Packing Tips

With summer, the prime traveling season, in our midst, I thought I would share some pearls of wisdom on how to pack for those setting off:

  • Make a list. For my study abroad trip, I started considering things to pack about a month in advance so I would have time to shop for what I needed.
  • As a basic rule of thumb, if you don’t wear or use it now, you won’t wear or use it abroad. As simple as it sounds, I always trick myself into thinking, “There’s that shirt I haven’t worn in a few years, maybe I’ll wear it on this trip.” Of course, I never do. If I haven’t worn it in more than a month, I usually don’t consider bringing it.
  • For longer trips, once you lay out what you think you’re going to pack, however much it is, eliminate about a fourth of your clothing. I promise, it won’t be missed.
  • Some of the most effective space-saving solutions are to roll your t-shirts and put larger, non-flexible items like shoes in first.
  • Do not pack anything in your checked bags that you can’t live without. I make sure to have things like prescription medications, laptop, cameras, currency, etc. on my person and leave my checked bags exclusive to clothes and toiletries; things much more easy to replace.
  • Obey Murphy’s Law of packing: if it can spill, it will. Bag and even double bag things susceptible to spill, especially fine liquids.
  • As hard as it may be, try to leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs or easy packing for your return trip. Another way to create extra space is to not expand your suitcase until your return trip.
  • You can find great deals on name-brand suitcases at stores like Ross, T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s.
  • Some airlines abroad (especially budget ones) might have different carry-on policies (in terms of prohibited items, maximum baggage size, etc.) you should check up on before traveling.
  • In addition, double check baggage restrictions on trains, buses, etc. you plan on taking, as well.

Happy trails!



  1. July 4, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    Good useful stuff. You make a lot of sense. I was also impressed with your evaluation of travel options….car/train/bus and your balance of time vs budget. Smart person your are!

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