The very last thing I ventured to do before leaving for exchange in December 2015 was to pack my suitcase – a suitcase, and a carry-on, that would carry my belongings for the next 7 months. The task seemed so out of my depth I didn’t even attempt it until a few days before, and only because my mum was nagging me to after my many ditched attempts.
But England’s weather is extremely temperamental (as any Brit will jump to tell you the moment you start a conversation with them – no, that stereotype isn’t a lie!!) so packing isn’t an easy feat, though for the majority of the year it’s below 10 degrees Celsius up north, so you’re pretty well set with jumpers, coats and jeans.
I was lucky enough to come home for a couple of weeks during Easter break, so it was infinitely easier for me to nearly completely swap my wardrobe around from complete winter to winter with a touch of spring (honestly, summer happens for maybe 2 weeks tops – another stereotype that lies very close to the truth!).
So, without further ado, here is my personal list that I used prior to exchange, with a few additions that I realised you should probably pack in order to be prepared for anything without going overboard!
I personally used a large suitcase (like this or this ) and a small wheeled carry-on for my weekend trips, as well as a handbag (my trusty Longchamp worked wonders for travel and for uni while overseas). I would recommend a soft suitcase rather than hard, as hard tends to crack with the clumsy lifting of airport baggage controllers – trust me, I used to work in a luggage store. Plus, they tend to have a little more give than a hard shell, and weight infinitely less.
- 2 good, sturdy, warm coats
- A leather jacket
- A few thick jumpers
- Socks, socks and more socks
- Singlets and under-shirts
- 2 or 3 pairs of jeans
- 2 Skirts
- 2 pairs of pyjamas
- Swimmers/bikini (for when it gets warmer/if you’re feeling sporty and want to go in the Uni pool)
- 2 going out dresses
- Thinner jackets
- 3 warm scarves
- 2 beanies
- 2 pairs of gloves
I didn’t pack too many shoes when I left for England, but here are the shoes you should definitely bring with you if space allows:
- A pair of trainers/sneakers (My Nike’s are out of stock, but they’re similar to these)
- A good pair of walking boots
- Heeled boots for those nights out
- Thongs/flip flops
- Ballet flats
A few days before leaving Sydney for a good 7 months, my Aunty created the most amazing package filled with everything I really did need (and use) but nothing I myself had actually thought to pack. It was the handiest thing during my exchange, so here is what you’ll need:
- Bandaids and/or bandages
- Laundry bags
- A torch
- A pack of playing cards (for all the games nights of course!)
- A mini sewing kit
- A mini nails kit
- Photos from home
- Cotton pads
- A mini scooper for cleaning/dust
- Cough lollies
- Make up
It isn’t easy popping your entire life into a suitcase, but with this list I hope it’s at least a tiny bit easier – just remember, anything you forget can easily be bought once you’re overseas, but it always helps to have a little guidance so you don’t forget anything important! What else might you add to this list? xx