Travel Advice: Attire

On study abroad, comfort and flexibility generally take precedence over style. The class is outdoors every day of the program and students will need to be ready for heat and cold…sometimes on the same day. One of the most important items to purchase for a positive experience for both programs is an excellent pair of walking shoes. Get the best shoes, and wear them in prior to the start of the trip. Again, the only way to truly experience most European cities is on foot. The class will walk anywhere from 4 to 8 hours daily, with an average of 10 miles a day.

Two items are strongly recommended: an anorak and a scarf. The anorak will be crucial when it rains (umbrellas are not practical). A scarf will be essential to cover exposed shoulders or legs when the class enters a church. Many female students opt for leggings.

España 2022 of the FIU Honors College in Sitges (Photo by JW Bailly/CC BY 4.0)
España 2022 of the FIU Honors College in Montserrat (Photo by JW Bailly/CC BY 4.0)

Please read Vicky’s advice below.

“Okay: the experience of studying abroad is a unique one. Even if you travel in the future, it will never feel the same as going in a group of students that become family. And traveling with Bailly is an experience you will not find anywhere else. When packing, less is more. Europe has very affordable and stylish clothing stores, like Primark, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, and more. Zara is also way cheaper in Europe than in the USA. Cosmetics can be purchased in stores like Kiko, very good quality and cheaper than in the USA. My advice is to bring the bare minimum and find anything else you need in Europe. When I travel, I purposely leave with space in my suitcase so I can bring back clothes from Europe. If you are worried about having enough outfits, leave with clothes that you wouldn’t be too emotionally attached to (don’t bring your favorite dress). Once you wear it, take photos in it, get rid of it (just leave it in the Airbnb or donate it) and buy something else. You can also use vacuum sealed bags that DON’T require vacuum (you can find these on Amazon) and use that to save space. I use one vacuum bag per type of clothes (1 bag for tops, one for bottoms, one for dresses, etc). This helps me stay organized. You can fit ALOT in one bag.” – Vicky Justiz

“Invest in good walking shoes. This is something that’s better to have off the bat than to wait and purchase over there. Head to outlet malls here in Miami, more than likely you’ll find some great deals on sneakers. I’ve seen New Balance, Nikes and Adidas shoes for around 30 dollars. I’d recommend two sneakers as a safe bet. Weather is often unpredictable. If you get hit with rain, it’s better to have dry shoes when walking than to have to walk long distances in wet, muddy ones. Also, buying some good, thick socks will prevent blisters that can prevent you from walking those 10 mile days comfortably. When it comes to outerwear… Decathlon, Decathlon, Decathlon. This was ingrained in me by study abroad alumni before I went on the trip and I will pass the same torch on to you. Decathlon is a sporting good store that has EVERYTHING you need for outdoorsy adventures. Save your money and luggage space and head to this store the first week you are in Europe. There are multiple locations in France, Italy and Spain, so it won’t be hard finding one. Here you can get good quality and cheaply priced Anoraks, water bottles, small-large backpacks, sneakers and a variety of other goods. Small foldable 10L backpacks from there are great to have in hand and also make great gifts for back home.” – Natalie Brunelle

“I’m the absolute worst in giving advice for this. I generally wear hiking clothes from Decathlon and waterproof New Balance shoes every single day. If I find an effective piece of clothing, I will go ahead and buy multiple copies of the exact same item. My health and comfort are disproportionately more important to me than fashion.”

This travel advice is primarily directed to students participating in Professor Bailly’s FIU Honors College EspañaFrance, and Italia, Study Abroad programs. It is intended to help twenty-somethings explore, seek adventure, and truly immerse themselves in a culture. The goals are to travel affordably, travel safely, and live like a local. Always remember,  however, that what works for some, may not necessarily work for you. Ultimately, your decisions are your decisions.

Isabella Marie Garcia Stephanie Sepúlveda & John William Bailly  09 February 2019

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