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How to Solve Your Overpacking Problem and Survive a Long Flight

Jan 25, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

Rachel Cholewinski_Florence

Rachel is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Business Administration major at Merrimack College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Rachel tackles overpacking, shares her packing list, and suggests 6 ways to survive a long flight.

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Tackling Overpacking

I am the queen of overpacking! As much as I want to bring ALL my shoes abroad… my suitcase just would not close. After talking to other students who went abroad, I ditched my overpacking madness and started figuring out what I actually needed. The main tip I have received when packing has been to pack basics (t-shirts, comfy shoes, a jacket, etc...) and to not stress about not having enough clothes because YOU WILL GO SHOPPING THERE. Florence in particular has a Zara, Brandy Melville, and H&M so if you do forget something you can easily pick it up there.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Spring2018_From Rachel Cholewinski - Packing_1.jpegA smaller suitcase that'll fit on the plane's overhead bin and for weekend travels.

With this in mind, I divided my list by figuring out what items I could get in Italy and the stuff I definitely needed to bring. For the most part I followed CAPA's guidelines for packing and just added a few extra details below that helped me along the way!

To start, I ordered new luggage on Amazon, which included a larger main suitcase and a smaller one that I can bring as a carry on. In addition, I am going to bring my backpack to put under my seat on the airplane. I'll use this to put important documents in and to carry my camera.

Another packing tip that has also been helpful for me is purchasing a traveling makeup bag. This will help me keep my hair products, makeup, face cream, hair ties, and jewelry all together and easy to carry to bring on weekend trips.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Spring2018_From Rachel Cholewinski - Packing_2.jpegMy makeup bag help keeps everything organized and easy to throw in my suitcase!

My Packing List

Below is my packing list that I have found helpful!

Items I'll Get in Italy:

  • Blanket
  • Sheets
  • Towel
  • Straightener (because of the difference in voltage)
  • Blow dryer
  • Notebooks for class


Necessary to Pack:

  • Basics including everyday comfy t-shirts
  • Jeans
  • Leggings and tights (to wear under dresses)
  • Skirts
  • Nice outfits like dresses and rompers
  • A winter jacket and other lighter jackers to wear in warmer weather
  • Tons of sweaters
  • Bathing suits
  • Medicine (Advil, NyQuil, and DayQuil)
  • Booties, sneakers (like my Vans), sandals, and rainboots
  • Hair product, makeup, and face/body cream
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Water bottle
  • Side bag
  • Scarf, mittens, and hat
  • Headphones

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Spring2018_From Rachel Cholewinski - Packing_3.jpegOne side of my larger suitcase–mainly sweaters and comfy shoes! 

Surviving a Long Flight

I have been on long flights before, but nothing that compares to a distance like this. Luckily, my first flight to Amsterdam is at 7:30 at night so I could easily sleep for most of it. But here are some helpful tips to keep calm on an airplane and help the time go by a little faster!

1. Bring a journal

Bring one to write down all your thoughts. If you are excited or anxious you can just write it down and let it go!

2. Purchase a coloring book

I know this sounds a little out there, but there are adult coloring books that have cute designs and can really help keep you busy. I personally find coloring calming and a good way to pass the time.

3. Listen to music

This is a great way to distract yourself and block out the noise of a crying baby or the man snoring next to you.

4. Watch a movie

Some flights might provide movies to watch, but if they don't or you don't like the movie that's on you can always watch something on your iPad or computer. Personally, I'll be bringing an iPad on my flight and will stream movies on Netflix.

5. Bring a neck pillow

If you are trying to sleep, it is really helpful to have a neck pillow to make it more comfortable.

6. Read a good book

A flight is the perfect time to get through a good book and can help you fall asleep!

Thanks Rachel!

Rachel's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Florence Program

Topics: Florence, Italy, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations