Packing for a Year Abroad

How do you pack for a year? And contrary to popular misconception it’s not bathing suit weather 365 days a year. On top od that it gets quite cold during “winter” in major cities and can even snow. You can guarnettee I will do everything in my power to avoid the cold, but it would be naive of me to think of only bringing warm weather clothes.

Since college I’ve been trying to adopt a minimalistic lifestyle and it’s just been a multi-year work in progress. I’m definitely better than when I was in NYC and even more so than when at school, but I’m not there yet. My philosophy while packing was not “less is more,” but “I don’t want to always do laundry and I don’t want to buy things that I have at sitting at home.” I also had the thought process that if I left something at home and could live without it for a year then I really didn’t need it at all. So major clean out will happen once I’m back from Australia.

When I found out the airline I was flying allowed you to bring two 32kg (about 70lbs) suitcases free of charged, I took advantage of the situation. I packed two large suitcases, one carry on bag, and a backpack. Yes, I brought way too much. I fully admit that, but I haven’t had to buy much and I hope to eventually let go of some things as well.

At JFK airport about to take off

A more practical “backpacker” packing list would be like so:

  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 5 tops
  • 1 skirt
  • 3-5 dresses
  • 1 evening dress or outfit (ex. LBD)
  • 3 workout outfits
  • 2 bras
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 5 pairs of socks 
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 pair of plastic flip flops 
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 pair of pjs
  • 2 pairs of swimsuits
  • 1 pair of sunglasses 
  • Travel sized toiletries
  • Sunscreen 
  • Deodorant 
  • Water bottle

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