In my recent explorations of the world I have always packed too much. Except when I went to Ireland, I managed to forget a towel and socks.
So generally the advice is to “pack light,” and though the term “light” is objective there are some guidelines I’ve found that apply to most trips.
If you’re traveling with a group, only bring one set of shampoo & conditioner, you can get by without your special salon soap or your all-in-one forest man wash. Remember when sharing was caring?
However when it comes to deodorant and sunscreen, pack your own. You can’t rely on others to remember these things especially if you need extra strength of either one.
Unless you are going to be inside all day or going out to fancy dinners each night, you won’t need a hair dryer, straightener and curling iron. If you must, just pick one and apply the same rules to jewelry and make-up. You’re better off traveling light on expensive items too.
Always bring half the outfits you originally pile on your bed and double the underwear & socks.
Bathing suits are light as is, so pile in as many as there are days of the week if that’s what you will be wearing all day on the Cancun resort or along the Miami shore.
For more snowy and windy settings remember that jeans can be worn twice, at least, and those are very heavy to pack in excess. Same with sweaters, you can pack two and some long-sleeve shirts and be good to go.
I always pack a rain jacket because whether you’re rocking flip-flops or hiking boots the heavens can open and soak you to the bone. However, with a thin weatherproof shell, you can still hop between museums, stores and, of course, bars.
When it comes to shoes: you only need two pairs. Now this might be difficult for the divas out there, but most weeklong vacations will only require one pair of informal shoes, maybe sneakers or flip-flops or duck boots. And one pair of formal shoes like top-siders, wedges or ski-boots. Shoes are heavy. Heavy is bad. Plus 7/10 instas don’t even show your shoes!
Fold everything nice and tight in your suitcase so it doesn’t get all jumbled and crazy during travel. Roll your pants, shove your socks into your shoes, stack your bras and bathing suits; plus this might help you squeeze that extra pair of boat shoes in.
Always bring a quality purse or backpack to carry your essentials and your valuables. Something with strong straps, a neutral color and preferably zippers. Maybe a small wristlet for going out at night if you’re headed to clubs or boardwalks.
Never forget your phone charger, because that’s probably the one thing you should really have when travelling because your smartphone can function as not only your Snapchat and Instagram camera but a translator, banker, navigator and in a real emergency: a phone.
On the other hand, think twice about bringing your laptop/tablet. If you’re travelling alone it may come in handy, but even then you have to make sure to keep it with you at all times. If you’re travelling with a group, maybe pick one person to bring theirs. Realistically traveling for Spring Break should be about getting away from more than just school, but also work, e-mail and the time-consuming monster that is Netflix.
Headphones are essential when travelling. Flights, road trips, even just spending time with your best friend’s annoying boyfriend, don’t leave these bad boys at home.
Okay yeah, I.D.s are extremely essential too. No one wants to miss a flight because they don’t have their passport, or be denied from the bar with the topless dancers or miss the Segway tour through L.A. Make sure to bring some form of identification and it never hurts to bring a photocopy, too.
All in all remember, the lighter the better. Less things to be stolen, to be lost, or to be remembered while stubbornly throwing it all in your suitcase before your trip home. And if you pack light that generally means you will have some room for souvenirs, like that bottle of rum to warm up your parents after they’ve spent a week worrying and watching you drunkenly post on social media while they work a normal week. Essentials only, Huskies.
Francesca Colturi is associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.