Once you finish finals, the busy fall semester will be behind you, and winter break will welcome you into its loving arms. Of course you’re excited, but before you throw together a suitcase or two without thinking, make sure you know what you really need to bring home. It’s easy to overpack for any occasion, and somehow after winter break, you always end up coming back with even more. If you live particularly far from your school’s campus, you’ll be wishing you had traveled lighter. But, at the same time, you definitely don’t want to leave anything behind. To help make the packing process go more smoothly, follow these helpful tips!
Don’t bring your whole closet
This seems like a no-brainer, but remember: there is no need to cram your entire wardrobe into your suitcases for winter break! Some of us (including myself!) have the tendency to overpack, but show some self-restraint. You won’t want to be lugging around a 30-pound suitcase. Bring practical outfits and a few pairs of pajamas, but don’t go crazy. Odds are you probably have some clothes at home too. However, do pack plenty of socks and underwear. These can be easy to forget, but obviously they are everyday essentials.
Be finicky about footwear
Limit yourself to just a few pairs of shoes, but keep in mind what kind of activities you’ll be doing over break. Think it will get a little snowy? Then bring your snow boots! Going to a swanky New Year’s Eve party? Bring a nice pair of shoes. Hitting up your local gym? Lace up those sneakers! You don’t want to be stuck home without the proper footwear; it’s really simple, but easy to forget about. And for those of you who tend to overpack—you only get three pairs, so pick them wisely!
Skip the toiletries
If space is an issue when you’re packing, feel free to leave out everyday toiletries. You might have some extra supplies back at home, and if not, you can just take a quick trip to a pharmacy once you get there. Getting deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and other essentials won’t cost too much, and you can leave them home afterwards so you’ll have them ready for next time too.
Stay plugged in
You finally make it home for winter break and then start texting your friends only to find that your cell battery’s dying on you. What’s worse? You forgot your phone charger! Don’t let a horror situation like this happen to you. For some reason, it’s really easy to forget electronics chargers when packing. So leave a sticky note for yourself to pack your chargers, so you can keep your phone, laptop, and iPod plugged in during break.
If you’re in a hurry to go out, you won’t want to have to go exploring through your cluttered suitcase to find the one small item you need. Things will go more smoothly if you keep the contents of your suitcase nice and orderly. Try using plastic baggies for smaller loose items so they don’t get lost. Keeping your luggage organized will also help you during the packing process, because you’ll be able to better see what you’ve already packed.
I know you’re excited to go home, but don’t try to speed through packing by just shoving everything into your suitcase. It’s important to pack neatly and to fold (or roll) your clothes. First of all, you want to have enough space in your bags to fit what you need to bring, and to fit any items that might get added for the trip back to school. And also, you don’t want all your clothes to come out of your suitcase wrinkled and then get chided by your mom. So fold your clothes nicely, and if you have some articles of clothing that don’t wrinkle easily, you can roll them into tight tube-shapes to save space. Put larger garments like sweatshirts and sweatpants on the bottom of your luggage, and save suitcase space by rolling your socks in your shoes.
*Keep in mind that if you’re traveling on a plane, there’s probably bag limits, and weight limits for those bags. Avoid trouble at the airport by plopping your suitcases on a bathroom scale beforehand, and put together a carry-on bag to hold your valuable items and anything you might want for the ride.
So remember these tips, get packing, and enjoy your winter break!