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Tips On Packing For Your Flight Home, From An Out-Of-State Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

As a bicoastal student, finals week is not only the time when I face the struggles of papers, projects, presentations, and exams, but it is also when I must face the even more daunting task of packing my life back up to go home for break. Being a chronic over-packer, it is always a challenge for me to figure out what to bring, how to pack it, and how to accomplish all of this in a reasonable amount of time. Although I find myself struggling with fitting everything into my suitcase at the end of each quarter, I have been applauded by my friends for my packing expertise (they usually aren’t privy to the mental breakdowns that go into it). Therefore, I have developed a guide for all of my expert packing tips and tricks for flights home. 

First, I always start early. Packing always ends up taking me significantly longer than I plan for, so it is imperative that I give myself more time than I think I will need to get everything done. Especially when I am packing during finals week, I always make sure not to leave packing until the very last minute because I usually leave relatively soon after my last final. This is obviously significantly easier after fall quarter rather than at the end of spring quarter, but leaving myself time to pack for my flight and clean up my apartment before I go is a necessary part of my process. 

Next, I have mastered the art of overpacking successfully. For me, overpacking is an incurable disease – no matter how many times I fly back and forth across the country I never learn that I will not wear most of the items that I struggle to stuff in my suitcase before I leave for the airport. One solution that has helped me with this is investing in vacuum seal bags. This allows me to fit so many more clothes into my suitcase, and it is especially helpful at the beginning and end of the year when I have to bring everything home. I also use a luggage scale that hooks onto my luggage and weighs it because I always seem to struggle with the 50 pound weight limit for checked bags at the beginning and end of each year. These tools help me to seamlessly and successfully overpack for each trip home (even though my closet at home is still somehow full). 

During my packing process, I will always be watching a movie or a TV show. I hate the process of packing, so entertaining myself with something to watch in the background is a necessary part of the experience. This helps the time go by faster and keeps me from taking breaks on my phone. 

Lastly, make friends who live nearby. I cannot tell you how many times my friends from LA and Orange County have saved me so that I don’t have to buy new bedding and towels each year. My lovely friends are always more than willing to store anything that I need them to, which avoids me having to pay for any storage or throw things away. 

I know all too well how stressful packing and traveling can be. Hopefully these tips will help you in the process and make your finals week run more smoothly. Best of luck and happy travels!

Nicole is a third-year student at UCLA from Plymouth, Massachusetts pursuing an International Development Studies major and Global Health minor. She loves the beach, hiking, traveling, and coffee.