How I wrangled my life into a suitcase, a carry-on bag and one personal item

Ah, yes! Packing. To quote the late, great Pussycat Dolls, “I hate this part right here.”

If humans can’t agree on much these days, we can all at least agree: packing is the worst!

There are as many pitfalls to packing too much as there is to not packing enough. Sure, minimalists can brag a light load. But packing the bare minimum leaves no room for error. No leeway for change.

If you’re the type of person who thinks of everything (rain, a paper cut, a run in your tights, a run-in with Beyoncé in your hotel lobby), there is a price to pay. Luggage over a certain weight can mean a mean fee from your airline. And even if your checked bag is just under those 50 pounds, you still have a heavy cross suitcase to bear.

So what all am I bringing with me to London? I was packed very early on in the week, but I ended picking up some new clothes and re-packing. I’m not sure if the final cut came about due to fresh circumstances, Libraic indecision or a stroke of genius. But anyway, here’s what ended up in the final incarnation of my bags.

Skincare, cosmetics, toiletries
You can’t roll up to London without your face glowing and beat. I packed make-up and brushes as well as make-up remover and facial cleanser. I am also amping up my skin care routine with some face masks. No matter where you spend your semester, it’s important to carve out some R+R time with school in full-swing.


And remember the part where I’m worried about dental hygiene? (That’s not a Brit joke. I was legitimately worried about forgetting to pack the right teeth stuff.) Turns out I’m bringing three toothbrushes and a tube of toothpaste.

Leather jackets and denim jackets made the cut. I also am bringing a cardigan for daily use and one for the nicer dresses (this one’s most likely to make an appearance at the theatre). I may look into a thicker coat later on, but cheers to not get snowed into a dorm this time around.



I packed long-sleeved shirts as well as short-sleeved shirts. It’s about to be autumn. You know what that means: scrapping with the basics over PSLs and layering. I added some sweaters to the mix for drearier London days.

Just like sweaters that cozy up shirts, jeans and leggings can be durable, fashionable staples for a fall wardrobe.



As someone who accumulated a fair amount of shoes this summer (shopping, thrifting, thrifting my own closet and generous donation), this was the hardest part. I ended up bringing a pair of strappy sandals, a pair of low dressy heels (for presentations and the theatre), my iconic and well-worn maroon Chelsea boots, suede loafers and some low-top Pumas. I’m still wrestling with whether I should bring my Doc Martens or my UNIF boots to give my British closet some edge.


Electronic devices
I finally got my laptop situation worked out, so I can bless your feed with more of these lovely posts. If anything is amiss tech-wise, I beg you: get it sorted before going abroad. If not simply for convenience, do it for peace of mind.

I also snagged an adapter for my chargers ($30 at Apple buys you adapters for the U.K., Hong Kong, Singapore, continental Europe, Korea, Australia, Brazil, Japan and China) and a little one for my SD card since I’ll want to snap pictures.


School supplies
I packed pens, a highlighter and my handy-dandy planner. Combined with a laptop, this back-to-school prep feels like the epitome of Adult Academic Life. I decided it’s easiest to buy a physical notebook or folder as needed once I get there.


Miscellaneous items
Going along with my self-care routine, I packed some essential oils for aromatherapy. I also brought jewelry. Again, these items satisfy my need to be a glowing and celestial being as I arrive in London.


By Caroline Colvin

Black retro-obsessed non-binary baddie ♡ pleasure & wellness advocate ♡ aesthetic archivist ♡


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