5 Packing Hacks From A World Traveler

5 Packing Hacks From A World Traveler


Jetsetter tips for when your entire closet won't fit in a suitcase

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How do you pack for six months in a checked-bag?

No, really, I am asking you. Soon after New Years, I will be passport in hand at the airport leaving Florida for a six-month study abroad and internship program in London, England. Though I have traveled to over 18 countries, I still feel stressed by packing for trips.

In hopes of not waiting until the day before my flight to pack, I'm sharing my top five packing tips for travelers. Please use these tips to stay organized and sustainable during your next adventure.

1. Know your bare necessity travel items

My mom likes to say that she only needs three items while traveling: her passport, American Express, and a bikini. It is very easy for her to decide what else to pack because she has already identified her essential items. Everything else she might need can be bought there. You might be thinking, "I don't always need to pack a bikini!" I thought the same before our recent trip to Iceland. We wore our swimsuits under our hiking gear so we could float in natural hot spring pools while trekking past glacier covered passes. My mom's bare necessities can be applied to any destination, but I encourage you to identify your own essentials. My essential items include a reusable water bottle, headphones, and a scarf.

2. Keep travel gear together before you book the cheapest flight

The only way to survive last minute packing is by being prepared to grab-and-go your travel gear. I suggest keeping all of your travel gear in the same storage box or drawer, which will help you easily locate and pack these items. I like to store my outlet adapters, travel toiletry containers, and reusable plastic bags inside of my suitcases while I am not traveling. Now, these items are already packed once I pull out my suitcase the day before my flight.

3. Pack older items to donate as you roam

My favorite packing tip is packing older or neglected clothing from my closet and then donating those items abroad. I like to come back home with a lighter bag and have room for souvenirs or new clothing items. I also recommend wearing these items multiple times before you donate them to conserve room in your bag. Adding several different scarfs or a nice jacket can mix up your outfits for your Instagram feed. If you're staying in a hostel, there might be an option to donate your leftover toiletries or clothing to other hostel guests.

4. Buy second hand what you don't need new

Try shopping around at thrift or second-hand stores before you leave if you're more inclined to sport a new outfit while abroad. Shopping second hand is cheaper than purchasing new retail items, plus you can donate the items once you're done with them abroad. I recently purchased a London Fog waterproof trench coat at a Goodwill to bring on my study abroad. This coat has a retail price over $100, but I purchased it gently used for only $5. I plan on hiding from the cold London rains in this coat before donating it to a shelter after my program ends. I've saved money, avoided fast-fashion waste, and donated to charity by using this packing tip.

5. Take a picture of everything you've packed laid out

Finally, I recommend creating an online packing list to stay organized, and then taking a picture of everything laid out on your bed or floor for a quick reference while traveling. I was quickly able to remember whether or not I had packed a particular sweatshirt while I was in Peru by looking at the picture I had taken of all my gear. It is also fun to do a before and after photo with all your gear to see how much you've donated!

I hope these packing tips help you stay stress-free before your next trip. See you on the roam!

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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5 Ways To Pass The Time On Your Lengthy Road Trip


"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey."

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Whether you're driving home for the summer, taking a cross-country road trip with your friends, or driving out-of-state for an internship, the time you spend crammed inside a car can be the death of you as the hours seem to drag on and on. From someone who drove through six states alone in an entire day -over a thousand miles- here are a few things you can do to make the time go faster.

1. Start driving early.

The earlier you start driving, the better. Driving in an unfamiliar place as the day begins to transition from day to night can be a little unsettling; you could get lost by taking the wrong exit or turn, or God forbid you're having car issues and left somewhere dangerous, or you need a bathroom break and are forced to pull up to a gas station that's straight out of a scary movie. When you're driving and the day starts getting darker, you become more exhausted than before.

2. Listen to audiobooks.

A concept: the book you never got to read during the semester because you were too busy with your other classes but it's read by your favorite author in audio format to kill at least a good four hours (or more depending on the book) during your road trip.

3. Listen to podcasts.

There is a podcast for everyone and everything, I promise. When you find the one podcast that speaks to you, it is a never-ending rabbit hole from there and you'll end up wishing your road trip was longer.

4. Get some snacks.

Stopping anywhere other than a fast food joint can delay your trip and the fast foods available to us aren't always the best options. Be sure to pack your favorite snacks or even your favorite easy homemade meal. If you're going to stop for a break, make the time well-spent by eating something you actually enjoy and you'll feel good to drive for another few hours.

5. Create a hit music playlist.

No road trip would be complete without a playlist compiled of your favorite jams to get you by. Take the time to explore new genres or nostalgic classics.

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