There’s no shortage of ‘what to pack’ posts online. Packing for a year abroad is either just another part of the hassle or a game we play to see if we can fit it all. One thing I’ve learned from my many travels is the anti-stress adage: You can always buy it there if you forget it.
In fact, here are three items that I think it’s better to plan to buy while you’re in the U.K.
A winter coat
Weather in the U.K. is a strange mix of temperate, cold, damp, mist, and wind. It might sound like something we handle every day in most areas of the US and Canada. But this is personal experience speaking: I brought a coat with me which works fine for winters in Virginia (which are still quite cold), but it didn’t prove adequate for what I needed while studying here. The benefit of buying a winter coat here is the coats in stores are geared towards combatting the weather where you’re studying. I found my coat at T.K. Maxx for only £36 and it is nothing short of brilliant. It keeps the wind and the rain out. When I use it, I’m perfectly warm and cozy.
Just as with the winter coat, you’ll most likely need an umbrella more often than not (unless your winter coat has a hood). The wind and misty rain can be interesting to work with. When I arrived, I knew I’d be buying an umbrella, but I was able to look up the best umbrellas for British weather. While I’ll admit, the one I purchased is a little bit pricey, it was worth it. It folds up well and handles the wind well also. I haven’t yet had to worry about breaking umbrellas and constantly buying another one, and it’s easy to have with me.
I brought shoes with me. In fact, I brought many shoes with me, shoes that I was wearing all the time back home. But living in York, a walking city, and come winter and come rain, those shoes weren’t quite cutting it. Since being here, I’ve purchased two different pairs of ‘booties’ that are perfect for tackling the cobblestone streets, the puddles, and the ankle-biting chill. Another bright side, both pairs are very ‘British’ in their style, so you’ll fit right in.
So what’s the takeaway here? These are three items that it’s better to buy overseas because they’ll match the type of climate and lifestyle you’ll be living in for a year. Why not use the resources you have and follow the locals? Trust me, your luggage, your muscles, and your overall comfort will thank you for it. And while you’re at it, why not use another resource you have and get in touch with Across The Pond to get started on your own U.K. study adventure. It’s worth it.