5 Things: Pack It Up or Leave It Home!

As a spring-term study abroad student, I would be lying if I said I didn’t spend my entire spring break freaking out about packing. I had to have been the most stressed I have ever been… in regards to packing suitcases. At least Drexel was thirty minutes away from home, but Japan was a whole other realm of “if I don’t pack this, I won’t have it for four months. Am I okay with that?”. Luckily enough our program directors, the packing expert: Mom, and some other helpful resources guided my decisions/packing list for the trip. So, without further ado, here are 5 things that you should leave at home, and 5 things you should probably pack!

Jiminy Cricket Certified!

The Basics:

As for things NOT to pack, I suggest the first thing to ask yourself is “Did I already use this during my time in college so far?” which will tell you if you actually use the item you’re considering bringing. I asked this for plenty of my decorations, clothes, and accessories. To get into specifics, this would mean:

1. I highly advise against bringing your entire wardrobe. Instead, bring a few shorts, a few pants, and various tops you can swap around for a new look! (This is where accessories can help substantially).

2. All those things you bought for your dorm back at Drexel? Sure, they’re cute and aesthetically pleasing, but do you need ALL of them? Are you willing to let them take up that limited luggage space?

3. Regardless of the season you’re going in, don’t spend too much time obsessing over how many jackets to bring. Even if you go more towards Fall/Winter, it’s best to pack warmer outfits, and maybe only a few jackets– so you can prioritize space.

As for 4 and 5, as basic traveling techniques, I would advise against bringing an insane amount of your own currency, as it may serve very little purpose, and anything TOO expensive. Why? Well, especially here in Japan, they use their own currency, Yen, the most. As for the expensive items, they aren’t recommended for travel only due to liabilities– especially if you can just bring a cheaper option. Basically, “Why bring this expensive item abroad just to possibly lose it?”.

This is the DonQuijote Penguin! I highly recommend coming here to shop (or even just visit and look around). This store is basically a 7-floor mall of convenient items (and claw machines for Akihabara!).

Japan-Specific/For When You’re Homesick:

As for Japan specifically, I would recommend:

1. Indoor/Comfort shoes for when you’re in your dorm. This is due to Japan’s emphasis on prioritizing the cleanliness of the floors and reducing maintenance to a minimum.

2. Preparation for rain/heat. If you’re going to Japan for spring/summer, you will most definitely need to pack an umbrella for the rainy season, along with plenty of clothes for the mass humidity in the summer. I also advise that if you bring a tank top, you might want to wear a cover-up as well. The style here is much more covered and loose, along with tank tops being looked down on in school settings (I learned to do this even when playing sports).

3. As someone with Type 4/kinky hair, I HIGHLY recommend bringing your own products! If you have any hair apart from straight or wavy, it is very rare to find your usual products to style/wash it.

4. As an American, another thing I was highly advised to bring was deodorant. Like much of East Asia, it is common for people to lack the genetic makeup that causes body odor. From this, and from what I’ve seen so far when shopping, there isn’t really deodorant being sold in stores. However, it may be more likely in the city due to the amount of foreigners (I have yet to check this).

Lastly, 5 is to bring anything that reminds you of home! It’s basically a guarantee that you’ll get homesick eventually. What I brought were some of my plushies, posters from my dorm, pictures of my friends, and food from home. It’s nice to be able to come home to some familiarity, and I love feeling at home before bed.

This is the floor guide to DonQuijote! They are very common in the major city areas, along with providing English subtext for translations! They have anywhere from food, costumes, and essentials like electronics, haircare, and makeup/accessory sections!

Hope this guide helped you or gave you insight on the preparation progress! Remember, don’t let this process stress you out too much– in the end, you can always find a substitute even if you forgot something! Just remember to have fun and think about the positives!

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