By Andrea Zachrich

Packing: the dreaded but incredibly necessary part of any trip.

I thought that, since this blog is for future students going on this trip, having a post about packing would be helpful. I know that I wished I had a packing list so I wouldn’t have had to think so much about what to bring.

I’m not going to lie, packing for this trip was difficult. I needed to fit 8 weeks worth of clothes, toiletries, and school supplies in a carry-on suitcase, a backpack, and a purse. I am a notorious overpacker, so I really had to check myself here (I brought 6 pairs of sliders for our 3 day national soccer tournament last fall just to give you an idea). With some advance planning and a little bit of foresight, packing for this trip wasn’t too difficult, and I even kind of enjoyed the challenge of it.

Everyone’s packing is going to be unique, but below I highlighted some of the items I found essential and/or especially helpful by the type of item. I tried to add a little bit of my thought process in order to help my future Bruin travelers (or any traveler in a comparable situation) be able to think about their own packing in a similar way. It’s important to be thoughtful with your packing because you are going to be gone for an extended period of time with a limited amount of space especially if you want to save money and take a carry-on suitcase. It’ll save you unnecessary expense and stress if you think this out before you leave and pack well so that you won’t have to purchase things there.

School Supplies

First thing: check the syllabus for your class BEFORE YOU LEAVE UCLA’S CAMPUS! I actually had a few things that I had to get in advance, such as bluebooks, that I could only (easily) purchase while on campus. The syllabus will also tell you what books you need to purchase and other important information so, as with any class, your syllabus is your friend.

Almost forgot we had to school while abroad when packing

As you can see, I needed…

  • 2 bluebooks
  • Sketchpad and notebook for daily observations: The limoncello one is both tribute to my family, whom always make homemade limoncello around Christmas time, and seemed fitting for a trip to Italy. I found all of these at Marshall’s for extremely reasonable prices if you’re looking for one. I know they also sell them at Ackerman if you’re still on campus.
  • Syllabus: always a good idea to print out in advance. Professor Gurval’s syllabus reflects his typical organization and has a detailed schedule of site visits.
  • Pens and colored pencils: always important, especially since we have to sketch the monuments and keep a daily journal as part of our grade. Thankfully, the sketches aren’t graded because I can’t draw much more than a smiley face.
  • Camera: not necessarily a school supply, but necessary for my scholarship so I put it in this category.
  • Laptop: this one is a no brainer for me because I use my laptop for everything. If you think it will be useful in your studying after reading the syllabus, I would bring it.
  • Chargers: for everything (laptop, phone, camera, any other small devices such as a Fitbit or a Kindle).
  • Textbook: we had one for this class called Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide and an optional one entitled In Search of the Romans. I brought both because I happened to have them already from other classes.


You can get a lot of these things in Italy, but it might be cheaper to get some of these things at home. If you’re like me and your skin hates most products, it might also save you some stress to get these things in advance so you know you won’t have any sort of reaction while abroad.

I know that you really wanted a photo of my toiletries

  • My favorite things: shampoo and conditioner bar – these things are so cool and the employees at Lush say they should last at least 80 washes, which will easily cover the trip if you’re like me and don’t wash your hair everyday. They’re space saving which is great for someone like me who has a ton of products for my hair and skin, and no packaging will be going into the landfill, which is a win-win for me. They also only cost about 10 dollars each, which is about 25 cents per hair wash.
  • Medication: make sure you have enough of whatever it is that you need. I also brought some over the counter medications such as ibuprofen, Benadryl, and some cold medicine in case I needed them abroad.
  • Sunscreen: I have heard this is more expensive to buy in Italy, so I brought some with me. I can only use certain types of sunscreen because I break out easily, so I just made sure to grab the kinds I know wouldn’t make me a splotchy mess.
  • Chafe Balm: This stuff has saved my life on numerous occasions. Well, ok, that’s a hyperbole, but it has made my life way more comfortable. I use it for soccer games, walking around campus, hiking, etc. under my arms and on my legs. We’re going to be very active on this trip, so this is going to be essential for me.


I won’t go super into detail here, but there are a few strategic things to consider when packing clothes. First off: Rome is HOT during the summer. According to a quick google search, it’s around a 90 degree average temperature during the day and barely gets below 70 at night AND it’s humid as well, so keep that in mind when picking out your clothes. I tried to pick a lot of light and loose cotton fabrics.

All my clothes!

  • Shoes: I limited myself to 4 pairs – sneakers, walking sandals, running shoes, and heels for going out. This covered all my bases in terms of working out, walking around the city for class, and going out to eat and to bar, clubs, etc. I know it seems like a lot of shoes, but, since you wear one pair on the plane, they don’t actually take up too much space.
  • Clothes: I have been told that people in Italy don’t wear workout clothes unless they are working out (a ridiculous concept in my opinion), so I struggled to fit in both workout clothes and wandering around Rome clothes. This isn’t a super important point, but might be nice to think about as you’re packing. In general, I packed mainly dresses/rompers which are perfect for those hot Roman summers. I also had a couple pairs of jean shorts, some tank tops/t-shirts, skirts, and 2 pairs of jeans. I only brought 2 jackets, a jean jacket that I wore on the plane and a lighter sweater for the evenings.


  • Headphones: essential for the plane and when I run. I am planning on running a lot, so stay tuned for a few posts about running routes in Rome near the Accent apartments.
  • Converters: The first time I went to Europe in middle school I was shocked when I realized that the plugs are different. I got these converters on Amazon for around 10 dollars for 2 of them. One has USB plugs and the other has a regular plug. You’ll need the ones with two prongs.
  • Passport and ID: Obviously, these are very important and needed to get on the plane. Make sure to make copies in the unfortunate case that they get lost or stolen.
  • Euros: You can always exchange euros at the airport or when you arrive in Rome, but I did it ahead of time because my bank would exchange them for no fee. I mainly plan on using my travel credit card while abroad (there is a Visa card that will pay you back all of your international exchange charges if you’re looking for a credit card to use while abroad), but I thought it would be nice to have at least some cash.
  • Scarf: some places in Rome want you to cover your shoulders, so I brought this scarf with me for those places. It could also double as a beach towel.
  • Water bottle: you will be walking a lot, so a reusable water bottle is nice to have.
  • Sunglasses and hat: As stated above, its hot in Rome, so these are essential. I brought a fun sun hat and a UCLA baseball cap. #gobruins

Items I will be purchasing in Rome

I tried to buy the lease amount possible while there, but there are some liquids I just couldn’t quite manage to fit…

  • Laundry detergent: I thought about bringing some detergent sheets, but thought it would be easier to just use regular detergent and purchase it when I get there.
  • Lotion: I wanted a larger bottle for my very dry skin and it wouldn’t fit in my quart sized liquid travel bag.

Go forth and pack! I know it’s not the most fun part of traveling, but packing well will help you have fun later!