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

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

    5 years ago

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie says:

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

    5 years ago

  • DiamondSand

    DiamondSand says:

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

    5 years ago

  • candacejean

    candacejean says:

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

    5 years ago

  • bootmeister

    bootmeister says:

    love the red suitcases!

    5 years ago

  • StudioZen

    StudioZen says:

    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!

    5 years ago

  • Hammermann

    Hammermann says:

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

    5 years ago

  • sewlola

    sewlola says:

    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.

    5 years ago

  • jv1533

    jv1533 says:

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

    5 years ago

  • VintageZen

    VintageZen says:

    Love it!

    5 years ago

  • undermyfeet

    undermyfeet says:

    I love to travel in style or out.

    5 years ago

  • Tiffabulous

    Tiffabulous says:

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

    5 years ago

  • simplyworn

    simplyworn says:

    exciting adventure!

    5 years ago

  • elizabethwrenvintage

    elizabethwrenvintage says:

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

    5 years ago

  • tangente

    tangente says:

    Fun, wish I had time to travel more :)

    5 years ago

  • poplovedesigns

    poplovedesigns says:

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

    5 years ago

  • lilcoop1

    lilcoop1 says:

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

    5 years ago

  • papercutworks

    papercutworks says:

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

    5 years ago

  • LoveandDream

    LoveandDream says:

    Great article with good tips! thanks

    5 years ago

  • wintersummer

    wintersummer says:

    Great items! Love it!

    5 years ago

  • minnabean

    minnabean says:

    Great finds, Erica!

    5 years ago

  • VogueVixens

    VogueVixens says:

    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.

    5 years ago

  • lilabelledesign

    lilabelledesign says:

    Fab article ;o)

    5 years ago

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions says:

    Very exciting! Lots of great stuff here!!

    5 years ago

  • NaturalAmber

    NaturalAmber says:

    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 :)

    5 years ago

  • lindaketelhut

    lindaketelhut says:

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

    5 years ago

  • NoMoreTwistHandmade

    NoMoreTwistHandmade says:

    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!

    5 years ago

  • Jessina

    Jessina says:

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

    5 years ago

  • poppyswickedgarden

    poppyswickedgarden says:

    WoW Erica, it looks like you had a blast!

    5 years ago

  • thelittlemarket

    thelittlemarket says:

    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!

    5 years ago

  • lindsayevans

    lindsayevans says:

    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.

    5 years ago

  • AOneDameProduction

    AOneDameProduction says:

    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).

    5 years ago

  • MagicMarkingsArt

    MagicMarkingsArt says:

    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!

    5 years ago

  • pcwilson72

    pcwilson72 says:

    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.

    5 years ago

  • akcArt

    akcArt says:

    Nice article! Welcome back!

    5 years ago

  • SaraBJewelry

    SaraBJewelry says:

    loVE the owl pocketbook! ;)

    5 years ago

  • sweetsandhearts

    sweetsandhearts says:

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

    5 years ago

  • adrienneaudrey

    adrienneaudrey says:

    Love the red suitcases and the cassette wallet!

    5 years ago

  • barrofsoap

    barrofsoap says:

    nice article and love that owl pocketbook :)

    5 years ago

  • eatyourgreens

    eatyourgreens says:

    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!)

    5 years ago

  • AngelGrace

    AngelGrace says:

    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.

    5 years ago

  • smalltowninthecity

    smalltowninthecity says:

    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!

    5 years ago

  • smalltowninthecity

    smalltowninthecity says:

    whoops, wrong article!

    5 years ago

  • jbeaudet

    jbeaudet says:

    How exciting! Love the travel picks!:)

    5 years ago

  • kodashii88

    kodashii88 says:

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

    5 years ago

  • davisdesignsau

    davisdesignsau says:

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

    5 years ago

  • yoshibearstudio

    yoshibearstudio says:

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

    5 years ago

  • CroSheaCreations

    CroSheaCreations says:

    Great ideas for packing for a trip!

    5 years ago

  • hankietankie

    hankietankie says:

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

    5 years ago

  • VelveteenHabbit

    VelveteenHabbit says:

    Bon Voyage!!!!

    5 years ago

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage says:

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

    5 years ago

  • RiverBazaar

    RiverBazaar says:

    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...

    5 years ago

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage says:

    Great travel items!

    5 years ago

  • lorenabr

    lorenabr says:

    Travel is the best :) lovely items

    5 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery says:

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

    5 years ago

  • xoxsmiley

    xoxsmiley says:

    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. :]

    5 years ago

  • persylla

    persylla says:

    great advice! i love the soap to go

    5 years ago

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 says:

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

    5 years ago

  • LHCreativeSpace

    LHCreativeSpace says:

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

    5 years ago

  • FluteTeacher

    FluteTeacher says:

    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!

    5 years ago

  • NotYoMommasHandbag

    NotYoMommasHandbag says:

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

    5 years ago

  • TrimsNmore

    TrimsNmore says:

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

    5 years ago

  • pasin

    pasin says:

    Great items Love them all

    5 years ago

  • bonjourfrenchie

    bonjourfrenchie says:

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

    5 years ago

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares says:

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

    5 years ago

  • AnnTig

    AnnTig says:

    Travel - sounds Great!!!!!

    5 years ago

  • julessabjewelry

    julessabjewelry says:

    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!

    5 years ago

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez says:

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

    5 years ago

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy says:

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

    5 years ago

  • nicolelindner

    nicolelindner says:

    ERICA!!!! Congrats on your article!

    5 years ago

  • inblue

    inblue says:

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

    5 years ago

  • santosleather

    santosleather says:

    Gorgeous, original and fun !

    5 years ago