Where Noelle Goes
So you made the decision to pack up and move across the globe? That's pretty sweet! There are so many hurdles that you have to jump in order to move to a new country, even if just for a restricted amount of time that's longer than three months, and the final step in the entire process is packing up your bags and getting ready to set sail (via airplane). You have your visa, you have your proper paperwork, you have your eyes wide with excitement... and then you look over at the brooding pile of stuff that's hanging out by your empty suitcase and your excitement fizzles slightly. 

Packing a suitcase or two can be intimidating, especially when you compare the size of your suitcase to the size of your closet and bathroom vanity, but coming to terms with the fact that you can't pack your entire life will save you a lot of anguish. Here are my tips, in depth, (this is long, I am sorry) for packing up your life, as much as you can fit, into a suitcase when moving to a new country! Also, this is really focusing on your checked luggage, your carry-on is a whole other beast to tackle. 

First off, Pick The Right Suitcase

You need a place to put all these things, so make sure it's a good one. Figure out what you want from your suitcase, then start looking in person. Picking out your new suitcase is like picking out a new car, you gotta give it a feel first. No, I'm serious. I suggest going to your local retailer store, such as TJ Maxx, Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack, etc. and finding your suitcase based on important factors, like durability and size, and not just because it has a super cute design. Trust me on this, get a STURDY suitcase that will not fall apart on you, I just have to share with you why. 

I have a quick story, last time I was living in Sevilla, I had to move out of my apartment and take my bags to a hotel where I was meeting my mom. Now, the hotel was "too close" to my apartment for a taxi to come and take me, apparently it wasn't worth their time or money to drive me less than a mile. I had to lug my giant (huge!) and heavy suitcase across cobblestone, narrow streets at 2 p.m. on an August day in Southern Spain, jumping out of the way from cars, sweating my life away. Señoras were sitting on benches watching me, waving their fans with sad eyes. Long story short, my suitcase handle broke mid-way and the sides starting splitting, and it was horrible and I almost cried, but I just kept chugging along. So, please buy a quality and sturdy suitcase, ok? 


Where Noelle Goes

Packing Toiletries And Beauty Products 

Now, if you're moving to a progressive country/city (i.e. not a village in the jungles of Tibet), you need to realize that you will be able to buy nearly all of your hygiene essentials once there. Yes, people in Spain do in fact use shampoo and conditioner, so don't pack your own! I do recommend packing a travel size set for your carry on to get you through a few days, but nothing full size. This one is especially hard for me because I tend to prioritize my beauty regime above many things. Yep, I'm vain, it is what it is. 

For this, I am packing only the products that I know for a fact that I cannot purchase once there, primarily because a few brands I use are not sold or easily accessible in Spain. Hello, tarte, why aren't you sold in Sephoras in Spain?! If you are beauty product obsessed like I am, I highly recommend doing a simple Google search of your favorite products to see if you can get them in your new country. 

I am choosing to bring backups on the products that I use every day that I know for a fact I cannot get in Spain... and I will be really sad when they're all gone. Keep your giant makeup bag at home and pack ONLY WHAT YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT when it comes to toiletries and buy the rest once you're settled. This includes hair dryers, curling irons, body wash, toothpaste (bring a small tube with you, please) and other easily accessible products. Trust me, you do not want to deal with fried hair from your hair dryer because you forgot about the voltage difference (there is one). 

Where Noelle Goes


Pack Minimal Clothing, Shoes and Accessories

I use minimal in two ways here: 
1. Pack clothing and shoes that are minimal in style. Stick to the basics that you can mix and match easily, everyone in Europe always sticks to a neutral color palette anyway. Anything that is black, white, beige, grey or striped is a safe bet. 

2. Pack minimally by only packing 2-5 of each item. Do you really need to pack all three pairs of black boots (that you love) but that essentially all look the same? No, sorry. Pack one pair and maybe wear another pair on the plane. 

I recommend packing 3 pairs of jeans (black and denim), one pair of casual leggings (wear them on the plane!), one pair of black boots, one pair of streetwear sneakers, one pair of sandals, one pair of running shoes (if you're into that), 2-4 workout outfits, 5-10 tops (blouses and T-shirts), 1-3 sweaters if you can fit them, 2-3 of your favorite dresses or a dressy outfit if you're a dude, 2-3 favorite jacets and then any other standout item that you really can't live without. Stuff as many pairs of socks and underwear into your shoes as you can and you're good. It's hard to say goodbye to your closet, but just know that a H&M or Zara is probably only a few minutes away from where you're living, if moving to Europe. 

Where Noelle Goes

Gather and Pack ALL Your Necessary Medications 

Even though faramcias (pharmacies) are greatly accessible throughout Europe, it's still a good idea to bring as many prescriptions of your medications that you can. Also, keep the original boxes and pack them in your carry-on, if you can. For any other over the counter drugs, I think those are ok to go in your checked luggage, but don't quote me on that. I plan on doing a whole post dedicated to getting your necessary prescriptions before and while abroad, because I've had a lot of troubles dealing with it.

It's a much simpler process to get prescription drugs in Europe than it is in America, and much cheaper, but be sure to find the generic name of your medication if you plan on picking it up once there. If this is your plan, bring your prescription boxes into the faramcia to give to the pharmacist to make sure they're getting it right. Simply look for the lit green cross on just about every street in Europe and ask the pharmacist any questions. Luckily, pharmacists typically speak English and are great resources to use while abroad. Though, be cautious of their hours, many close after 2 p.m. I can only speak from experience of using a Spanish farmacia, but I believe the same applies for just about any pharmacy in Europe. 

Where Noelle Goes

Chargers, Electronics, Etc.

I much prefer to put these items in my carry-on suitcase, but I do pack chargers for other small devices (like for my toothbrush or camera) in my checked luggage. I also always travel with my handy-dandy portable steamer. It's honestly one of my favorite gadgets because I despise looking wrinkled and this is so easy to plugin and steam my clothes wherever I am. I highly recommend it! If you have any backup chargers, throw those in as too. 

Where Noelle Goes

Bring A Little Something From Home

You can't pack your dog in your suitcase, unfortunately, so be sure to bring a little something from home that will keep you calm during a moment of homesickness. I highly recommend bringing a few printed pictures to hang up in your new home, they're small and light and are direct image of who/what you are missing. If a teddy bear from you childhood is your thing, by all means, bring it!

Where Noelle Goes

Roll Your Clothes Tightly, Squeeze Everything Else

I'm sure there is a much more glamourous way to explain this, and I'm not going to go in depth about it, here's a great How-To Guide to Packing a Tight Suitcase that will tell how what to do. Simply speaking though, tightly roll up your clothes and try to pack them as strategically as you see fit. 

Where Noelle Goes


So there you have it, all my advice for packing a checked luggage suitcase that I got in me. Do you have any must-share advice for packing a checked suitcase? Let me know, please. Happy packing! 

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How To Fit Your Life In A Suitcase When Moving To A New Country

Where Noelle Goes
So you made the decision to pack up and move across the globe? That's pretty sweet! There are so many hurdles that you have to jump in order to move to a new country, even if just for a restricted amount of time that's longer than three months, and the final step in the entire process is packing up your bags and getting ready to set sail (via airplane). You have your visa, you have your proper paperwork, you have your eyes wide with excitement... and then you look over at the brooding pile of stuff that's hanging out by your empty suitcase and your excitement fizzles slightly. 

Packing a suitcase or two can be intimidating, especially when you compare the size of your suitcase to the size of your closet and bathroom vanity, but coming to terms with the fact that you can't pack your entire life will save you a lot of anguish. Here are my tips, in depth, (this is long, I am sorry) for packing up your life, as much as you can fit, into a suitcase when moving to a new country! Also, this is really focusing on your checked luggage, your carry-on is a whole other beast to tackle. 

First off, Pick The Right Suitcase

You need a place to put all these things, so make sure it's a good one. Figure out what you want from your suitcase, then start looking in person. Picking out your new suitcase is like picking out a new car, you gotta give it a feel first. No, I'm serious. I suggest going to your local retailer store, such as TJ Maxx, Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack, etc. and finding your suitcase based on important factors, like durability and size, and not just because it has a super cute design. Trust me on this, get a STURDY suitcase that will not fall apart on you, I just have to share with you why. 

I have a quick story, last time I was living in Sevilla, I had to move out of my apartment and take my bags to a hotel where I was meeting my mom. Now, the hotel was "too close" to my apartment for a taxi to come and take me, apparently it wasn't worth their time or money to drive me less than a mile. I had to lug my giant (huge!) and heavy suitcase across cobblestone, narrow streets at 2 p.m. on an August day in Southern Spain, jumping out of the way from cars, sweating my life away. Señoras were sitting on benches watching me, waving their fans with sad eyes. Long story short, my suitcase handle broke mid-way and the sides starting splitting, and it was horrible and I almost cried, but I just kept chugging along. So, please buy a quality and sturdy suitcase, ok? 


Where Noelle Goes

Packing Toiletries And Beauty Products 

Now, if you're moving to a progressive country/city (i.e. not a village in the jungles of Tibet), you need to realize that you will be able to buy nearly all of your hygiene essentials once there. Yes, people in Spain do in fact use shampoo and conditioner, so don't pack your own! I do recommend packing a travel size set for your carry on to get you through a few days, but nothing full size. This one is especially hard for me because I tend to prioritize my beauty regime above many things. Yep, I'm vain, it is what it is. 

For this, I am packing only the products that I know for a fact that I cannot purchase once there, primarily because a few brands I use are not sold or easily accessible in Spain. Hello, tarte, why aren't you sold in Sephoras in Spain?! If you are beauty product obsessed like I am, I highly recommend doing a simple Google search of your favorite products to see if you can get them in your new country. 

I am choosing to bring backups on the products that I use every day that I know for a fact I cannot get in Spain... and I will be really sad when they're all gone. Keep your giant makeup bag at home and pack ONLY WHAT YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT when it comes to toiletries and buy the rest once you're settled. This includes hair dryers, curling irons, body wash, toothpaste (bring a small tube with you, please) and other easily accessible products. Trust me, you do not want to deal with fried hair from your hair dryer because you forgot about the voltage difference (there is one). 

Where Noelle Goes


Pack Minimal Clothing, Shoes and Accessories

I use minimal in two ways here: 
1. Pack clothing and shoes that are minimal in style. Stick to the basics that you can mix and match easily, everyone in Europe always sticks to a neutral color palette anyway. Anything that is black, white, beige, grey or striped is a safe bet. 

2. Pack minimally by only packing 2-5 of each item. Do you really need to pack all three pairs of black boots (that you love) but that essentially all look the same? No, sorry. Pack one pair and maybe wear another pair on the plane. 

I recommend packing 3 pairs of jeans (black and denim), one pair of casual leggings (wear them on the plane!), one pair of black boots, one pair of streetwear sneakers, one pair of sandals, one pair of running shoes (if you're into that), 2-4 workout outfits, 5-10 tops (blouses and T-shirts), 1-3 sweaters if you can fit them, 2-3 of your favorite dresses or a dressy outfit if you're a dude, 2-3 favorite jacets and then any other standout item that you really can't live without. Stuff as many pairs of socks and underwear into your shoes as you can and you're good. It's hard to say goodbye to your closet, but just know that a H&M or Zara is probably only a few minutes away from where you're living, if moving to Europe. 

Where Noelle Goes

Gather and Pack ALL Your Necessary Medications 

Even though faramcias (pharmacies) are greatly accessible throughout Europe, it's still a good idea to bring as many prescriptions of your medications that you can. Also, keep the original boxes and pack them in your carry-on, if you can. For any other over the counter drugs, I think those are ok to go in your checked luggage, but don't quote me on that. I plan on doing a whole post dedicated to getting your necessary prescriptions before and while abroad, because I've had a lot of troubles dealing with it.

It's a much simpler process to get prescription drugs in Europe than it is in America, and much cheaper, but be sure to find the generic name of your medication if you plan on picking it up once there. If this is your plan, bring your prescription boxes into the faramcia to give to the pharmacist to make sure they're getting it right. Simply look for the lit green cross on just about every street in Europe and ask the pharmacist any questions. Luckily, pharmacists typically speak English and are great resources to use while abroad. Though, be cautious of their hours, many close after 2 p.m. I can only speak from experience of using a Spanish farmacia, but I believe the same applies for just about any pharmacy in Europe. 

Where Noelle Goes

Chargers, Electronics, Etc.

I much prefer to put these items in my carry-on suitcase, but I do pack chargers for other small devices (like for my toothbrush or camera) in my checked luggage. I also always travel with my handy-dandy portable steamer. It's honestly one of my favorite gadgets because I despise looking wrinkled and this is so easy to plugin and steam my clothes wherever I am. I highly recommend it! If you have any backup chargers, throw those in as too. 

Where Noelle Goes

Bring A Little Something From Home

You can't pack your dog in your suitcase, unfortunately, so be sure to bring a little something from home that will keep you calm during a moment of homesickness. I highly recommend bringing a few printed pictures to hang up in your new home, they're small and light and are direct image of who/what you are missing. If a teddy bear from you childhood is your thing, by all means, bring it!

Where Noelle Goes

Roll Your Clothes Tightly, Squeeze Everything Else

I'm sure there is a much more glamourous way to explain this, and I'm not going to go in depth about it, here's a great How-To Guide to Packing a Tight Suitcase that will tell how what to do. Simply speaking though, tightly roll up your clothes and try to pack them as strategically as you see fit. 

Where Noelle Goes


So there you have it, all my advice for packing a checked luggage suitcase that I got in me. Do you have any must-share advice for packing a checked suitcase? Let me know, please. Happy packing! 

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