Study Abroad in Buenos Aires: What’s in my suitcase(s)?

Feb 27, 2017 5:30:00 PM / by Stephanie Sadler

CAPAStudyAbroad_BuenosAires_Spring2017_Elizabeth Withers - Copy (2).jpgElizabeth Withers is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A double major in English literature and history & philosophy of science at the University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Buenos Aires this semester.

In her first post, Elizabeth shares the contents of her suitcase to help others packing for a semester abroad in Buenos Aires in the future! 



I’m checking two suitcases and bringing a carry-on for this trip, and I’m thrilled about having so much room. Last time I traveled I was farming and backpacking around Thailand for a month, and it was no easy feat fitting everything I needed into just one backpack. Still, I’m hoping to pack light enough to leave room to bring back lots of gifts. So, for anyone even remotely interested, here’s a big long list of everything I’m taking for my three month stay in Buenos Aires.

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Photo: These are my suitcases, and the red backpack is my carry-on.


These should all go in your carry-on in case your luggage gets lost or some other disaster ensues.

  • laptop, charger, headphones & flashdrive
  • smartphone and charger

I’m bringing this as a camera and otherwise only using it when there’s wifi. The CAPA study abroad program requires students to have a working local phone number, so I plan to buy a cheap phone with a pay-as-you-go plan a day or two after arriving in Buenos Aires. (There are other phone plans and ways to change phone numbers so my methods may not be the most efficient by any means. However if you are, like me, woefully un-tech-savvy and easily frustrated while setting up data plans, this might be the way to go.)

  • mophie powerstation

If I hadn’t gotten one of these as a gift, I probably wouldn’t buy one just for this trip. That said, it’s pretty handy for weekend trips or long train/bus rides!

  • universal adapter

Argentina uses two different kinds of plug sockets. Readers of this blog who are interested in the technical terms of said plug sockets are encouraged to research that information on their own and use it to impress their friends at parties, or to talk shop at gatherings of international electricians. I’ll just describe vaguely that Argentine outlets either have two holes for rounded, cylindrical prongs, or three slots in a triangle shape, with the top two slanted out.  


In my carry-on:

  • toothbrush & toothpaste
  • makeup & remover

I’ve heard that cosmetics are pricier in Argentina, so it seems practical to bring it all with me.  

  • tiny bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap
  • hair ties
  • lip balm
  • chewing gum

In my suitcase(s):

  • hairbrush
  • nail clippers
  • razors
  • ibuprofen

CAPAStudyAbroad_BuenosAires_Spring2017_From Elizabeth Withers - Packing1.jpg
This adapter will work on either of the kinds of plug sockets used in Argentina. They're pretty cheap on amazon, but I got this at Walmart for about $12.


The weather forecast is in the high 70s, low 80s for March and April, and it’ll gradually cool down to low 60s by early June. Evening temperatures will be in the 50s or 60s. (This is all Fahrenheit, by the way.) So I’m dressing for warm weather and lots of sunny days!

  • sundresses & skirts

I’m bringing lots of these- four dresses and two skirts. They’re comfortable in almost any weather and appropriate for almost any occasion, including exploring Buenos Aires’ famed nightlife.

  • shirts

I’m taking two dressy-casual tops, four button-ups (to double as a jackets on warm days), two t-shirts, one tank top, and two long-sleeved shirts.

  • pants

I’ve got one pair of dress pants, two pairs of jeans, one pair of dark green pants, and one pair of jean shorts.  

  • swimsuit & cover up
  • belt
  • scarf
  • jackets & sweaters

I’m bringing three of these.

  • socks & underwear

12 pairs each.

  • shoes

I think I’m bringing too many shoes. I’ll wear my hiking boots at the airport, and on top of that I’m bringing one pair of sneakers, one pair of walking shoes, and two pairs of dress shoes (one flats, one high-heeled.) The heels are definitely unnecessary, but I hope to put them to good use. Maybe I’ll learn to tango!

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This is my dog, Smitty. I wonder if I can sneak him through customs. (Kidding, but I'll miss him).


  • gifts!

I’m bringing my host a handmade scarf (handmade by someone else), and I have t-shirts for other people I might meet.

  • books


  • Ficciones and The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges (a Buenos Aires native. I’m looking forward to visiting the museum of his archives.)
  • Inez and The Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes
  • The Hive by Camilo Jose Cela
  • Cronopios and Famas by Julio Cortazar
  • The She-Devil in the Mirror by Horacio Castellanos Moya

  • bags

1 medium sized cross-body bag with thick leather straps.

  • small towel

Even though towels are provided by my host, on a weekend trip or a long day trip to the beach, I would feel very bad if I borrowed one and then got it dirty (which is likely), and very wet without one. And since I have no deep sentimental attachment to this particular towel, I can get rid of it to make room in my suitcase on the way back.

  • alarm clock
  • pens, notebooks, journal
  • textbooks
  • small umbrella

And that’s everything! Thank goodness it all fits!

Thanks Elizabeth!

Elizabeth's journey continues every Monday so stay tuned!

Learn More about the CAPA Buenos Aires Program

Topics: Buenos Aires, Argentina, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations