Helpful Advice For Travelers Who Chronically Over-Pack

Do you find yourself paying for another checked bag because everything you crammed into the other two was too heavy? Is your carry on too heavy for you to lift into the over head compartment by yourself? Do you have trouble looking the bell hop in the eye when you arrive at your hotel? If you answered yes to any of these questions know that you are not alone! I too am an over packer and this is how I over came it.

All jokes aside packing for a trip can be hectic. I am here to help you discover the answer to that age old question of 'hat the heck am I actually supposed to put in my carry-on?" with some pretty wild and true travel stories of my own.

I went to costa rica this summer with a study abroad group. We flew with American Airlines from ELP and had a layover at DFW that was supposed to last one hour. One hour turned into three which turned into five which turned into 12 which turned into hotel room vouchers and a flight the next day. We weren't aloud to go get our checked bags so all we had was our carry ons.

Costa Rica was so amazing that after I got home I scheduled an appointment with the study abroad office to come back by myself for three months. Last week my mom and I flew with Southwest from ELP to Hobby in Houston. El Paso airport somehow let my mom get on the plane with an expired passport which was promptly noticed in Houston. We were given the distress rate of $89 at Double Tree and an appointment at one of three offices in America where you can get a passport in a day. Hobby said they would keep our bags overnight which we gratefully accepted because I had 3 months worth of crap in those bags and I was not about to lug them to a hotel just for a night. The next day when we checked in we asked if they could confirm our bags were going to the correct location and the lady made a fake phone call in front of us and confirmed our bags were safely on the plan to Costa Rica. We knew she was lying but we were tired and just decided to trust the system. We definitely regretted that choice when we arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica to discover our bags were in San Jose, California. We didn't get our checked bags for 3 days plus the overnight in Houston.

So what did I learn from these two crazy experiences? Exactly what I need to pack in my carry-on.

-essential make up (all of mines under 3oz but keep that in mind)

-Panties upon panties upon panties, you've got more room? panties.

-That one good bra that goes under anything

-Clothes you feel comfortable in that you could mix and match. Preferably cotton because its good for all weather.

-flip flops and whatever other shoes you planned on wearing

-dry shampoo

-hair brush

-face wash

-tiny shampoo and conditioner

-body spray


-tooth brush and paste



-shaving razor

-a pen (you wouldn't believe how many times we needed a pen)

*Also heres some things that make losing your bags okay*

-getting your hair professionally shampooed and blow dried, its also pretty cheap and you finally feel clean and happy and pretty again

-a spa day (heck a spa hour is worth it, and i totally recommend a full body scrub because all that gross plane skin was scrubbed away along with the last 4 years of my life)

-Shopping, the airlines will usually have a compensation plan. Southwest was $50 per day per person. Save your receipts!

-A positive attitude. I actually cannot say this enough. Everyone was so negative when we were stuck in the airport for 12 hours but it is not the worst thing in the world. We were blessed to be able to go on that kind of trip. Just keep in mind that you do not have the worst life in the world and they give you meal vouchers. DON'T FORGET BE NICE TO FLIGHT ATTENDANTS.

Happy Travels!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

More on Odyssey

Facebook Comments