LUGGAGE FOR STUDY ABROAD
It is strongly suggested students travel lightly. You can not worry about repeating clothes. Also, all products are available in Europe. You can buy soap, shampoo, extra clothes, cosmetics, a hair dryer, and other such items on location.
For France, students have a room in Paris for the duration of the trip. No luggage restriction, although it is still recommended to travel lightly.
The Spain and Italy trips have a strictly enforced policy for luggage of one large bag, one carry-on, and one purse/computer bag. The bus and train transportation between cities have these luggage restrictions/prices. You will not be allowed to put any additional luggage on the busses.
I personally use, and recommend, a hiking backpack for travel through Europe. The reality is that you will be carrying your luggage through European public transportation. Metros often do not have escalators. Trains have limited luggage storage. Busses are cramped. The hiking backpack allows you to have both hands free at all times.
An Italy study abroad student created a blog post detailing how they packed for a month abroad. See their blog here: Packing for 1 month in an Osprey 55L Backpack. Additionally, you can see their packing video below.
“From personal experience, I advise against rolling suitcases. Backpacking all the way. 🤘 I participated in both France & Italy and made the mistake of bringing a rolling suitcase first time around. I got stuck in the metro gate upon arrival. By the end of my first trip, I had to get the suitcase stitched together to avoid my clothes from flying out. Also, cobblestone roads are not friendly to suitcase wheels. You will be moving a lot in Europe, and an investment in a quality backpack will save you a lot of time! I used a 45L bag for my clothes along with a collapsible backpack (fits into your pocket) to take to class around the city.” – Patrick Henry
“The last thing you want while exploring a new city is to be bogged down by possessions you don’t need and things you will honestly regret bringing. I have never wished I had brought something that I left back home. On the contrary, I’ve always been relieved to be able to travel efficiently knowing I can get anything I need in the city I am in. A backpack is sufficient to bring everything you would need. If you can afford it, I think an Osprey backpack is the best investment. They have really good quality bags that last. I’ve used mine every year since 2016 for months abroad and it’s practically in the same condition that I bought it in. It’s not the only option though, there are plenty of bags that are more affordable and allow you the same comfort and ease. Definitely opt for a backpack over the other clumsy options, you’ll thank yourself in the end.” – Victoria Atencio
“When it comes to luggage, I’ve fully been converted to a backpack person and recommend it. It gives you easier mobility and limits you from taking your entire closet from back home. If planned correctly, a little WILL go a long way and you will more than likely buy outfits while over there. Might as well leave some space. I also invested in an Osprey backpack and do think they are worth the purchase. If you are going to France and opt out of using a backpack or have a backpack that might be too big for a carry-on, take a smaller backpack as a carry-on and take an extra pair of clothes in case luggage gets lost. Also, wear your comfortable walking shoes on the plane. Some students on my trip did not get their luggage a few days into the trip and missed out on some opportunities because they were scurrying to find clothes and sneakers. Having packed an extra outfit will have you ready to go for class and hold you for another day until you have time to find clothes if this does happen.” – Natalie Brunelle
“I only travel with a hiking backpack, wherever I’m going for however long. The backpack I use is the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack. The shoulder straps have excellent padding, which is crucial for me as I broke my right clavicle three times when I was younger. The fact that the Osprey opens as suitcase allows me to retrieve something without having to remove everything from the pack. There is room for a laptop. I then have a smaller backpack for day hikes. When traveling long distances I either pack the smaller bag in the Osprey or wear it across my chest.”
This travel advice is primarily directed to students participating in Bailly’s FIU Honors College France, Italy, and Spain 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 to 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