Holiday Packing Survival Guide

As the fall semester comes to an end, many collegiettes will begin to plan their holiday travels. Whether this entails a flight back home or a visit to a distant friend or relative, packing for these trips can be overwhelming! Fear not, however, for below I have put together a list of the most useful packing tips learned from three years of coast to coast travel for school breaks!

Keep it simple!

When packing for a break, especially one that will last four weeks like the one coming up, it’s easy to feel the urge to bring every piece of clothing you think there’s even a chance you’ll want to wear. Try to avoid this as much as possible, however, and focus on versatile items that can be worn in many different combinations. Neutral colored clothing and accessories can make mix and matching a breeze and will fit much easier into your suitcase compared to your patterned pieces that require six different pairs of matching shoes!

Think light!

There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport and having to pay an enormous fee because of an overweight bag! As someone who has succumbed to this annoying charge more times than I would like to admit, I’ve acquired a few tricks to keep everything balanced and in regulation. Placing heavier items like shoes, pants and sweaters or jackets in your carry-on suitcase and additional personal item (I use a backpack) will free up your checked bag to be filled with lighter items. Also, keep your full-sized toiletries at home! These items quickly add unnecessary weight to your bag and they can be easily purchased wherever your final destination is. To avoid a shocking charge at the airport, try weighing your bags at home so you can at least get an estimate of whether or not you meet requirements and know if you need to do some rearranging.

Be smart with your space!

If over packing is an unavoidable fate for you, utilize the space you have in clever ways to avoid a suitcase bursting at the seams. Stuff your shoes with socks and fit smaller pieces like sports bras and underwear in the spaces between larger items. Basically, turning your suitcase into extreme, real life Tetris will help avoid the frustration of packing a suitcase that just can't close, no matter how many of your roommates you can get to sit on it!

Organization is key!

Having all of your travel documents like boarding passes and passports or IDs organized before you get to the airport will save you a mad scramble in front of the TSA agent trying to clear you through security and will save you from the annoyed glares of fellow travelers as you hold up the line trying to find what you need. On a similar note, place all of the toiletries you plan to bring in your carry-on in a plastic bag beforehand so you can streamline through security. There’s nothing worse than having to wait as a TSA agent painstakingly searches your bag for that one tube of lotion you forgot to separate out, so make your life easier and organize accordingly while packing your things!

Stay fresh!

This tip is useful in saving you from a stinky suitcase on your journey home. By placing a few unused dryer sheets throughout your bag, you can avoid the odors from sweaty clothes or smelly shoes you may have soiled during your travels from affecting any clean items you may have left!

Easily access essentials!

The recycled air in an airplane often really dries out my skin, so I make sure I have a travel-sized lotion that I can easily grab in my bag to stay properly moisturized. There’s nothing worse than waking up from an in-flight snooze with a case of morning breath; avoid this by keeping a pack of gum on hand to save the day. I wouldn’t be able to survive a long flight without some music or a movie to keep my mind occupied and drown out the various noises from fellow passengers. Bringing a good pair of headphones and having them easily within reach is a major key for any frequent flier!

The sheer number of people traveling during this time of year can make airports stressful spaces! Using some of these tips, however, will help keep your journey as relaxing as the vacation from school and responsibility you are about to enjoy. Wishing you happy holidays and safe travels! 

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