One of my biggest fears about coming to London for four months was packing. Yes, I know, I know… but it was — and for good reason. I’m incredibly indecisive and a shoe lover. Mix it all together and you have a textbook over-packer.
My mom and I packed and repacked. Then repacked again. If it weren’t for her patience and the space saver vacuum bags, I could not have done it. While there are things I definitely could have done without, I’m pretty proud of the final result.
Here are 5 things I highly recommend packing for your semester abroad in London!
1. Long trench coat
After months of scrolling through Pinterest, I decided that I could not go to London wearing my thick, black North Face winter coat that almost every Midwestern college girl owns. While other European cities are more casual, London is known for its fashion and slightly dressier attire.
My grey trench coat has become a staple. The plain color and simple design allows me to wear it with pretty much everything while letting me feel like a true Londoner!
2. Only a few pairs of comfortable shoes
Although it’s difficult, try to only bring about five pairs of shoes. I know firsthand how impossible this might seem, but trust me, you’ll be glad to have the extra space for other odds and ends.
I brought tennis shoes, rain boots, heeled boots, and two pairs of casual walking shoes. Overall, the chosen pairs have worked out and I haven’t missed the few other favorites I had to leave behind.
3. Skirt with black tights
While some occasions call for a little dressier outfit, odds are you will be out and about more than you think. Moral of the story: pack a few basics that you can put with almost anything. A good example of this is a simple skirt and black tights.
I’ve noticed that most girls in London stick to mini skirts and black opaque tights. This combination is cute, comfortable, and helps protect your legs from the chilly winter breeze — especially during early spring. If necessary, maybe bring one more nice outfit like a dress or another skirt, but I’d leave room for other things!
I cannot stress enough how much you will need a raincoat anytime of the year if you are in the UK (or Ireland). Even if rain is not in the forecast, there’s a good chance a pop-up storm will come when you least expect it.
If you can, try to pack a raincoat that has a hood. It’s also nice if you have a coat that can easily be rolled up and shoved at the bottom of a suitcase or backpack.
5. A small, crossbody bag
Everyone worries about pick-pockets when traveling. Yes, it’s good to be cautious, but I’m glad I didn’t invest in a theft-proof, triple-seal purse that would have taken five minutes to open and close every time I needed my passport or chapstick.
My recommendation is to bring a crossbody bag that can easily be worn on the front of your body when necessary. It’s also a good idea to keep it relatively small so there’s less room for things that could get stolen.
I hope this helps ease your worries about packing before your adventure in London! If a notorious over-packer can do it, so can you.