Over-packing. Admit it; we’re all guilty of it at one time or another. “Just an extra shirt” quickly turns into 5 extra shirts, two more pairs of heels, and next thing you know, you’re lugging two extra suitcases down the runway. I used to be one of the worst offenders, convinced I needed everything from mittens to several swimsuits options for a weekend trip. However, moving to college across the country has made me a reformed woman, and I’m here to help you do the same.
The key to packing smart is bringing reusable options. Only bring multiples when necessary. For instance, a weeklong spring break trip to a warm destination will require several swimsuits, as you’re not going to want to wear the same one all week. However, you can save room by bringing bikini tops and bottoms that you can mix and match, creating more options without taking up extra room. This same philosophy applies to the rest of your wardrobe. Instead of bringing a completely separate outfit for each night you are going to go out on the town, bring pieces you can easily restyle. For instance, a simple black cotton dress can serve as a swimsuit cover-up, transition into a casual lunch look with a wide belt and strappy sandals, and transition again into an evening look with glitzy accessories like a statement necklace and fun heels. Shoes are definitely my weakness when I pack, however, they are heavy and can take up a lot of your room if you aren’t careful. Opt for shoes that can be worn with multiple outfits and that are in neutral colors. Remember that no matter where you go, you’re going to be walking a lot as you explore. You want to be able to focus on the sights around you, not on the blisters forming on your feet. If you simply can’t resist bringing your newest pair of espadrilles, bring gel inserts to give your feet a break.
The Little Things
There are several items which, if forgotten, can put a major kink in your travel plans. You may be able to buy them once you’ve arrived, but take the hassle out of your trip by remembering to pack them in the first place. Batteries are a must-have. Don’t let your camera die while you’re trying to capture an once-in-a-lifetime moment. On that note, make sure you bring your phone charger! Sunglasses are another easy-to-forget essential. Bring a pair and pack them carefully so they won’t crack. Also, take time to clean out your wallet before you go. You won’t need frequent buyer cards or gift certificates to local stores while you’re on your trip. However, make sure you bring several forms of identification, cash, and your insurance cards. Hopefully you won’t need it, but in case something happens, you need to be prepared and have necessary documentation with you.
Protect That Bag!
Depending on how much you decide to bring, you may want to consider protecting your luggage. Some travel insurance options cover your baggage in the event it gets lost or stolen. Another option to consider is packing light and bringing just a carry on, to eliminate the chances that your baggage will get on a plane to the wrong destination without you. If you do decide to check a bag, pack smart in your carry on – be sure to stash your essentials for the week in your carry on so if your bag does get lost, you’ll have what you need on hand.
Home Sweet Home
Of course your parents will remind you about protecting your belongings in your hotel room and keeping a close eye on your purse. But what about everything you’ve left back at college? Consider renter’s insurance to help protect your things. If you live a dorm, renters insurance can still be beneficial, since the deductible is lower than that of your parent’s home owner’s insurance, and typically covers property loss both at home and while traveling. What could be worse than coming back from an amazing trip to discover that your stuff was stolen and you won’t be getting anything for it?