Top packing tips for a tremendous vacation

March 19, 2021


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Passengers at Washington Dulles International Airport lining up at the check-in area for their flights. As national vaccination efforts have progressed and travel restrictions have been eased, high levels of travel are expected this spring.

How many pairs of socks should I bring? And what about my ID? WHERE ARE MY HEADPHONES!?! Packing your bags for vacation is stressful. But don’t fear, because The Pitch’s packing guide (spring break edition) is here!

Let’s start with the easy stuff. If you’re flying, avoid overpacking. You may have to pay the airline’s extra bag/overweight fees. Take the safer route by limiting yourself to a rolling carry-on (included for no extra costs on many flights) and a small bag or purse. This way, you won’t have to waste time at the airport being weighed down by heavy luggage. If traveling by car, a large duffel may make more sense, as you usually aren’t limited by weight and size criteria.

The challenge lies behind deciding what to pack given a certain amount of space. It’s a tough decision, but one that is made easier by sensible thinking and some tips. The first is to start early—a few days before your travel day—and that way you can be stress-free while taking care of anything that may be missing.

Junior Mariam Abdelfadeel says she delays packing until the last moment.

“I procrastinate everything, so [I pack] last day,” she said.

Start by getting together everything you may need, but don’t put it in your bag yet. Ask yourself questions like, “Will I really use that soccer ball?” or, “Do I really need all of that jewelry?” In short, stick to the essentials, and life will be easier. Consider the duration, itinerary and (hopefully warm) weather of your vacay. Through this, decide the type and amount of clothes you should bring.

Abdelfadeel also says she has trouble deciding how much stuff she should pack.

“I overpack, extremely overpack,” she said.

Divide the things you want to pack into two piles: one for things you may need while traveling, and another pile for things you won’t. Your “on the go” pile may include your ID/Passport, your wallet, a charger and headphones, any medicine you take, lip balm and maybe a set of extra clothes. Sunglasses will likely be quite useful in this upcoming season. Go the extra mile (pun intended) by thinking about items you use in your everyday life and if they may be handy when traveling. Put all of these items in a small, comfortable bag that you can carry around on your back or as a purse to ensure you’re able to access its contents easily.

The second pile is for things you won’t need for the duration of your travel journey. The first things that come to mind are clothes, extra pairs of shoes and the like. The things in this pile should be ones you won’t immediately need when arriving at your destination; these should be the less important items. These should all go in your carry-on or duffel bag, which are your less accessible pieces of luggage. Pack larger things, like shoes and heavy coats, first, and the rest will go on top.

The most important tip one can give for a person struggling to pack is this: roll your clothes! Rolling your clothes truly does save a significant amount of space. Experts agree.

“I always overpack, so rolling up my clothes so that they take up less space in my luggage is essential,” Travel and Leisure’s associate photo editor Devin Traineau said.

And of course, don’t forget to bring a face covering and plenty of hand sanitizer. Being safe and careful is of the utmost importance these days.

With some saviness and logic, you’ll be well-packed and heading for a succesful, stress-free spring break where you can reset and start counting the days till the next big vacation.

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