Spring Break Packing Tips
by: Rachel Rostad
When it comes to packing, I have never been good at packing light. I always tend to bring anything that I could ever possibly need. You never know when you might have to go hiking through the mountains or if a blizzard will hit. Or maybe I will take up yoga when I’m at the hotel, so I should definitely bring several different sets of work out clothes. All of these ideas run through my head and I end up with way more than I would ever need for a weekend trip. And don’t even get me started with all the shoes that I think that I will need.
Because of my bad habits, I decided that it would be a good idea to learn some tips on how to pack efficiently.
1. Do your homework. Call the hotel, motel, friend’s house where you’re staying and ask the following: do they have a hairdryer, iron, ironing board, beach towels, bathrobes, sand toys—basically anything that’s bulky and that you’d rather leave at home? If the answer is yes, do not under any circumstances bring your own.
2. Check temperatures and events at your destination. Only pack what corresponds—do not bring “just in case” clothes.
3. Choose a central color to pack around. A neutral such as brown, black, or tan is a good place to start, then bring accessories and accent pieces that go with this color palette.
4. The numbers game. A good rule of thumb for trips less than one week is one shirt per day, one layering jacket or sweater, one bottom per every two days (but never less than two pairs of pants), no more than two pairs of shoes (one you wear and one you pack), underwear for every day, and seasonal additions, like a bathing suit.
5. Wash it out. If you’re traveling for more than a week, follow the same numbers as above and plan on washing clothes instead of bringing more. If you’re in a country with a good exchange rate, or aren’t on a tight budget, take advantage of the hotel laundry service or dry cleaning. Otherwise, bring individual packets of Woolite and a travel stain-treatment stick (Tide to Go is the best one).
6. Write it down. Make detailed lists of everything you plan to bring. That way you can easily see if you’ve allotted six pairs of pants for a four-day trip. Be honest, note everything—including socks and underwear—and then stick to your list when packing.
7. Downsize toiletries. Pick up travel-size versions of your favorite products whenever you see them, not just when you’re getting ready to travel. If you can’t find miniatures, buy small plastic bottles and decant from larger products.
8. Wear your heaviest shoes, sweater, and jacket. That way, you don’t have to pack them.
9. Pack outside your bag. Before you actually pack your suitcase, pile everything you plan to bring on your bed or dresser. This is your opportunity to eye your clothes and cull a few more items. If you pack directly into your suitcase, you’ll be tempted to throw in a few extra items (trust us, you will). Once you’ve made the final edit, pack only what’s in front of you. If you’ve followed our advice, your suitcase should now be a lean, mean, traveling machine.
Other tips that I have noticed are things like rolling your clothes and putting them in your suitcase instead of folding them. It prevents wrinkling and leaves more room for other things. Also packing a suitcase so that it is not crammed full will keep the clothes from wrinkling as well. It as also a good idea to consider how much you value the items you are packing into your suitcase. Airlines mislaid 42.4 million suitcases last year, reason enough never to put anything you would hate to lose in your checked luggage.