at the store here if needed. I also brought five pairs of shoes, when I have only been wearing three of them. I would suggest a supportive sandal with a backstrap, some comfy sneakers, and a pair of flats.
Oh, that wouldv’e been nice.
There are a couple of things I wish I had brought with me that I didn’t. We have been walking so much that I think every person on the trip ended up geting blisters on their feet within the first couple of days. While bandaids are readily available here to purchase, I wish I had packed some so that I would’ve had them in those first couple of days when I was still not very comfortable with shopping here. I cannot stress enough how important it is to either pack a waterbottle or purchase one as soon as you get into the host country. I didn’t have one for the first couple of days and it was a real struggle, having to refill old plastic bottles/stress about where I could buy one. These are available in most stores here in Aix, but it would’ve been more convienient to have packed one.
The main thing to remember when packing for a trip abroad is to make sure you have the absolute essentials, e.i. passport, medication, credit card, vaccination card if applicable, etc., and you should be fine. My recommendation for packing is to do some research that is not as broad as just searching for general information about the country and city you will be visiting, but to do some more specific research about the types of day trips you will be taking and the climate that you will be staying in. You will most likely be able to purchase anything that you forgot once you get to your host country, so don’t sweat it!