8 Tips for Successful Last-Minute Packing

8 Tips for Successful Last-Minute Packing

Forgot you needed to pack for a trip? We got your back!

When you're juggling with school, work, and social events, time just flies by. The next thing you know, you're going away for a few days! Here's what you should do when you're packing at the last minute:

1. Check the weather

It's important to check the weather first. This will show you what you need to pack and be prepared for.

2. Make a list of items to bring

Break down your packing list to the following categories: clothes, electronics, food, personal care, essentials. Then, bullet point the items you need. And then only when you put the item in your bag do you then delete the item on the list, because if you're forgetful like me, you will realize you forgot to pack socks for winter break and have to buy new ones from 3 towns over.

3. Don't overpack

People usually do this wherever they go. An easy solution is packing the essential clothing you need first, e.g. raincoat, comfy sleepwear, etc. Then, you can pick some of your favorite outfits and choose between them. You don't need 5 dresses for a 2-day trip. Think about what you will actually wear.

4. Overpack

"Wait, but you just said don't do it."

Yes, BUT there are some items you need extras of, such as socks and tops. You never know how many pairs of socks you need. They could get wet from the rain or you might need to wear multiple pairs if it's cold where you're going. As for tops, they could be covered in sweat or have food stains or you could spill something on it. Either way, you will not want to stay in those all day, which is why extras come in handy. That's not to say pack twenty shirts for a 5-day trip. Being realistic is important here.

5. Rolling is key

Personally, I have never tried this, but some people swear by it. They advise packers to role their clothes to save luggage space and reduce wrinkles. You can also attempt what this insanely skilled guy did.

6. Comfortable footwear

This will make or break your trip, especially if you're going to be walking around a lot. Also, you need something comfortable to stay on your feet while you're riding the bus or on the plane. You may think it's silly because you're not walking, but it's like choosing a blanket made out of fur or sandpaper. You're not going to be moving, but you still want something comfortable to hug your feet.

7. Carry-on is necessary

That may not be the case when you're flying (because some airline companies charge for carry-on's), but having a bag on you when you're in a vehicle is great, because you can pack the essential things you need to keep you happy, entertained, and comfortable.

Be aware that some buses and planes get really cold, so you'll want to bring a flannel or a sweatshirt with you. Also, some people like to have their electronics and chargers on them so the items don't get lost and are accessible. However, it's not ideal when you have a phone, an iPad, and a laptop to account for. It's best to just have a bag with you to keep all your items in one place.

8. Entertainment

That leads us to the next thing: if you're traveling for a long time, you need entertainment. Bring a book, a laptop with downloaded movies, or music and games. You can also talk to the person sitting next to you and make a new friend.

Bon voyage!

Cover Image Credit: Fodors

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10 Different Places To Take A Horse Riding Vacation

Adventurous Horse Riding Trips

As I have gotten older, I have become interested in more vacation adventures that I can take and include my love for riding horses and take pictures.

1. McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch, Libby, Montana.

This is an opportunity to work with real ranch hands and to participate in cattle sorting and participate in an actual drive.

Cattle Sorting at McGinnis Ranch

2. Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa, Lajitas, Texas.

This is a full-service resort's equestrian center offers lessons and trail riding through the desert mountains bordering Mexico. The resort includes an 18 hole champion golf course, fossil exploration and bird watching expeditions, historical tours and exploring where Comanche and Pancho Villa once roamed.

Trail Ride Lajitas Golf Resort

3. Bitterroot Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming.

This ranch sits south of the Yellowstone National Park, the ride will be a pack trip with a guide, with the wranglers mixing it up and roughing it with the essential comforts. This remains one of the only mean to experience wilderness and other remote, often in restricted areas.

Trail Riding on the Ranch

4. Historical Ride: The Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Ride, Tombstone, Arizona.

This is a five-day historic ide that shadows Wyatt Earp and his posse's trail of retribution against the cowboy faction.

Tombstone Trail Ride

5. Sugarbush Tolt Trek, Vermont.

Riding the Icelandic horses through the countryside of Vermont's Green Mountains. The magnificent views of the ski area, riding through the forest, and neighboring farmlands. The journey continues via "Enchanted Way," a wonderful terrain used by cross-country skiers in winter.

Riding the Icelandic Horse

6. Navajoland, St. George, Utah.

This adventure takes in the most spectacular and interesting parts of the Navajo Indian Reservation. It's deep in the heart of the Southwest Desert. The ancient Anasazi people built a highly developed civilization a 1000 years ago. The ride crosses three distinct portions of the Navajo Indian Reservation, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain.

Navajoland Camping on the trail

7. Willamette Coast Ride, Oregon.

An adventure that includes wine tasting and beach riding. It begins in the burgeoning wine country of Willamette Valley, continues through the Coastal Range Mountains, and ending on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The ride includes the luxury of wine tasting, riding through vineyards, ascending forested mountain trails and having an opportunity to gallop on the beach.

Beach riding on the coast of the Pacific Ocean

8. Scotland: Trail Riding in the Highlands.

This is the only opportunity to ride coast to coast in the UK. The week-long or ten-day rides take the rider through the East, North, and West coast and also beach rides. There is also a seventeen day, 250 miles ride from the East to the beautiful beaches of the North Coast, the beautiful scenery of the wild West Coast, riding out on a huge and snaking loop, and bringing the ride to an end at the beaches of the East.

Coffin Road overlooking Loch Brora

9. Argentina: Ceiling of America Trail.

An adventurous ride through the Aconcagua region among the most massive mountains in America, including its tallest peak, the Aconcagua (23,200 ft).Riding at the heights over 10,000 feet, through the small trails, past unspoiled valleys, and colorful creeks. Witness huge herds of guanacos that still roam free and see where the Andean condors' nest.

Riding through the Mountains in Argentina

10. Greece-Kephalonia

The vacation begins at a German-Greek Ranch, having the opportunity to ride mostly Italian Haflingers.The rider will be able to venture the mountains forested with black conifers, green hills, ancient ruins, herds of goats and donkeys. There is the scent of wild herbs, timeless monasteries, and sandy beaches. It is also the island that Captain Corelli play his mandolin. The accommodations include a small apartment complex and/or with the guides in their own house in the village.

Mountains of Greece

Cover Image Credit: Samantha Clingenpeel

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Typical Ways You May Be Feeling Post Study Abroad

Normal things you may be feeling after returning home from a semester abroad.

I'm sure that many people can agree that spending time in a foreign country takes a lot of adjustment and getting used to. I'm sure that many people can also agree that the adjustment back at home after being abroad can be just as challenging. I spent this past semester studying abroad in Florence, Italy, something that has always been a dream of mine.

It's crazy how quickly my time abroad flew by and that I'm sitting here today reminiscing on all of the amazing adventures that I took part in just 4 short months ago. My time at home post abroad has given me lots of time to reflect on my experiences and feel all different sorts of emotions.

Before I got to Italy, I thought that I would never want to come home. Nothing's better than eating pasta every day, strolling the streets of the birthplace of Renaissance, or traveling to a different country each weekend for such cheap prices. However, as the weeks went by I found myself missing my family, my friends, and the American lifestyle more and more each day, which made me excited for my departure date.

My time and experiences abroad were indescribable, but I was ready to come home. However, now I'm becoming more and more nostalgic of my time abroad as the days go by. Many people that I know have recently arrived in Florence to study abroad for the Spring Semester. Social media outlets, such as, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat allow me to watch them live a life very similar to the one that I was living just a few months ago, and its hard not to get just a little bit jealous of them. It's weird to not be watching the sunset over the city.

It's weird to not be walking down the cobblestone streets with a gelato in hand. It's weird to not be in my home away from home. Part of me wishes that I was back in Europe, but I also have so many exciting things to look forward to being back in the United States.

It's safe to say that Florence stripped me of every cent that I had to my name, so I was very excited to get back to work and attempt to make back all of the money that I spent while abroad. I enjoy keeping busy on my school vacations, so I have been trying to pick up as many shifts at work as possible. It's nice to get back on an actual schedule, and it was just as nice getting to catch up with all of my coworkers.

I was able to go running and workout a few times while I was abroad, but due to all of my weekend travels, there wasn't as much time for it as there is back at home. I can proudly say that I ate my way through Europe, so I was certainly ready and excited to get back into that gym grind. Nothing feels better and more accomplishing than getting back in the gym after taking some time off, especially when that time was accompanied by gelato, pasta, and pizza.

I haven't been at school since last May. While I was abroad, I took fairly simple classes, so that I would have as much time as possible to travel around Europe and explore Florence, so it may be a bit challenging adjusting back into my typical study schedule.

I may regret this statement in a few months when midterms roll around, but I'm excited to get back on a more academic and rigorous school schedule. I am a student who needs structure in regards to academics, so it will be challenging but nice to get back into the swing of my typical course load and difficulty.

Lastly, I am feeling excited to see all of my friends and family who I haven't seen since before my trip. I can't wait to hear about what's been going on in their lives and to tell them about all of my abroad adventures. Being back at home with my family is great and makes me realize how much I missed them while I was gone.

I'm excited to get back to school and see everyone who I have been away from for so long. It is a bit scary heading back to school after being away for so long, but I know that everything will fall right back into place quickly.

Studying abroad was a once and a lifetime opportunity, and I have no regrets. I learned so much about myself and about the world around me, but I also learned to appreciate everything that I have back at home.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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