Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Have you ever planned a trip then started packing and before you realize it you ended up OVER packing? Now you have 3 sweaters, 10 bathing suits, 5 pair of shoes, and the kitchen sink all squeezed into a tiny carry on piece of luggage for a 4 day getaway to the beach. This was my down fall my freshman year till just recently. My packing skills were so bad I used to have other people pack for me. I was the definition of a habitual procrastinator who used the night before to frantically cram everything in my closet into one carry-on bag. But why try to cram all of my belongings into one carry-on bag you ask? Why not just get a larger suitcase? Well for a college student and even now I feel like it is a complete waste of money to pay an additional $25 for a larger stowaway bag for only a quick 4 day trip. I also thought that I would die if I forgot to pack that one pair of shoes that completes that one outfit I had packed. I quickly realized that black goes with pretty much everything. And God forbid if I forget to pack my one huge straw brim hate that I would only use for lying pool side. Now that would be the end of the world; or so I thought.
When packing you first must be practical. You have to ask yourself several questions and you must be completely honest;
“Are you really going to use those sweaters when you are traveling to a hot and humid climate?” Well if you get cold real easily like me you would respond “yes”; but all you really need is one long sleeve shirt or a one light sweater that you would wear on the plane instead of packing so you can ultimately save on space.
“Do you really need 40 pairs of shoes?” Male or Female (more so females because I know how we all love shoes) you honestly don’t need to bring all those different pair of shoes with you on vacation. Depending on your specific destination your shoe choices may vary but in general all you really need are 2 pairs. 1 pair of sandals for the beach and during the day and 1 pair of heels for a night out and if you plan on doing outdoor activities you should wear 1 pair of sneakers on the plane (if you pack them they will take up too much space in your carry-on).
Men that goes for you to! Yes we all know how y'all want to wear your jay’s next to the beach instead of sandals like normal people but in any case bring 2 neutral colors but wear 1 pair on the plane and pack the other along with your dress shoes for your night out.
When you are practical packing also remember when it comes to your night out you don’t need 10 options to choose from, think about how many nights you plan to go out and pack 1 outfit per how many nights you come up with. It would also be better if you mix and match items of clothing instead of bringing several whole outfits. For example if you plan on wearing a black skirt/pants with a nice top twice don’t bring 2 black skirts/pants save on space and bring just 1 with 2 different tops. Shirts and blouses take up less space than pants.
This goes the same for day time leisure as well. You don’t need a pair of shorts for every day you are vacationing, yes you can reuse a pair of shorts more than once no one cares that much.
Toiletries are a simple topic; you don’t need them. Well yes of course you NEED them but you don’t need to pack them. Most hotels proved all basic toiletries for you during your stay. All you really need to bring is your toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. “But V I’m picky about what I use to wash my face and body with and I need this specific brand of lotion! What should I do?” If you must bring your own toiletries buy empty travel size containers, fill them with the specific products you use and bring them with you. It is cheaper to buy the empty containers and fill them yourself than to purchase prefixed ones. This way you have the exact product you like and you don’t waste money buying the wrong product just for the smaller size. Always pack “travel sizes” why pack large bulky bottles for a vacation that’s a huge waste of space plus if you plan on only bringing a carry-on TSA doesn’t even allow you to bring those oversize items on the plane anyway.
Now that you have all of your toiletries, shoes and clothes ready it’s time to actually pack them. What I found that works best for me is to pack the larger items first. I place my shoes at the bottom of my suitcase side by side faced sideways. If you plan to bring any socks put them inside your shoes. Then I place my toiletry bag on top or next to my shoes. Now that your large items are in one section you have the rest of your suitcase to work with. The best way to pack is not by folding your clothes but try rolling them. Roll all pieces of clothing tightly and pack them accordingly.