You ultimate guide to packing for a year abroad / Blogmas, day 8

In 4 days I’m going to be on a plane headed to Canada. I’m going to live in Toronto at least until summer 2018.

Everyone keeps asking me if I’m ready to go and my answer hasn’t changed in a while. Mentally, I’m so ready, I’ve been waiting for this for so long. But then, I don’t have anything ready yet. Of course I have a nice running list of things I still have to buy and things I need to remember to bring abroad with me, but that’s all.

Your ultimate guide to packing for a year abroad

This post isn’t about what to bring and what not to bring. That is a personal choice and it depends on why you’re spending time abroad and what you’ll do there. If you need a packing list, you can download mine from here.

In this post, I want to share with you a strategic plan to make packing less stressful and intimidating.

Step 1: make a list

You should know by now that my favorite weapon to get things done is a list. So, first things first, write down all the things you want to bring with you. Right now I have a running list that I update every time that something comes to mind, but it would be more ideal to have a list divided by category. Check what you already have and what you should buy. If you have to buy something new, consider buying big/heavy things at your destination.

Step 2: declutter

Now that you have a list of things you need to bring abroad, you can declutter your closet and your room. Throw away anything broken or useless; donate clothes and items that are still in good shape but you haven’t used in the past year. This way you’ll make room for all the new clothes and souvenirs you’ll bring back home from your time abroad.

Step 3: plan your airplane outfit

You should plan what you’ll be wearing while traveling to your destination before you start throwing things in your luggage. Remember to wear something comfortable and warm. If you can, wear the heaviest shoes and the clothes that, if packed, would take up a lot of space.

Step 4: pack

I’m sorry, but now you’re on your own. Just kidding, I still have a few tips for you, even if this is my least favorite part about traveling in general. The first things to go in your luggage should be big and heavy items. Then, you can fill up all the gaps with shirts and underwear. If you have to pack really big items, like a coat or a bathrobe, consider buying compression bags. I still haven’t put to use the two I’ve bought, but my friends swear by them, so I can’t wait to try the magic myself.

Step 5: carry on

I tend to have a lot of faith in airline companies and I almost never pack extra clothes in my carry on. Most of the times, my carry on is just my backpack with just documents and electronics in it.

How do you usually pack for big trips?


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  • Katja Knox

    Great tips hun – I’m planning an epic three week rail-holiday in the summer and this really helps 🙂
    Katja xxx

  • Atzimba Pahua

    I’m just traveling (via train) for the holidays and although it’s not as big of a trip as yours, these were all still super helpful. Thank you for sharing and safe travels, girly!! 🙂

  • Toronto must be a great place to live. I so envy you. 😃 Tips you’ve shared are quite useful too. Will keep in mind.

  • Luisa O’Donnell

    I’ve never gone anywhere long term but a few of these tips are ones I apply to going on any trip💛

  • Raluca Lo

    Very useful tips! I just moved from Europe to the USA, so I can confirm that decluttering and making lists are two essential steps!

  • I’ve never been to Toronto but it’s on my travel list! I always love packing tips posts as I’m so useless at packing lol!

  • Molly O’Connor

    OMG what a cool experience, Toronto looks amazing!!! These are great tips, I make a list for every trip!

  • Karoliina Kazi

    Decluttering and making lists are few of my favourite things to do! Enjoy your big move and your year abroad!

  • Joyfully Frugal

    Decluttering is HUGE before any big trip or move! I’m about to get started with a massive declutter myself in the new year and I’m not even going anywhere. 🙂 Good luck with your travels!