23 December, 2010

I've always wanted to run an advice column...

From Meg: emilyyy! i finally saw your blogpost and it helps sooo incredibly much. i have a question for you about packing--what's essential, what's not? should i bring things like toiletries, school supplies, etc? i need your advice oh great london traveler!!

Thought I'd post this up here for all to see!

My advice for packing would be to pack as light as possible: Bring some really versatile outfits that you can layer and make look different without actually having a large quantity of clothing. Same with shoes. Bring a pair of GOOD walking shoes, some cute boots (flat heel is best), and a pair of heels or dress shoes for going out. If you're anything like me, you WILL buy an entirely new wardrobe in London (not to mention all the souvenirs), so make sure you leave room for coming home, unless you're planning on buying another suitcase. (I sent some things home with my mum when she came to visit me, so I had some extra space.)

Right. Toiletries. It's really up to you. If you have room, I'd say go ahead and pack them. They're things you don't need to bring home with you, so putting it in your luggage on the way there is like saving room for souvenirs you'll bring back. You can find most American brands of shampoos, conditioners, body wash, toothpaste, etc at Boots, so don't worry about having to pack enough for the whole semester. 

As for school supplies I would DEFINITELY suggest bringing some if you've got room. Notebooks, binders, paper, pens, it's all ridiculously expensive in London. I've no idea why, but stationery stores feel the need to rob you blind. Also, for a few of my classes we had to do journals as our final projects, and they were more like scrapbooks. Don't underestimate the need for crayons and markers and glue sticks. So if you've got room, throw in your trusty old box of 64 Crayolas. :)

Oh! Here's an important one. DO NOT BRING ELECTRONIC TOILETRIES (like blow dryers or straighteners) EVEN IF YOU HAVE A VOLTAGE/OUTLES CONVERTER. One of our roommates almost set our flat on fire (and ruined her expensive straightener) because she couldn't bear to leave it at home. Bad, bad idea. We pitched in money with all the girls in our flat and bought a nice straightener (his name was Remy) and we shared him. It worked out really well. Also, the London Centre has got some extra hair dryers and straighteners and such that other students have left behind, you can ask when you get there if there are any up for grabs.

I'm so excited for you guys, you've no idea. And by excited I mean I am moping about my house wishing I was going again. Feel free to ask me any more last minute packing questions as you come up with them. Most of you have got my number and/or know me on Facebook. And you had better keep in touch once you're in London!

Love you all,

EDIT: Another thing. I'm a HUGE overpacker. If you're like me, and you're sitting on your suitcase to try to get it closed, do what I did. I packed my suitcase about a week or two before I left, and every day, I would repack it, taking EVERYTHING out and putting it back in. I'd find all sorts of things I didn't actually need, and eventually got it all to fit. Beware of weight limits, too!

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