Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The Ultimate Year Abroad Packing List

The Ultimate Year Abroad Packing List | www.hannahemilylane.com
Packing for a year abroad. The hardest part of it.

No I'm kidding, it doesn't have to be that hard. My boyfriend packed the afternoon before he left. I on the other hand was thinking about what I would and wouldn't bring months in advance. I own a lot of clothes as I've not grown out of anything since I was around 11 years old and I find it super hard to get rid of them. The thought of only being able to take 1 suitcase for an entire year was nearly enough to bring me out in a cold sweat.

I ended up packing 2 suitcases, 1 of which I took with me when I flew out, the other I left with my mum to bring out when she visited 3 or 4 weeks after I arrived. The second suitcase mostly had winter clothes in and seeings as I arrived in August, I definitely didn't need it straight away. I bought a few bits when I arrived to save on packing space too.

Here's my list of all the things I would recommend bringing, the things you won't need and the things you definitely don't want to forget.


I would recommend packing as few toiletries as possible, as you will more than likely be able to buy whatever you need wherever you're going. I bought my shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, sanitary products, deodorant and a moisturiser all when I got here. The only thing I really brought with me was my makeup and my Hydromol because 1) buying new makeup is expensive and 2) buying Hydromol is also expensive and might not even be that easy in Germany (I haven't tried – yay for my skin condition clearing up before I ran out).

So in summary, don't pack easy and cheap to replace toiletries, but pack products you need and might not be able to get a hold of in your destination country and you absolutely can't live without.

What I packed:

  • Makeup
  • Hairbrush
  • A few tampons
  • A small bottle of toothpaste and showergel for the first night
  • A towel
  • Painkillers
  • Hydromol
  • Self tan
  • Small bottle of my fav perfume

What I shouldn't have brought:

  • A towel – cheap enough to pick one up here and took up space in my suitcase
  • Self tan – Lol. I came at the end of the summer and it was warm for about a week before I changed into jeans for the next half a year.

What I should have brought:

  • More painkillers – I don't particularly like buying drugs abroad, and I always seem to need pain killers the most when I least want to venture out. 

The Ultimate Year Abroad Packing List | www.hannahemilylane.com


This was the easiest part for me. I knew exactly what technology I wanted to bring - everything haha. I would rather have an extra camera lens than an extra pair of shoes.

One thing I did do, which proved to be a good idea, was back up my Macbook before I left on an external hard drive which I left at home. This has been the best piece of mind, especially when I lost my laptop!! But I also have an external hard drive here which I use to back up regularly, and back up all my photos on Flickr and documents on OneDrive.

What I packed:

  • Macbook + charger
  • External hard drive
  • Memory stick
  • DSLR
  • Lenses, filters, lens hood, tripod, battery and charger, etc
  • Digital camera
  • IPod + earphones
  • IPad + UK and EU charger
  • IPhone (lol apple addict hi)
  • Kindle
  • Graphics tablet

What I shouldn't have packed:

  •  I'm not sure.. I've used everything I've brought with me.

What I should have packed:

  • SD card reader – I bought a new macbook not long before I left for my year abroad, and forgot that my new one didn't have an SD card reader built in, so I now use a memory stick. I forgot to bring this though, so my Dad posted one out for me. Not the end of the world as it's only small but a bit annoying.
  • EU plug for USB chargers – Another thing my Dad posted to me (thanks Dad!). Very handy to have as they're so small and it means you don't need an adaptor for your phone charger.


Clothes are definitely the most difficult bit for packing for me. I made a pretty comprehensive list before my year abroad with clothes I wanted to take which were multi-seasonal, multi-outfit and neutral colours. I didn't really stick to the list. There will definitely be clothes you wished you'd packed and clothes you wish you hadn't, if you're anything like me with a style that varies by mood, you can't avoid this. So make sure you've got the things you need at the very least, and then just pack your favourite things! You can always buy more clothes wherever you're heading.

Things I packed

  • Leather jacket
  • Denim jacket
  • Parka
  • Wax jacket
  • Waterproof
  • Black ankle boots
  • White Converse
  • Pumps
  • Wellies
  • Black Vans
  • Heels
  • Denim shorts
  • 3x skirts
  • 2x dresses
  • 3x jumpers
  • Cardigan
  • 3x blouses
  • Denim shirt
  • 4x pairs of jeans
  • 3x checked shirts
  • 2x hoodies 
  • Gym stuff
  • 5x tops
  • 1 pair of joggers
  • 1 long sleeved pj bottoms
  • Underwear
  • 2 scarves

What I shouldn't have packed

  • Wellies - They were super useful when I went to the Black Forest and there was really heavy snow, but other than that I never wore them! I was expecting a snowy winter but I didn't see any snow at all in Mannheim. A good pair of winter boats would have been more practical.
  • So many jackets - Even though I wore all of them, I don't think I realistically needed them. I could have managed fine without my denim jacket and probably wax jacket, but it was nice to have options!

What I should have packed

  • Socks - I can't believe I forgot to pack more than 2 pairs of socks!! 
  • Winter boots - I could've done with a really decent pair of practical, winter boots. 
  • Summer clothes - Most of my clothes are wintery, and now that it's over 20 degrees every day it's safe to say I am melting!!

The Ultimate Year Abroad Packing List | www.hannahemilylane.com


I wanted to make sure I packed some 'decor' things for when I was feeling a bit homesick and to make my room feel a little more like mine. There was a few other bits I thought I might need so I made sure to include them to.

Things I packed

  • Grammar books
  • Notebook
  • Pens & other stationery
  • Umbrella
  • A few pieces of jewellery
  • Straighteners
  • Photographs
  • Dreamcatcher
  • Bags x3
  • Sunglasses 
  • Prescription glasses

What I shouldn't have packed

  • I'm pretty happy with the things I brought here! I can't think of anything else I shouldn't have brought.

What I should have packed

  • Blu-tack - I brought photos and nothing to put them up with!
  • Fairy lights - a room is not a room to me without fairy lights so I regret not bringing a set!

Packing tips

  • When packing clothes, do not pack anything you have not worn in the last 6 months. If you haven't worn it recently, you definitely won't on your year abroad.
  • Think about the climate - Germany has cold winters and I didn't pack a pair of gloves or sensible boots, and I didn't bring as many summer clothes as I probably needed even though I am spending 11 months in Germany. 
  • Don't overpack - you can always buy things when you arrive!
  • Bring the things you use most and the things you can't live without.

If you think you can't realistically pack in one suitcase, don't worry! Packing for a whole year in under 23kg is HARD. If you need to bring more but your airline charges ridiculous fees to bring an extra suitcase, I would recommend having a look at UniBaggage. They can ship a bag for you which can be up to 30kg and most likely cheaper than the airline! And you won't have to worry about lugging it across a city with you, as they do the hard work for you. 

You can get a discount by using this link here

Packing Checklist

Pin it for later:
Packing for the year abroad is DIFFICULT. Here's the ultimate guide full of tips and a FREE checklist to make your life a little easier, so you don't overpack or under pack! | www.hannahemilylane.com

*This is not a sponsored post, but I have included an affiliate link. This means that if you book with UniBaggage I will earn a little bit of money, but you also get a discount through the link! 

Hannah Lane

Related posts:

40 Thoughts Everyone Has Before Their Year AbroadHow To Find Accommodation In GermanyFeeling Homesick

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