Believe it or not, there’s a method to the madness of packing for a trip. I am a chronic over-packer, and so is everyone else in my life. Nobody ever really told me how to pack like a normal person, so I defer to packing everything I think I am going to need. Obviously, this poses several challenges. In order to mitigate this, and to not go over the weight limit for checked luggage, I have some ideas. If you’re like me, and you have no idea to how pack, and struggle with traveling, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s make packing fun!
Luggage means everything when you’re traveling. Sometimes it helps to buy luggage that has a different color or print than your typical black nylon suitcase. If you can, buy different sizes of luggage in one print or color. There are many matching luggage sets to buy out there. I’d recommend Macy’s or Amazon for a cute travel set.
If you’re going to check your bag, you need to know what it looks like when it’s time to pick it up from the baggage carousel. If you have a matching set or a bright color bag, this will be easy. However, if you chose to have a black bag, make it pop by tying a large ribbon around it. This makes it easy to spot among other luggage.
Also, make sure to add a luggage tag with your name on it, your phone number, or your email. Avoid putting your home address on the tag, for safety reasons. You don’t want a complete stranger showing up at your house.
What to Bring
In order to determine what to pack in your bag, it is important to know what kind of activities you will be engaging in on vacation. Consult your itinerary before loading up your suitcase. In all cases, pack extra sets of socks and undergarments, in case of emergencies. It is always a good idea to bring sneakers, and an even better one to wear them while traveling, so they don’t dirty up the inside of your suitcase. Another good idea to ensure you do not over-pack is to physically lay out your outfits for every day you will be away. Make sure to include travel outfits in your lineup as well! Then, write down all of the articles of clothing you want to take with you. This packing list will help you stay on track by being a physical reminder of what you need, and excluding any unnecessary items. Before you pack your suitcase, make sure all of the clothes you would like to bring with you are clean!
When it comes to toiletries, make sure to pack the necessities. The bare minimum should include your toothbrush, toothpaste, cleanser, and moisturizer. If you love makeup, make sure to pack mini versions of your favorite products. Stick to one eye shadow palette and one nail polish color for your whole trip. Not only will this make your suitcase lighter, but it will give you a more cohesive look. A good rule of thumb is to pack your ride-or-dies, or the products you love the most from each category.
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What to Pack in Your Cabin Bag
For a longer trip, you should bring some sort of a cabin bag or tote bag with you. Your cabin bag should consist of all of the things you can’t live without (within reason!) In your bag, make sure to pack everything you would want to have on you in case of an emergency. This includes medication, passports, and other valuables. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure you put your case or contact solution in the cabin bag as well. You should also pack an extra change of clothing. When my parents went on vacation to St. Lucia, the airline ended up losing their luggage, so they were stranded without another set of clothes for a day or so. You do NOT want that to happen to you, so definitely throw a swimsuit in if you have the space.
Also, pack things that will keep your mind occupied during your travels. A book, sketchbook, or other electronics can be packed in your cabin bag. Make sure to bring the matching chargers and headphones or earbuds to listen to music with. Before you travel, download some new music, or an interesting podcast to listen to. This will make the time go by much faster. Keep in mind, it is bad travel etiquette to play your music loudly on transportation, without headphones. This forces everyone into a very uncomfortable situation, especially if you have a bad taste in music. This is a direct call-out to the frat bro on the bus who was watching Tiktok at full volume. We can all hear you, Tyler. Don’t be like Tyler. Wear headphones.
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Your Travel Wardrobe
When you travel, what you wear is important. Be conscious of the clothes that make the journey with you. Dress for the occasion, whether you are traveling by airplane, train, car, or boat. Airplanes tend to be very cold, so make sure to include a sweater in your outfit. It’s always a good idea to dress in layers, for any vacation. Start by wearing a cotton t-shirt, with a sweater on top, and with outerwear over that. Chose a rain slicker or a puffer jacket to match the weather. Make sure your clothes are cozy, clean, chic, and are things you feel comfortable wearing for long periods of time.
If you are short on space in your suitcase, you can also opt to wear your bulkier items during travel to make more room. Just be sure that you don’t get overheated, and the clothes are layers you can easily remove without disturbing fellow travelers.