Packing is infinitely more difficult than anyone ever prepares for. Especially for a trip like this. Imagine moving to another country, where you don’t speak the language, and having to squash all your worldly possessions into 50 pounds of checkable luggage, one "reasonably sized" carry-on and a personal bag. Impossible.

If you Google "how to pack like a pro" you will find videos of people updating the old clown-car trick to fit ridiculous amounts of clothes into unavailingly small spaces. And no matter how long I perused YouTube, hoping to find the secret Tetris pattern of clothes in order to fit everything you need/want/can’t live without, I still ended up leaving three-quarters of my wardrobe as well as my iPod charger at home. I guess we know what my first purchase will be once I get there.

For those of you moving to another continent here are a few traveling/packing suggestions:

-- Vacuum bags are possibly the greatest creation of all time. Being able to squish clothes into half the amount of space they would normally take up is a key step in the great packing process. Also, I would highly recommend sorting your bags by type of clothes (i.e. pants and jammies in one, shirts and sweaters in another, etc.) in order to greatly reduce the risk of arriving with plenty of shirts but no pants to go with them.

-- Figure out what things you take for granted at home that may not be readily available in your destination country. For example, in my inquiries it turned out that there were a couple of common American necessities that wouldn’t be easy to find in China. Now I have six months worth of deodorant tucked in with the extra supplies of my favorite Burt’s Bees products.

-- Outlet adapters! Attention! Not all countries have the same, surprised-face, wall outlets that we do! And unless you want to go six months without charging anything, you may want to figure out the shape of the plugs and buy some adapters. Voltage adapters are equally valuable. The voltage built into each wall outlet varies from country to country so I would highly recommend packing as many voltage adapters as you think necessary lest you risk blowing up your hair straightener the first time you try to tame your curls.

While I could go over about 10,000 more suggestions about traveling, these are the three that are sticking to my brain matter at this moment in time.

P.S. Don’t forget your iPod charger ... just don’t.

Originally published on Jan. 31.

Zoe Perra is a recent graduate of Brattleboro Union High School. She is taking a year off between high school and college to experience life in China. Visit her blog at