Studying abroad in Europe is a thrilling and life-changing experience. You’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in new cultures, gain global perspectives, and create memories that will last a lifetime. To make the most of your time abroad in Europe, it’s essential to pack wisely.
Whether you’re headed to the historic streets of Paris, the charming towns of Italy, or the vibrant cities of Spain (or maybe all three places and more? After all, isn’t the perk of studying abroad in Europe the accessibility of traveling to so many places?!), here is the ultimate study abroad packing list for Europe and all the adventures you’ll have outside the classroom.
1. Universal travel adapter
First up on our list is a universal adapter. European electrical outlets differ from those in other parts of the world, and it’s not going to be very fun if you arrive in your new home and can’t charge your phone and other devices. We recommend buying a universal travel adapter as many countries have different electric power sockets, even within Europe (so helpful if you travel around!). Here’s a link to the one we love.
2. A pair of comfortable sneakers
Studying abroad in Europe means living like a local and most likely, you’ll be walking and taking public transit to get around, whether you’re headed to class, social events, the grocery store, or other excursions. We suggest a pair of comfortable sneakers that can be functional, stylish, and versatile.
3. Crossbody fanny pack
A crossbody fanny pack will be indispensable for holding your personal items when you’re out and about running errands or going on weekend trips. The crossbody is also perfect to prevent thieves or pickpocketers from stealing your stuff since it’s less accessible to them and protected in front of your body. We love the classic lululemon belt bag (Amazon also sells dupes!)
4. Travel-sized toiletries and medications
Travel-sized toiletries save space and weight in your luggage. Ensure you have the essentials for your flight over, like toothpaste, shampoo, and soap, but also pack any prescription medications you may need, as well as a basic first-aid kit. Remember, once you arrive in Europe, you can always buy things at the store, and you’ll often find that some products are cheaper!
5. Microfibre towel
Another item that can take up a lot of space in your suitcase? Towels! Luckily, microfibre towels roll up very small, dry extra quickly, and are lightweight, making them perfect for travel. Even if your dorm or host family provides you with a towel, most likely, it will be a standard fluffy towel, and we suggest still packing a microfibre towel. If you plan on traveling around Europe while you’re studying abroad and staying in hostels, having a microfibre towel is great, as some hostels don’t provide towels or charge you a fee, and you’ll save tons of money.
6. Portable charger
Being in a new place, you’re probably going to be taking lots of photos and videos to share with your family and friends back home. You’ll most likely be using your phone for maps and directions. The worst thing is to be exploring and then your phone dies. This is where having a portable charger comes in handy! We love this portable charger.
7. Reusable water bottle
While tap water in Europe is drinkable, when you’re in public, it is rare to find public drinking fountains or restaurants and cafes that offer it for free (they will make you pay for bottled water). Bring a reusable water bottle when going out and you’ll save a lot of money (and plastic). We recommend this Nalgene bottle, because it is lightweight and holds a TON of water. You can also put stickers on your bottle of all your new travel destinations, if you’re into that!
8. eSIM card
Avoid data roaming fees and expensive international phone plans with ZIM Connections, an e-marketplace for e-sim cards. Their monthly phone plans are way cheaper than purchasing your carrier’s international phone plan and the process of signing up is super easy. If your phone is eSIM compatible (most phones are), all you have to do is download the app and select your plan. It takes 10 minutes and you can buy it before your semester abroad starts or once you arrive. With HostelPass, you can also save 20% on any ZIM plan too!
Last but not least, if you’re planning on traveling during your semester abroad in Europe, then HostelPass is a must-have. HostelPass is a digital discount card for European travel, and gets you up to 40% off Europe’s best hostels, tours, experiences, museums, and so much more for an entire year. It is completely digital so won’t take up any space in your suitcase, and the savings you can earn from it are huge! Check out all of our available discounts here.
Ready to study abroad in Europe?
Besides adding these essentials to your study abroad packing list, check with your school’s program if there are any additional items you’ll need based on the country you’re living in or courses you’re taking. For example, sometimes programs will request you bring specific clothing or other items for your classes or field trips. If you plan on traveling throughout Europe, backpacking, or staying in hostels, we’d also recommend checking out our Ultimate Hostel Packing List.
By checking off these travel essentials from your Europe study abroad packing list, you’ll be well-prepared for whatever your study abroad experience has in store for you. We hope you have an incredible time in the classroom and beyond. Happy travels!