Packing for 9 months in Europe

It’s now 2 weeks before I hop on our plane to France. From there we will need to take a train from Paris to the town of Poitiers. One thing I came across while preparing for this trip was all the different ways to pack.

It has been said that I am an over-preparer to the edge of paranoid on occasion. I always have to make sure I know exactly what is best for each specific situation and then I plan events down to the nitty-gritty details. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but my stress is never relieved until I know exactly what to expect. Because of this, you can be dang sure I did my research for the best ways to pack for a study abroad. I couldn’t believe the amount of “how-to” posts I found online with Pinterest and of course I pinned almost every single one of them. So to the goal of this post, I’m going to compile the different things I found and just insert the parts that helped me and seemed most important. Let me note here that I am not a fashion guru, but I still enjoy my own styles. This should just give you a general idea of what to plan for.

How much to pack

First of all, you need to know how much to pack. When it comes to studying abroad at ESCEM in Poitiers, I know I’m going to be staying for 2 semesters. This doesn’t mean I pack more, because packing for 9 months could be the same as packing for 1 month, just more wash is included. It does mean that I need to keep the seasons in mind. I will be taking 2 large checked bags and 1 carry-on bag, so with that in mind, I will be there for fall, winter and spring meaning I’m going to probably want to leave most of my shorts at home and pack mostly things that can layer. This means that the bulk of the things you’re packing are going to be bigger and take up more room than simple tank-tops. Be sure to account for this.

I checked the train stations and airlines and came to the conclusion that, in general, the trains will allow each person 2 large bags, no bigger than 82cm tall and 1 hand/carry-on size bag. I figured this should be more than plenty when it came to packing for 2 semesters abroad. One thing to remember is that you are going to be in a new place with different fashions, so you are going to want to pack enough to get you by for a while, but plan on buying some new things while you are there too.

What to pack (understanding the seasonal weather of where you’re going)

One thing I’ve learned from all of my reading is that the French are known for sticking to neutral colors with maybe one color that stands out. (I read the other day that most people tend to limit their outfits to a max of 3 colors total) I’m completely okay with this because I love wearing black and white shirts with bright scarves. While I want to fit into the French culture, I also want to bring a bit of my own flare with me.

Aside from the long sleeve shirts, I am also planning on a lot of short sleeve shirts that can go really nicely with jackets, which I’m bringing a few of. I’m planning on a brown leather looking jacket, grey and colorful hoodie and a nice dress coat.


Plan on neutrals then round out your collection with a few colors for special occasions. Here is what I will be taking:

4 long sleeve shirts (2 white, 2 black)

3 neutral cap sleeve shirts (2 white, 1 black)

2 colored cap sleeve shirts

4 dressy blouses

Don’t forget that ESCEM is a business school with accredited professors from all over the world. While you want to travel comfortably, you want to make a good impression to help with possible future connections.


3 pairs of jeans

Not much to say about this, I chose 1 pair of skinny jeans and 2 boot/flare cut. I absolutely love my dark denim jeans (probably more than most girls love shoes) so some people may lean more toward colored jeans. I just recommend at least 1 pair of blue jeans for special occasions that require a bit of a dress up but still on the casual side.


Leather Style brown jacket

Black button up dress coat

Comfortable but nice hoodie

It will be cold during the winter in France so I plan on layering for warmth.


This is where your wardrobe will get whatever flare you bring to it. I’m going to be bringing between 3-4 colorful scarves to start. To top it off, I’m going to be including a couple different sets of colorful jewelry like turquoise (have to include that to show off my Utah side).


1 pair of tennis shoes (For travel hiking)

Black comfortable Flats

Comfortable boots

Be sure that each pair of shoes you choose are comfortable and versatile for multiple occasions. You don’t want to weigh down your luggage with too many shoes. I say only take 3 pairs max.

Dress Clothes

Black pencil skirt (this should be able to go with most of your tops)

Black dress for special occasions

Black Leggings or Tights

I mostly plan on using these items for church, school presentations and possible meetings.


Laptop & Accessories (you are going for school after all, and using it for blogging doesn’t hurt)

External Hard Drive (back up all of your pictures and school files)

DSLR Camera & Accessories (camera, 1 wide lens, 1 telephoto lens, extra batteries, extra memory card, battery charger etc.)

International Plug Adaptors (link to REI)

Voltage Converters (link to REI)

Don’t Forget Vacation Packing

While you want to be sure you pack for the season you are going, you don’t want to forget about vacation opportunities. There are a couple places you can go in Europe during the winter that are warm enough to go to the beach and lay out. So be sure to remember your swim suit and sunscreen for those occasions. I know I’m definitely looking forward to the Canary Islands while I’m abroad.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if there is anything you would add to the list in the comments below.


3 thoughts on “Packing for 9 months in Europe

  1. One thing you may want to add to your list is something cozy, like a trusty pair of sweats, to wear around the apartment for those drizzly days or when you’re just missing home. Good luck in France!


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