Packed Up, Decked Out

As soon as my gate appears on the monitor, I’m ready to run. After I’ve gone through security and hastily repacked all of my belongings, panic starts to set in. Do I have everything? There’s no time to waste. Fifteen minutes before the plane takes off and I better be in it.
            When taking trips, whether they be by train, plane, or bus, it’s always good to be on top of your packing. Airplane travel is obviously the most restrictive. If you’re traveling for an extended period of time via plane, a checked bag is the way to go. Make sure to put irreplaceable valuables like jewelry, medicine, and eyeglasses in your carry-on. If it’s a weekend trip, your backpack will be your best friend. Backpacks are versatile, and have many pockets and spaces to store things without hassle. The first thing to check if traveling by carry-on is how many bags you are allowed. Some airlines will only let you have one item; others allow a personal item as well. Know this before you go so that you don’t have to redistribute your luggage, or, dare I say, check your carry-on.
            Once you’ve got your carry-on bag, you have to know what to put in it. It’s always good to invest in a clear, reusable quart-sized bag for your liquids. The travel size section at Target is a holy grail. The liquid limits are different for different regions, so check these numbers before traveling. Having a toiletry bag can be helpful for the non-liquids by keeping all your things in one place.
            Trying to pick outfits to pack can be the most stressful part of the process, but just know that you always think you need more than you do. If you’re in a place for three days, you only need three outfits, despite the fact you might want to bring your whole wardrobe. Bring things that work in different combinations so that if an unfortunate circumstance were to occur, you have options. Extra underwear and socks are handy and don’t take up much room.
            Shoes are even easier. One or two pairs will get you through the weekend. Make it three if you’re staying at a hostel. You want to keep those feet clean, so bring a cheap pair of flip flops for the communal showers. The shoe(s) you bring should be comfortable to walk in, and should be able to pair with any of your three outfits for quick styling.
            Something to keep handy is roll-on perfume or cologne that fits the liquid limit to prevent the possibility of body odor, and it’s always good to bring a reusable water bottle to fill up once you’re past security to ensure you stay hydrated. It’s also cheaper and faster to bring your own snacks for the ride, because transportation stations hike up prices.
            One of the most important things you’ll want to remember are electricity converters for the countries you’re visiting. The maximum voltage for each country varies, and you don’t want to fry your phone or computer or blow a fuse, so do your research beforehand. 
            After you know how you’re going to pack, it’s important to know how to dress for the occasion to make for a comfortable and stylish journey. The first order of business is comfort. You want to wear things that you don’t mind running, sitting, or walking around in. You might be up and about for quite a long time in lines for security, passport control, and gates. That means durable shoes, a pair of well worn jeans, and a fitted t-shirt.
            A piece of advice from a girl who sweats, I mean glistens: too many layers can be a hassle. Planes are cold, but airports are not, especially after rushing around. Have a few light layers that you can add or subtract as needed. Finding items like scarves that can double as pillows get you bonus points. Try to avoid fabrics like linen or silk that wrinkle easily.
            When going through security, know whether your accessories, like belts and jewelry, will make it through without setting off the alarm. These items will often have to be removed. I suggest bringing a small bag that you can throw these items into for easy access and storage.
            Beware of chunky boots or heels for obvious reasons. They are heavy and hard to move around in, and often have metal in the soles or heels that set off the alarm. (Pro tip: if you are trying to keep your checked bag from being overweight, wear your heaviest pair of shoes through the airport.) Always wear socks through security in case you are required to remove your shoes so that you don’t have to walk through barefoot.
            Don’t waste time on an intricate hairstyle for the day, because security may check your hair if you’re stopped. Instead of coming out of line feeling disgruntled, it’s best to keep it down until after the checkpoint.
            Whether it’s hustling through the train station or scrambling across the airport, knowing how to pack and what to wear can be lifesavers. Keep these few tips in mind and your travels will be safe, quick, and easy. 

Art by: Morgan Wright