Here's a list of the tips that I know now, that I wish I knew before:
OVERPACKING: First of all, remember not to stress out over packing too much. Whatever you don't bring you can usually always buy in the country you go to. I can't tell you how much I brought & seriously never used. Especially with clothes & accessories. If anything, you'll find that Primark is sooo flipping cheap & you'll wanna buy tons of clothes there to bring back home with you.
SHOES: 1 pair of hiking shoes, 1 pair of regular tennis shoes, 1 pair of nice dressy shoes, and maybe some boots for winter is the ideal. You could pack a ton of fancy shoes to keep up with the fashionistas of Europe, but ill tell ya now, while traveling, you're gonna pick Nikes over cute shoes any day of the week.
PLASTIC BAGGIES: Can someone please tell me why it's so hard to find zip lock baggies in Europe?! Pack a box of those in your suit case and you'll be glad you did. Or you could be like me and carry your trail mix, snacks, and toiletries around in the thin little "fruit holder" bags you find in grocery stores.
FOR GIRLS: Make sure you pack a decent amount of lady products. Some of the options offered in Europe are a little scarce, and its just a good thing to have decent supply of those anyways.
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE: When traveling around Europe this will be one of your best friends. Drinking fountains are not always the easiest thing to find and a lot of restaurants will make you pay for your water. Plus they are good for the environment (:
PORTABLE CHARGER: I can't tell you how many times I was out exploring a city for hours when my phone died. A portable charger will most definitely save your life in this situation when you need to look up bus schedules, get home, or communicate with someone!
AIPLANE PILLOW: This ones pretty funny but I think it's worth the mention--on your flight to your study abroad destination, if they have those tiny little airplane pillows... TAKE ONE. It will be your best friend over your travels for the next couple months. They're so easy to carry around & long bus rides, sleeping in the airport, & plane rides wouldn't have been the same without mine 😝.
TRANSPORTATION, MUESEUMS, ECT: Book everything online ahead of time. It's so much cheaper.
STUDENT DISCOUNTS: always ask for student discounts. It will often times save you a few bucks! If you know that you're going to be visiting museums or tourist attractions, bring your passport so that you can prove that you're a European student.
CHEAP FLIGHTS: when booking flights, think twice about the cheap RyanAir or Wizz flights. In most cases, the budget airlines are amazing deals. Yet sometimes they end up costing the exact same amount as if you were to fly with the bigger commercial airlines. Here's why: many budget airlines fly you to an airport that is literally IN THE MIDDLE OF NO WHERE. This practically forces you to pay an arm & a leg for a private bus or some sort of transportation to get you to the main city center. They know you have no way else of leaving the airport so it's often around $15-$20. For this reason, keep this in mind while comparing flight prices & always check what airport you are flying into !
Side note: Paris Bourdeaux airport royally STINKS.
DAY PACKS: Get yourself a good day pack. My day pack consisted of an old Jansport backpack and boy was I greatful for it. Make sure it's large enough to carry water, cameras, souvenirs bought along the way, snacks, your wallet, & all that jazz.
PICK POCKETING: Never ever EVER put your phone, wallet, or purse in the front pocket of your bag or your back pocket. I'm not kidding, pick pocketers are everywhere & they are SLY... you'll never even notice it's gone. I caught a girl reaching into my over the shoulder bag that was hanging by my side. Always be aware, especially in the metro stations.
ATMS: when paying with a card or withdrawing money from the ATM, the machine will often ask you if you want to charge euros or dollars. Always chose euros. If you chose dollars you are paying extra for them to make the conversion for you.
HAVE THE BEST TIME EVER: Walk everywhere, speak the language, get lost, explore every inch of your city, make friends, stay out all night, write in a journal, travel. It's gonna be some of the greatest months of your life & it's gonna go by in a blink of an eye.
I hope these tips helped you as much as they helped me! Pass them on & enjoy your trip!