I’m a natural-born procrastinator – always have been. And unfortunately for me, preparing to study abroad was no different and I didn’t do myself any favors. Sure I got myself to Australia safely, on time, and everything worked itself out but here is a short list of the things that I wish I would’ve done before I left SF! Behold the procrastinator’s guide to packing:
The Procrastinator’s Guide to Packing tips
#1 Do Your Research! Seriously!
Actually take the time to read the blogs of previous abroad students. Which if you’re reading this then you are, so good on you! (That’s the Aussie equivalent of saying, “good for you” and they say it all the time!) I made things so much harder on myslef by thinking that I already had all the answers or that I could at least figure it out on my own. I practically did no research beforehand and I hate to think back on the torture that I put myself through and the wasted money spent on last-minute quick fixes. The Gilman Scholarship was graciously awarded to us students to make our lives easier so do your part to make your life easier as well!
#2 Figure Out What to do With Your Things
And I don’t just mean the things that you’re planning on taking with you abroad! When I was living in SF, I was living with two roommates and my only family is in San Diego. So I had to figure out what I was going to do with all of my stuff for the next year: Somehow get it all back down to San Diego to keep with my parents? Pay for a storage unit in SF? Luckily, my roommates were nice enough to give me a small space in the house to keep my things boxed up until I get back but I did have to get rid of a lot in order to fit everything into the space. This could potentially be the most important tip in the procrastinator’s guide to packing because it could mean that you need to plan ahead and move your things elsewhere.
#3 (If Needed) Figure Out What Stays and What Goes
Since I was given such a small space to keep my things while abroad, I had to use that space wisely and get rid of a lot of things to make it all fit. Well, my plan was to give myself enough time to go through all of my things and to sell what I decided to get rid of but being a procrastinator, the only thing I gave myself enough time for was putting my things out on the street for free, literally the night before I left SF.
#4 Now for the Stuff You’re Taking Abroad
Studying abroad, you want to try to pack light. Even if you’re going for a year. Buy space saver vacuum storage bags – I got a variety pack of 15 for less than $21 on Amazon.com. They also came in great handy to save me space for the things that I packed up and left in SF. Ultimately I ended up packing my year-worth of things into a large suitcase, a smaller suitcase, a large workout bag, and a standard-sized backapack. But be warned! The space saver vacuum storage bags may save space but shove enough of them into a workout bag and it will be so heavy that it will rip before you even leave SF…Also, be aware of the suitcase measurement and weight requirements not just at your home airport but also at the international airport that you’re landing in – I had a layover in Brisbane, AU before flying to Melbourne, AU and my large suitcase was too heavy so I had to unpack and redistribute my things between my suitcases before they could board them on the plane.
While the procrastinator’s guide to packing is designed to help, you’re much better off not procrastinating! Now watch this awesome Ted Talk about the perils of procrastination and get yourself up and moving!