There are always a few important items that could slip your mind when packing for a semester abroad. While you were packing your trendiest outfits to fit in with the locals, you probably forgot to pack a universal adaptor to use when you travel on the weekends; forgetting that not every country in Europe takes the same type of plug. Here’s a list of items that might have slipped your mind but that you won’t regret picking up before studying abroad.
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Yes, these actually exist and they are very reasonably priced. Lets face it, no matter how little we try to use our phones while traveling there is usually a need for them somewhere down the road and that need usually comes when our battery hits 10%. With these portable chargers, all you do it charge the extra battery before you leave and it will provide you with about 20 hours of extra charging time, and there’s no need to run around the airport looking for an outlet that might not exist. This one from Anker is highly rated on Amazon and can be used to charge your camera as well.
Read next: The 5 Best Cameras for Study Abroad
2. Hair-dryer and flat iron with dual voltage
Girls, nothing is worse than plugging your straightener into a converter and all of a sudden seeing the red light turn off. I have tested many different straighteners and blow dryers abroad, and have broken most of them. Yes, you can buy a travel-sized hair dryer that will take 30 minutes to dry your hair, but I found that the most efficient hair electronics are the ones either with the correct plugs or that are dual voltage. Electronics that operate with dual voltage can be used abroad with just an adapter and not a converter. Try a hair dryer like this one by Remington and a flat iron like this one from HSI Professional.
A journal is a necessary item for all travelers. You do not have to be the next J.K. Rowling to keep an interesting journal– hey, it’s just for you! You can write one interesting thing that happened each day, you can write down funny quotes, or you can have friends you meet along the way write down words of wisdom. There is no better souvenir than a collection of your own stories. For some simple, budget-friendly options, try trusty Amazon, or Target.com has some chicer options, like the journal above.
4. A small enough carry-on bag
Budget airlines are a cheap way for students to travel while studying abroad, but they often have strict rules for the size of your carry-on. You will save a lot of money and energy if you check out their carry-on bag max dimensions before heading abroad so you won’t be slapped with a checked bag fee each time you fly with your bag that’s just a little too big. Check out these suggestions for backpacks and suitcases for your weekend travels, or shop the American Tourister shown above.
5. Neck pillow
Neck pillows are a traveler’s best friend. We all will at some point take at least one long bus/train ride during our travels abroad and what better way to spend those long hours than having a comfy place to sleep and rest your head. I recommend getting a neck pillow that has a hook at the front like this Memory Foam one . That way, it can conveniently hang on to your bag and you don’t have to worry about carrying it.
Whether we want to admit it or not, it rains in every city around the world. Would you rather walk around in Florence looking like a tourist in a plastic poncho, or wear your stylish raincoat that still looks cute in pictures, like the one shown above? Raincoats don’t take up much room in your suitcase and even if it just rains once, you will be happy you brought one. If you’re not a raincoat kind of person, at least invest in a travel umbrella. Yes, there are many people on the city streets selling umbrellas, but these last for a total of five minutes before disintegrating into at least two pieces or more. Other than these cheapos, it’s very difficult to purchase a decent umbrella for under ten dollars, so buy one before you go and pack it.
Read next: Must-Have Items for Cold-Weather Travel
7. American snacks
As much as you are excited about indulging in the delicious Italian pizza or Madrid’s famous churros, there will come a time when you’ll crave your favorite American snack. It doesn’t hurt to pack a jar of peanut butter, a box of funfetti cake mix, or some mac’n’cheese in your suitcase. They might add a couple extra pounds to your bag, but just think– after you eat it all, you’ll have some extra room to bring home all of your souvenirs.