Packing for a long trip or even forever

Keep it simple, don’t be like me

One of the most difficult tasks, when you are about to leave your country, is the packing. How can you pack your whole life in one (sometimes two) luggage? The point is: You can’t, and you will have to choose what is important and what could just stay back. Yes, you will leave not only your country but your life behind you. But don’t worry! This means that you will also have the unique opportunity to start a new life.

Here you have some tips for this stage of the trip, I never got them when I traveled, thus I made a lot of mistakes, but you need to learn from errors and then help others not to do the same.

First of all, don’t do as me. In the picture, you can see how many things I had for a trip from Colombia to Belgium, with a stop in Madrid and then a train to my final city, plus the bus to the place I was supposed to live in. Yeah, it was a nightmare. Try to bring as less as you can, especially when you have a lot of connections.


Take your time for packing, maybe one week before the trip is OK to start thinking about the luggage. Then, start with the basics:

  • Be clear about your destination, where is it located? what station of the year is it there? what do people normally wear there?
  • For instance, if you are coming to Europe between September and March, you might need some winter clothes, moreover, if you come from the equator, it means that you probably don’t have seasons in your country and it is important to bring some gadgets as gloves, hat, and scarf.
  • Jackets and sweaters are the most significant in space, bring with you as much as you need but do not exaggerate. Always save some space for the rest of things.
  • Avoid heavy things as umbrellas or drink bottles. You will have time for buying them at the new place or even if you go back to your country some day for a visit, you will be able to pick those things up.


  • If you are a sportive person, then you should also pack some sports clothes and a pair of sneakers.
  • Always bring a couple of jeans and some formal pants with you, but keep it simple.
  • T-shirts enough for one or maximum two weeks. You will find public washing machines everywhere.
  • Be careful with the shoes, bring with you only what you really use: sneakers, sandals, and boots. Maximum 4 pairs (including the one you are wearing).
  • You can save space if you pack your clothes in extra bags (those you use for going to the gym or school).
  • Don’t pack food with you unless it is something you are sure will not find anywhere else in the world. It takes space and is heavy, just save space for the important.
  • Use a hard shell suitcase like this if you are doing a long trip, because on planes and buses, they are more resistant to scratches. You can also find some cheap “combos” on for a suitcase and hand luggage, just like this.
  • There are several Youtube videos of people explaining how to effectively pack a suitcase, you can look at this one from Heathrow airport as an example.

The trick

Remember you can always buy anything you need also, so better bring with you the basics. You will start a new life, that’s for sure, so why to bring everything with you? Bring whatever you need for a week or two, that’s the trick, then you will buy a lot of things (I can assure you that). Packing will be easier, for sure.

Do you see the difference after 10 months? (in the picture below, specially the Stich). I had to move from France to Germany with all this, plus a bike! Sometimes I don’t even remember how I could do that. Luckily I was with my boyfriend and we rented a car (and drove 1300 km). Normally you will have to manage yourself with trains, bus or planes, therefore shipping your things is the best option (and might not be cheap if it is as much as I had). You could check this website for shipping.

After 10 months, more than double!

Not easy..

I know this is not easy, you are about to leave behind everything you love, everything you know, everything you have. But please: don’t pack your cat with you!


No living animals!
No living animals!

I hope this post was helpful for you. If you have further comments or suggestions, please contact me. Share to your friends, they might also find it interesting.

Ps: I didn’t bring the cat with me, he wanted and cried, but the packing of living beings is hard.


7 thoughts on “Packing for a long trip or even forever”

  1. So interesting, but tell me more about your experience about language, food, and life style adaptation. I am trying to know a little more many countries in Europe, but I honestly do not know which countries to visit first, Is there any suggestion on your part, within your experience traveling and knowing European cultures? I will be there next January.

    Thank you so much for your early response.

    1. Thanks for your comment Agness! I’m glad to hear from you. Indeed packing is very important, that’s why I will write another post soon for backpackers in general, not only for students, as I did in this one. And this is also a collection of experiences that thought me how NOT to pack hehe. best regards!

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