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The Ultimate Travel Guide

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Saint Mary's chapter.

We are two weeks away from Thanksgiving break – most Smicks probably have their travel arrangements made to go home or somewhere with their friends, but they probably won’t give a second thought to packing or travel day agendas until the day before. I’ve had the privilege of being able to travel to many different cities outside my native Midwest, such as Washington, D.C., Chicago, and New York. Many of these trips have taken place throughout my year and a half as a Saint Mary’s student and I’ve picked up a few tricks while racking up my frequent flyer miles.


1. Download PackPoint – This app generates a packing list for you based on your destination, length of your trip, planned activities, and forecast. It comes in two versions: free and paid for $2.99. The paid version allows for more customization of your packing list, but the free version gives a great place for you to start packing.

2. The Ranger Roll – This is one of those kinds of hacks you’d find in a Nifty video while scrolling through Facebook. This type of roll decreases the amount of space your bulky clothes like jeans and t-shirts occupy in your suitcase, leaving you more space to pack efficiently – or in my case, pack more clothes I won’t have time to wear on my trip :)

3. Shoes – Pack shoes at the bottom wall of your suitcase (on top of the wheels) to create a base for when you stand your suitcase upright. I also recommend packing shoes one on top of the other and inside a plastic sack or disposable shower cap to avoid dirtying your packed clothes. To free up even more space, you can pack things like socks inside your shoes.

4. Shake your suitcase – If you’re using a small rolling suitcase as your carry-on, zip the suitcase and stand it up on its wheels. Keeping it upright, shake the suitcase up and down. This will shift your items towards the bottom and allow you to unzip the top of the suitcase and pack a few more things.




1. Headphones – While any pair of headphones or ear buds will suffice, I’m a devoted Beats user on my second pair. My Beats Solo 3 Wireless are perfect for blocking out unwanted noises and can connect via Bluetooth or aux cord.

2. Scarf – Scarves are lightweight, easy to carry, and can be used as a makeshift blanket on a flight. On my last trip home, I picked up the Lululemon Vinyasa scarf that can be worn 7 different ways. It’s a bit pricey at $48, but it’s been worth every penny so far. (Photo from lululemon.com)


3. Cell phone charging cord (and power bank) – Many planes now come equipped with USB charging ports under passenger seats, so it’s a good idea to bring a charging cord along for when your phone dies after a long day of traveling. Take your travel game to the next level and pack a power bank, like a Mophie. Like the Lululemon scarf, they’re a more expensive purchase, but are well worth the money in terms of performance and durability – mine cost $80 and can charge my iPhone 7 to a full battery at least two times. (Photo from bestbuy.com)

4. Makeup bag – I always carry a makeup bag with mascara, concealer, a stippling brush, small pack of makeup wipes, mini body spray, and mini stick of deodorant. Keeping these close by allows for me to quickly freshen up in the lavatory of a plane or in an airport bathroom.

5. Laptop and charger – I can’t go anywhere without my MacBook – it’s honestly ridiculous how attached I am to my phone and computer. However, packing my laptop in my carry-on bag allows me to do homework on the go while I wait for a flight or while in-flight, after the flight attendants say we can use larger electronic devices, of course ;) .

6. Medicine – The only thing worse than having an overnight layover or losing a bag is not having access to medicines you might need, but packed in your checked bag. Pack all prescriptions along with OTC pain relievers (like ibuprofen and Tylenol) and air-sickness medications if you tend to get air-sick (like Dramamine). BONUS: Take Airborne to support your immune system before and after you fly because airplanes are icky.

7. Snacks – I don’t think this one really needs an explanation other than airport food is EXPENSIVE.

8. Emergency money – It’s always a good idea to have extra cash on hand when you travel, even if you have a debit or credit card. NOTE: If you travel with a credit card, make sure to call your bank and alert them of your travel plans to avoid a false fraud charge and card cancellation when you try to use it in a different city.




1. Wear your bulkiest outfit and shoes – This may seem like a hassle, but it’ll help free up more space in your suitcase. For the fall/winter seasons, the best example of a bulky travel day outfit to wear would be a jacket, sweater, jeans, and boots.

2. Download the airline’s app – This will allow you to see your itinerary and tickets on your phone. If you have an Apple Watch, many airline apps will provide watch apps and allow you to scan your boarding pass barcode off your watch.

3. Print out your itinerary and tickets – Just do it. Better safe than sorry, especially if you didn’t pack a phone charger within easy reach.

4. WEAR SOCKS or pack them in your carry on – I can’t stress this enough. I’ve gone through security many times and most of the time I see someone without socks on, because the shoes they wore that day didn’t require them. However, for the sake of keeping your feet clean and keeping you from getting sick, just pack socks, or better yet, wear them to the airport.

5. Place your government ID with your laptop- I always carry my laptop in my carry-on and TSA requires laptop computers to go through the scanner in a separate bin. I, like many other college students, have a silver MacBook. To prevent people from accidentally taking my MacBook, I place my driver’s license in my laptop bin. Putting my ID with my laptop makes it easy for me to find it coming out of the scanner and prevent someone else for mistaking it as theirs.

6. If you’re a frequent flyer, consider TSA Pre-Check – TSA Pre-Check is a program run through the Department of Homeland Security designed specifically for frequent flyers. An online application, a 10-minute, in-person background check and fingerprinting, and a 5-year membership fee of $85 (and obviously government approval) allows individuals to travel through TSA in a separate line and avoid taking off their shoes, belts, and jackets and removing laptops and 3-1-1 liquid bags from their carry-ons. For more information and to get started, visit tsa.gov/precheck.

While nobody truly enjoys traveling, efficient packing and being prepared makes it a lot less stressful. Safe travels, Smicks, and enjoy Thanksgiving break!

Grace Kelly

Saint Mary's '20

Grace is a senior at Saint Mary's College pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She's a Kansas native and Hoosier transplant nine months out of the year and when not doing homework, writing for HC or her blog (www.agraceintheworld.com), you can find her binge-watching Netflix or Hulu, dancing like nobody's watching, cheering on the Fighting Irish, napping, or hanging out with family and friends.  
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Allie Royce

Saint Mary's '18

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