Advice from a Veteran Traveler, a Makeup Junkie, a Fashion Enthusiast, and Someone who Still Overpacks
Depending on where you live and what school you go to, you’re probably getting ready for either spring break or the end of the school year. Maybe you’re flying halfway across the world to make your dream vacation a reality; or maybe, you’re going on a road trip with some friends on the weekend. Either way, you’ve got to start packing and I’m here to help. (Specific tips & tricks for makeup and for fashion coming soon)
1. Cut the bullshit.
Ok, maybe that was a bit harsh. Nevertheless, this is probably the most useful piece of advice I could give you and the one that I need to remind myself of the most. Ask yourself: do you really need three different workout outfits for a weeklong trip where you’re apparently going to turn your whole life around and start exercising? Do you really need both a matte red lipstick and a satin one? Are you absolutely sure that you’re going to go through a whole box of Band-Aids while you’re away? You get the point. Don’t kid yourself, only bring what you really need. Stop creating an endless list of hypothetical situations in your head, and remember that if you didn’t pack something that you really end up needing, you can always buy it there. I know it’s hard to do, but when it comes to packing, it’s best to put a strict limit on “better safe than sorry.”
2. Make a packing list.
This one may seem obvious, but I do have some tips on making a solid packing list. First of all, write down the number of each item that you need to bring and stick with it. If you don’t make a list and you just pick your clothes straight out of the closet, you may be tempted to bring more clothes than you need. Also, if you’re a last-minute packer like me, you don’t need to stress about anything you’re forgetting or pack anything that you don’t need. Second of all, make sure that you have written down everything that you can’t live without. These are the items that you either can’t buy wherever it is that you’re going, or that are going to be useful on a regular basis while you’re away from home. Examples of these items may include cellphones, cameras, laptops, hair straighteners/curling irons, basically anything that you wouldn’t want to have to repurchase because you forgot yours at home. Something that I do to pick out the things that I don’t necessarily need but that I think I can’t live without is to pretend that my suitcase is overweight and force myself to take out some of the items (usually clothes/makeup).
3. Remember, you’re probably going to buy stuff.
Souvenirs, gifts, maybe some locally-made trinkets and artisanal goods, you’re going to need to leave space in your suitcase for everything that you’re going to buy. My rule of thumb is to leave enough space to fit a cereal box, but you may need more or less space depending on where you’re going, how long you’re going, and how many people you intend to buy for. To resist the temptation to sneak those extra pair of shoes that you really want to bring into the extra space in your suitcase, pack an object (like the cereal box) into your suitcase to take up the space you want to save for your future purchases. Just remember to take it out before you leave!
4. Pack everything in individual bags before putting them in your suitcase.
Packing cubes were invented for a reason. Although you don’t have to buy the actual bags made for packing, it’s still effective to pack your things in individual bags, whether it be in Ziploc bags or wash bags. I suggest that you sort everything that you’re bringing into categories (ex. tops, socks, etc.) and pack items of the same category into a single (or maybe 2/3) bags. This way, when you’re digging through your suitcase for that one item that you need, you will not only be able to find it faster, but you also won’t make a mess and scatter your things all over the place. If you want to take it even further and be even more organised, you can pack a complete outfit in each bag and that way you can plan out all your outfits in advance and save time in the morning too.
5. Keep your items safe.
This is probably something that you do already, but I have a few tricks that may be helpful to you. First of all, use coats, scarves, or towels as a cushion of sorts and place them strategically around your suitcase to protect any fragile items (makeup, glass bottles, laptops). For glass items, I would wrap some bubble wrap around it first before putting it in my suitcase. I would also put electronics like laptops and tablets between layers of clothing and towards the middle of the suitcase so that there’s cushioning for it on all sides. Usually, I would just suggest that you put all electronics in your carry-on, but with the (stupid, irrational, and just plain racist) electronics ban that the US and the UK have implemented, that may not be possible for some of you. Lastly, always lock up your suitcase and maybe even invest in a luggage strap. I know that airport security is allowed to break your lock and go through your luggage, but the last thing you want is for your zipper to break or something and have all your belongings spill out, so a luggage strap is a great extra precaution to take.
Bonus tip: Ask your mom to help you; moms always seem to know what to do.
I hope that these 5 tips have helped you with your travel preparations! As I mentioned in my last post, I will only be posting once a week on Sundays (and maybe skipping a week or two) from now until mid-April, so if you want to read more of my posts, check out some of my previous posts below:
Happy reading !