BulgariaPre-Trip

What to Pack & What Not to Pack – That is My Question!

So I’ve been home for about 5 days – leaving me only 4 days left to pack for an entire year and figure out little things like my Visa (which has yet to be approved – technical difficulties) and where I’m going to live.  No biggie right? Let me at least keep telling myself that . . . ok?

Meanwhile, I have no idea how many bags I should be bringing or which bags to bring, let alone what to put in them. Packing for an entire year abroad is no easy task. I know that shipping is definitely not an option because it would probably cost several hundred dollars – supposedly they charge 25% of the value of the contents in Bulgaria. Therefore I am taking only what I can wheel and/or carry. I have my rolling duffel which has seen me through many trips and moves and my Gregory travel pac, which I took across Europe with me. I may get a 2nd duffel and try to use my Pac as a carry on. Do you think I could get away with that? The manual I received from Fulbright suggests that you pack at least 2-3 wks worth of clothes and all medications in your carry-on luggage.

So far I’ve been given the following advice on what TO BRING and NOT to bring:

  • Gladware/Tupperware or some equivalent – supposedly you can’t get it over there.
  • Ziplock bags
  • Chewable Tums/Anti-acids & – also unavailable
  • DON’T need to stock up on contact solution, despite what Fulbright guide says
  • DON’T bring too many clothes b/c I can buy stuff there – jackets, boots, etc.
  • 3-4 Adapters and a Power strip for electronics
  • Stock up on underwear & socks
  • A few books to read
  • Measuring cups/spoons if you like to cook
  • DON’T bring a straightener/hair dryer, because you can buy one there with the proper voltage.
  • Duct tape – it is quite useful (just ask my former car)
  • Little Tissue packs – good for doubling use as toilet paper. Def noted during my EuroTrip
  • Imodium/Anti-Diarrhea Medication and Sudafed or similar equiv
  • 8 additional passport photos and copies of all my important documents

Can you think of anything else I might need? I’m just completely unsure as to how much to pack clothing and toiletry wise. I mean how much of the clothes that I pack should be casual vs. professional. How much for Summer/Fall/Winter weather. I already know I’ll need to buy a Fall & Winter jacket there along with boots, because they’d take up way to much space in my suitcase. Some people mentioned bringing foods I might miss and won’t be able to get in Bulgaria, but I don’t know which I should bring or if I even have any room to fit food.

Please HELP! I need any advice you can give . . .

  • Anna

    Hey Sandi! You have been getting some pretty good advice – I wish I’d known not to waste space with my hair dryer and curling iron since when I plugged ’em in with the adapter, the dryer started shooting fire and the curling iron remained stoically cold. (My solution to both: the pixie cut.)

    I suggest buying a european cord for your laptop so you won’t have to mess with an adapter every single time. It is also , presumably, safer overall. If you have a Mac, it’s just a tiny piece you snap onto the end of the cord. If you have a Dell, you can order an extra cord. I’m sure other brands have a similar process. Buy a couple of small adapters and then get a european power strip over here.

    If you’re planning to travel back to the States within the next year, skip bringing stuff like foods you think you’ll miss. You will spend the first 3-6 months being excited about being in a new place and enjoying the food there. If you’re anything like me, the thing you’ll start to miss will be Qdoba and it’s not really packable 🙂

    DO pack Ziplocs – they’re very expensive.

    I’m not sure about Tupperware but I suggest don’t waste space on it. You can buy it at Ikea, and I’ve even seen it in the Eastern European supermarket here.

    DO bring a reasonable amount of: cold medicine, allergy stuff, ibuprofen. Pharmacies work differently in Europe and it saves a LOT of hassle to bring it along. Don’t be like us and bring a 1,000 count bottle of ibuprofen unless you have some sort of pain disorder. I really wish I’d brought cold medicine though, since I came down with an awful flu during a 4-day period when all the shops were closed.

    Bring copies of documents, but remember you can get passport photos in kiosks in every train station.

    Definitely bring books! You might even consider getting a Kindle or something – I wish I had. I’m always starved for reading material. You could also set up a swap once you arrive, but remember that not everyone has the same tastes as you.

    We buy contact solution every time we enter the States – but it’s unreasonably expensive here. Not sure about Bulgaria!

    Make sure anything *new* is removed from its packaging. If you get searched in customs, they will charge you a tax on anything you’ve owned for less than 6 months. This won’t happen. But – better safe than sorry.

    Do bring measuring cups! If you cook. I do.

    Don’t forget that you must abide by airline weight restrictions!

    I hope this helps!

    xoxo Anna