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What to Pack for Studying Abroad in Italy!

Before leaving to study abroad, you’ll definitely wonder how you’ll live with only the contents of a suitcase. The Umbra Institute provides the following suggestions to help you pack the essentials and leave the extra items at home — you know, the ones that sit in the corner of your room gathering dust all semester while you ask yourself why you didn’t bring an extra pair of socks instead.

Most airlines allow passengers to check one large bag of approximately 50 pounds/23 kilos each and one carry-on. The carry-on must be small enough to fit in the overhead compartment, both to and from Italy. Remember that if you’re planning on traveling on discount airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet while in Europe, they have quite strict size regulations — for RyanAir, it’s 40cm x 25cm x 20cm). Consider bringing a small, RyanAir-ready carry-on instead of a larger one. Check here on RyanAir’s website for further info.

It’s wise to check with your airlines for precise weight and measurement restrictions. Please keep in mind that airport security regulations are constantly changing. For more information on security procedures and an updated list of prohibited carry-on items, please visit the TSA website.

Students should remember that most likely there will not be an elevator in their apartment building in Italy. Students will be responsible for carrying their own bags up to their apartment. Our advice is to pack what is needed and nothing more. This will allow a little extra room in your suitcases for presents and souvenirs you collect along the way during your stay in Italy. A good trick for this is to add an empty shoebox to your luggage to save space that you’ll later fill with cool Italian clothes.


When packing be sure to:

  • Label your suitcases and carry-on bag with the address of your final destination— in this case, the Umbra Institute: Piazza IV Novembre, 23
    C/o The Umbra Institute
    Perugia, PG 06123
    +39 075 775 0101 / 0102
  • Just to be safe, it’s good advice to place a photocopy of your passport in your checked luggage and carry-on bag. On the reverse side of the photocopy write the Umbra Institute’s address as shown below.


Packing Essentials for Carry-on Luggage:

  • All kinds of TRAVEL DOCUMENTS you need! In particular, make sure you have your passport and photocopies, your flight ticket, and your CDC vaccination certificate.
  • Any MEDICATION you know you need (with a doctor’s note).
  • Currency in cash (BRING 100 EUROS, NOT DOLLARS!)
  • Portable laptop computer.
  • Luggage keys and other valuables.
  • In-flight toiletries (remember to pack all travel-sized).
  • An extra pair of glasses and/or a contact lens case, if necessary.
  • In-flight entertainment: books, journals, charged iPod, etc.

Dressing While in Italy

Perugia is a cosmopolitan European city and neatness remains an Italian virtue. You should expect to dress more formally in Italy; be aware that fashion styles will differ from your home campus. When visiting churches in Italy, both on excursions and course-related field trips, keep in mind that shorts, sleeveless tops, tank tops, midriff shirts, and short skirts are prohibited.

On the same note, you’ll be walking much more during the next few months than you normally do, and there are quite a few hills. Sandals and flip-flops are discouraged when a lot of walking is required, and cobblestone streets are dirty and make for uneasy walking. Be prepared by bringing comfortable, close-toed walking shoes – and maybe some nice boots for those rainier days in the fall.

Pack for the Weather!

Remember to pack for the weather! A great resource is the “past months” feature on WeatherUnderground.
If you’re leaving for a Fall (or even Spring) semester, do not underestimate the cold in Perugia! Make sure you have a very warm coat, scarf, and hat (and warm clothes in general) with you. Even if the average temperatures look warmer than you’re used to, frigid air will blow across the valley and up to Perugia during the fall so if you’re not bundled up appropriately, you will get sick.

The same applies to Spring, although temperatures change rapidly and often unpredictably in that period! Remember to also pack lighter clothes for the warmer period of the semester. Layers will be your friend! Finally, we strongly suggest bringing a light jacket also for the start of the semester, it can definitely get chilly in the night!


Five Things to NOT Pack

  1. Your hair dryer, unless it has a voltage converter switch. The voltage in Italy is higher than in America and external converters don’t work well at all. Plugging it in will result in a *poof* and a broken hairdryer (possibly accompanied by a burning smell). It is easier and safer to buy one when you’re here!
  2. Actually, that goes for curling irons, straighteners, and any other electronic appliance that is designed to heat up.
  3. High heels! They’re always what students regret packing. Heels + cobblestones = not a good mix.
  4. Very expensive or valuable things. Really nice watches, earrings, or rings can either be lost or, especially on trips to major tourist centers like Rome or Barcelona, stolen.
  5. US Dollars. Currency exchange places will generally take a pretty large percentage of your money, so our recommendation is to bring your ATM card and let your bank know that you’ll be abroad so they don’t block it. That said, it is helpful to have $20 for when you return home at the end of the semester.

Have we forgotten something? Have you studied abroad or at Umbra before and have something to add, subtract, or recommend? Let us know!

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