Packing for Three Months


Last year I interned in Washington state (across the country from my parent's house in New York and my college in Delaware) and packed a 50lb suitcase, 30lb box that my parents shipped me, backpack carry on, and purse. Of course, over the course of the summer I bought a few things, so even after mailing back the box my parents had sent me, I showed up at the airport with a suitcase that turned out to be 15lbs over the 50lb limit. A charge of $100. And there was no possible way I could get 15lbs out of that bag.

This summer I'm back in Washington state, and I committed to not having the same packing problem as last year.  I packed far less of certain things, and more of others. With this experience, I'm dedicating this post to anyone who has a summer internship, or someone studying abroad, so that everyone can eliminate the situation I was in last year.

1. Ask Questions!
Find out about where you will be living and your daily activities. Most people (myself included) tend to think that Washington is very rainy. What I didn't know was that I was going to be living on the eastern side of a mountain range, in the "rain shadow" region, where it would basically be a desert. So I ended up packing rainboots, jackets, and sweatshirts that I never once touched.

I also thought that since it was my first "big girl job" I would need to bring lots of professional clothes to the office. When I showed up my first day in nice pants and a blouse my boss laughed at me and said that he hoped I brought some other clothes because I'd be working in a wet lab where I would likely get fish water all over myself. Again, there was an entire section of my wardrobe that I never touched.

2. Pack for the Reality, Not the Dream.
I imagined that my free time in Washington would be spent bar-hopping with the other interns, and visiting Portland and Seattle on the weekends, so I packed for it. Lots of cute little dresses, skirts, and crop tops sat in my closet the entire time I was there, virtually unworn. If I had thought about the reality of the situation I would have realized that a bunch of science interns on a tight budget weren't going to be the partying type, and I would have only packed one "going out" outfit.

3. Pack What You Actually Like.
If you don't like it enough to wear it when you're home, you're not going to suddenly fall in love with it when you're on the other side of the world. Even if it's the most practical piece of clothing it won't do you any good if you're not going to wear it.

4. Don't Skimp on the Undergarments.
Pack all of your underwear and bras. Unless you have an obscene amount, you'll probably want all of them. Personally, I know I hate doing laundry and being on the other side of the country isn't going to change that, so having the maximum amount of underwear possible will save me a lot of loads of laundry.

5. Pack Pieces That Can Be Worn With Multiple Outfits.
My favorite pieces of clothing to have with me when I travel are my solid colored v-neck tshirts. I can wear them with sweats to bed or I can dress them up with nice jeans, heels
and a blazer. Make sure to pack versatile pieces so that you can mix and match your outfits instead of feeling like you're repeating week after week. 

This year I managed to pack only a 40lb suitcase, purse, and backpack carry on for my entire summer, and I'm sure some people can do it in even less! Hopefully this helped some people and please leave a comment if you have any more suggestions for readers!

Liz Cipriani

My name is Liz and I'm a 22 year old with a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation. I love beer and fashion and exploring the outdoors, and am currently figuring out how to do all of the above on a post-grad budget.

14 comments:

  1. This is great because I'm moving abroad to get my master's in London for an entire year! I plan on only taking a carry on and checking in one bag because I'm more than positive I'll get what I need while I'm there. I don't want to take too much but I'm a girl so that's hard, haha! I just saw a magazine article that talked about using certain pieces with one same dominant piece and I loved it! I love pairing pieces that can be worn with multiple pieces! Love it! Great post :)

    Xx Kalee

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    1. Thank you! And have so much fun in London! Will you be getting your degree in just one year?

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  2. Such great advice!!! I had this same problem once when packing for a summer abroad and brought WAY too much stuff. I'd even go so far as to recommend a "clothing budget" for when you arrive, just to buy things like t-shirts and sundresses at walmart that don't necessarily need to make the trip home with you! Just donate when you're done.

    great advice!
    www.cookwineandthinker.com

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    1. I did that with some books last year! I don't know that I could do it with clothes though, I get attached!

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  3. OMG great advice. I would've loved having this article handy before I went on my study abroad a few years ago. Pinning and saving this for my future long-term travels. Great read girl.

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  4. I did a study abroad in England for 4 months and had two suitcases about 40 lb. each and a backpack. It was definitely tough! I tried to bring a lot of versatile clothing. I also ended up buying a lot of clothing because I discovered Primark over there!

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    1. Yes, it can definitely be hard when you collect even more things! Last year I ended up with a bunch of things from a street fair in Portland that I ended up having to mail back home.

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  5. I did pretty much the same thing when I spent a summer semester at a different school in a different city. It was summer, so I packed shorts, tanks, and sandals, but then it was a chilly and rainy summer so I wore none of it. I was totally unprepared so I ended up having to guy and buy a hoodie, umbrella, etc. 50% of my wardrobe was untouched. I should have looked up the typical weather for that city for that time of year!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I ended up having to "go and buy" haha not guy and buy.

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    3. It's such a simple thing but I think we all forget how different some areas of the country can be as far as weather!

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  6. Great packing tips. I wish I had some trip/intership planned, but I'm too old ;) Great job on getting your packing down this time. Good luck this summer!

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    1. Thank you! But uou're never too old to travel haha!

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