Shop Etsy

Etsy U Abroad: A Student’s Guide to Jet-Setting in Style

Jun 28, 2010

by sweetsandhearts handmade and vintage goods

Erica_bio.jpgErica Macaranas is the self-taught fashion designer behind Sweets and Hearts and writes a fashion style blog of the same name. She recently graduated from Woodbury University with a degree in fashion marketing. She is the founder and  leader of Etsy U, an Etsy team for college students that allows its members to network, interact, and promote their shops while supporting each others’ creative and academic interests.

I recently got back from an art-based study tour to Paris, Florence, and Rome. It was my first time traveling abroad without my family, and I was both nervous and thrilled to meet new people, try different kinds of food, and see places and artwork I had only read about in my history classes (and Dan Brown novels). As cliché as it sounds, it really was an experience of a lifetime. Not only did I get to immerse myself in European culture, I became close with my roommates on the trip, bonded with the rest of my classmates, and even got to know my professors on a more personal level.

Aside from all the fun and exciting things I saw and did, nothing prepared me for the jam-packed tour itinerary and walking marathons. Traveling can be intense — especially when you’re trying to balance recreational activities (shopping, sightseeing, relaxing) and school activities (essays, projects and studying). Here’s a starter guide to make your trip a little easier — and a bit more fashionable — with the help of some Etsy sellers.



For Your Stuff:
You don’t want to be standing at baggage claim, reaching forward whenever you see another black nylon suitcase pass you by — only to realize it’s not yours. Why not use a bright vintage suitcase like the one from scrapsistersvintage to set yours apart from the rest? To erase any doubt that it’s yours, attach a monogrammed luggage tag by leathermadenice. For the girls who want to bring their makeup and other knickknacks with them, asoftblackstar makes super chic makeup bags and brush rolls.



For the Plane:
Whether your flight is two hours or twelve, sleeping on a plane isn’t typically a comfortable experience for anyone. A silk eye mask by bibbon is perfect for getting some shut eye. When you’re trying to shut out your neighbors by plugging headphones into your ears, a quirky felted mixtape case by dorydesigns is the perfect way to protect your mp3 player. Don’t forget a pair of knitted socks by morrgan (your toes will thank me later).



For You:
It’s hard to predict what the temperature will be when you arrive at your destination, no matter how many times you check the weather report beforehand. Be sure to pack items that can be layered and taken off easily according to climate changes. An infinity scarf by KangarooKnits is as versatile as it is stylish and will keep you warm on chilly nights. Vintage cardigans and sweaters, like this purple sweater from Troubador Vintage, are also great alternatives to your favorite collegiate hooded sweatshirt and will help you look your best from day to night. Top off your outfit with a pair of vintage aviators from starstruckladies and a knit beret by mehran and you’re good to go.



For Your Travel Bag:
A small journal by paperfetish would be useful for when you need to take notes, jot down some information or sketch ideas. Protect your camera with a versatile gadget case by RogueTheory. A set of sudsnsuch soaps-to-go are extremely handy when sanitation is not your destination’s priority. Toss everything into a mid-sized shoulder bag by Hollyaiken and your hands will be free to carry your luggage (and extra shopping bags on the way home).


Etsy is a great resource for satisfying all your traveling needs! To learn more about my school trip, you can read about it on my blog.

Thanks to Erica for sharing her travel-made-easy recommendations. Do you have any trips coming up? Tell us what essentials are missing from this list in the comments below!

Articles for College Students | Travel Posts | Guest Curators


  • VintageTribe

    VintageTribe said 8 years ago

    love this! I always bring a comfy sweater with me on the plane!

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 8 years ago

    So glad you enjoyed your trip Erica. It sounds like a wonderful experience!

  • DiamondSand

    DiamondSand said 8 years ago

    Hey great article. There are some great items here for travelling, I shall be having a good browse through. Thanks for sharing. :))

  • candacejean

    candacejean said 8 years ago

    I wish I could go on a study tour! Especially to Europe. I'd love to see Japan someday, too. Cute finds!

  • bootmeister

    bootmeister said 8 years ago

    love the red suitcases!

  • StudioZen

    StudioZen said 8 years ago

    Great finds Erica. I love the messenger bag! My son traveled to Europe a few years ago with a school group and he says his days were jam packed too. I hope he'll return the favor and send me on a fabulous trip someday!

  • Hammermann

    Hammermann said 8 years ago

    I can't wait to go back to Europe! Great tips and finds.

  • sewlola

    sewlola said 8 years ago

    Two years ago, I traveled to France and Italy and as you said, it was a lifetime experience! I would love to travel again. Thank you for sharing your story and finds.

  • jv1533

    jv1533 said 8 years ago

    Great idea, great article. Makes me want to hop on a plane. :)

  • VintageZen

    VintageZen said 8 years ago

    Love it!

  • undermyfeet

    undermyfeet said 8 years ago

    I love to travel in style or out.

  • Tiffabulous

    Tiffabulous said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful experience for you! I am planning on traveling to Europe next Spring. Thank you for the tips!

  • simplyworn

    simplyworn said 8 years ago

    exciting adventure!

  • elizabethwrenvintage

    elizabethwrenvintage said 8 years ago

    I love traveling! Great ideas for what to bring : ) Thanks.

  • tangente

    tangente said 8 years ago

    Fun, wish I had time to travel more :)

  • poplovedesigns

    poplovedesigns said 8 years ago

    Amazing travel collection, and what a time of year to do it! Bon Voyage! <3 Andrea

  • lilcoop1

    lilcoop1 said 8 years ago

    Great article Erica! It seems like you really enjoyed your trip.

  • papercutworks

    papercutworks said 8 years ago

    great travel attire planner! love the vintage red suitcase... inspired a new site-wide etsy search :-)

  • LoveandDream

    LoveandDream said 8 years ago

    Great article with good tips! thanks

  • wintersummer

    wintersummer said 8 years ago

    Great items! Love it!

  • minnabean

    minnabean said 8 years ago

    Great finds, Erica!

  • VogueVixens

    VogueVixens said 8 years ago

    Some great items to make travel more pleasant. We have the horrible black bags, but tie several different coloured ribbons to them, a beautiful luggage tag would look much classier.

  • lilabelledesign

    lilabelledesign said 8 years ago

    Fab article ;o)

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 8 years ago

    Very exciting! Lots of great stuff here!!

  • NaturalAmber

    NaturalAmber said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful article to read. Wish I could go abroad, but Ill have to wait until Im not so prego, and baby is a little older :)

  • lindaketelhut

    lindaketelhut said 8 years ago

    Travel is a true joy. Your experience sounds like it was wonderful. Thanks for your inspired list of picks.

  • NoMoreTwistHandmade

    NoMoreTwistHandmade said 8 years ago

    socks on the plane are a must! also, a nice knitted blanket by one of the fine knitters here on etsy would be a good addition since the plan blankets are always so thin!

  • Jessina

    Jessina said 8 years ago

    gorgeous finds!! travel is one of my favorite things! xx

  • poppyswickedgarden

    poppyswickedgarden said 8 years ago

    WoW Erica, it looks like you had a blast!

  • thelittlemarket

    thelittlemarket said 8 years ago

    During highschool I would day dream about going to study something artsy abroad when I graduated. Well, I did go to London and Paris! Not to study though, I went on a wonderful vacation that I won't soon forget! Congratulations Erica! Great article and picks!

  • lindsayevans

    lindsayevans said 8 years ago

    i'm currently spending the summer in italy and one thing that i would love to see on this list is shoes that are good for walking all day that are stylish too.

  • AOneDameProduction

    AOneDameProduction said 8 years ago

    I would never recommend a bag that isn't a backpack or on wheels for travelling. I did that once, and never again (and I wasn't even moving around a lot, it was just the unplanned and unavoidable two mile walk with a heavy suitcase). I've travelled extensively, on multiple trips, and having a colored bag is the smartest choice (I opt for blue or bright red).

  • MagicMarkingsArt

    MagicMarkingsArt said 8 years ago

    My son is in Europe on a study abroad program for the summer. Just like Erica, he will be writing a blog about his preparation for, study program and travels throughout the old country. I am forwarding him this info! Thanks Erica!

  • pcwilson72

    pcwilson72 said 8 years ago

    nice recommendations, but I agree with AOneDameProduction about having a bag with wheels (NOT A DUFFLE BAG WITH WHEELS aka LLBean). i was a study abroad student 3 years ago, and for the past two years have been working abroad in the program in the office seeing hundreds of students (and once myself) struggle with them. ps: you really need to pack less than you think (i down scaled from 100 lbs of luggage to 20 for going abroad) live the dream, don't wait for a convenient time in life for it to happen. i have never been happier with that advice.

  • akcArt

    akcArt said 8 years ago

    Nice article! Welcome back!

  • SaraBJewelry

    SaraBJewelry said 8 years ago

    loVE the owl pocketbook! ;)

  • sweetsandhearts

    sweetsandhearts said 8 years ago

    thank you so much for the kind comments, everyone! ^_^

  • adrienneaudrey

    adrienneaudrey said 8 years ago

    Love the red suitcases and the cassette wallet!

  • barrofsoap

    barrofsoap said 8 years ago

    nice article and love that owl pocketbook :)

  • eatyourgreens

    eatyourgreens said 8 years ago

    Inspiring article.. I would love to travel to europe, especially on an art trip! Awesome finds... and I think I want to check out the Etsy U Team (i'm a student too!)

  • AngelGrace

    AngelGrace said 8 years ago

    Terrific article! I always wanted to do something like that when I was young but didn't have the means. Glad it was so rewarding for you. Love the red suitcases and totally agree with you on the warm, cozy socks for the plane so you can take off your shoes.

  • smalltowninthecity

    smalltowninthecity said 8 years ago

    suggested shops are mostly empty . . . LOVE your bags though!!! hoping i have the willpower not to buy the one i'm halfway in love with!

  • smalltowninthecity

    smalltowninthecity said 8 years ago

    whoops, wrong article!

  • jbeaudet

    jbeaudet said 8 years ago

    How exciting! Love the travel picks!:)

  • kodashii88

    kodashii88 said 8 years ago

    That soap-to-go is supa awesome! I am a germ-a-phobe, and public restrooms+Tadashii= freak out! lol That soap is mine!

  • davisdesignsau

    davisdesignsau said 8 years ago

    Warm socks and good jumper... essentials for the plane :-). Great article... travel and explore... essentials for a full life and appreciation for the planet!

  • yoshibearstudio

    yoshibearstudio said 8 years ago

    A girl's gotta travel in style!! ; D

  • CroSheaCreations

    CroSheaCreations said 8 years ago

    Great ideas for packing for a trip!

  • hankietankie

    hankietankie said 8 years ago

    great article! so many fun etsy picks for the traveller...especially love the gold knit beret! XOX

  • VelveteenHabbit

    VelveteenHabbit said 8 years ago

    Bon Voyage!!!!

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage said 8 years ago

    How timely, my daughter is going to berlin and amsterdam to study abroad, thanks for the article. I know I will miss her!

  • RiverBazaar

    RiverBazaar said 8 years ago

    Resisting my strong wanderlust at the time will come again...but ALWAYS go when you can! Sorry but most vintage luggage is best for roadtrips only...

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 8 years ago

    Great travel items!

  • lorenabr

    lorenabr said 8 years ago

    Travel is the best :) lovely items

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 8 years ago

    great post I always find it so difficult to know what to take with me on holiday!

  • xoxsmiley

    xoxsmiley said 8 years ago

    This article is spot on! I'll be traveling in a couple of months and will be taking many of the items on the "essentials" list. :]

  • persylla

    persylla said 8 years ago

    great advice! i love the soap to go

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 said 8 years ago

    Timely travel suggestions! The grey striped wooly socks are wonderful.

  • LHCreativeSpace

    LHCreativeSpace said 8 years ago

    Great article! Love your handmade hair bows. Congrats on your success! Best, LHCreative

  • FluteTeacher

    FluteTeacher said 8 years ago

    This was so much fun to read! The only thing I would add to the list would be snacks. There are some fun snack foods on etsy, too!

  • NotYoMommasHandbag

    NotYoMommasHandbag said 8 years ago

    Great and timely collection for the travelers....smiles.

  • TrimsNmore

    TrimsNmore said 8 years ago

    Love the article. Certainly makes me want to travel :)!

  • pasin

    pasin said 8 years ago

    Great items Love them all

  • bonjourfrenchie

    bonjourfrenchie said 8 years ago

    Europe is heaven on earth, I cant wait to go back, love all of these items!

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 8 years ago

    i haven't traveled out of the US yet, but it's on my list of to-do's.

  • AnnTig

    AnnTig said 8 years ago

    Travel - sounds Great!!!!!

  • julessabjewelry

    julessabjewelry said 8 years ago

    I absolutely love the infinity scarf above. I'm always cold and it looks so warm and cozy. I would love to travel to Europe and it's good to know that I'll need a vacation from my vacation!

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 8 years ago

    Great finds for a great trip of a lifetime! Congrats!

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy said 8 years ago

    Nice article! Love the silk sleep mask. Ahhhh....

  • nicolelindner

    nicolelindner said 8 years ago

    ERICA!!!! Congrats on your article!

  • inblue

    inblue said 8 years ago

    thanks so much for including my pocketbook! awesome article and amazing collection :)

  • santosleather

    santosleather said 8 years ago

    Gorgeous, original and fun !

Sign in to add your own