By Ella Seltzer
One of the most unexpected fashion-related realizations I’ve had in college thus far is the importance of both a good-sized weekend bag and the ability to pack lightly and efficiently. With our all too short Thanksgiving break fast (but not fast enough) approaching, it’s time to figure out how to pack for what is barely a break, but still packing the right stuff. This has fully been my struggle the past few, and next upcoming weeks, as I have had to pack for random mini weekend trips, and still managed each time to overpack in the least ideal sized bag ever. To save yourselves from this never-ending over/under-packing challenge, check out my thoughts on the best ways to pack for these awkward length trips, and just overall traveling fashion tips.
The first and most important thing when packing for a weekend trip/short break is having a perfect size overnight bag. I myself never understood what this actually meant until coming to college, when I realized I had a huge suitcase and a heavy-duty duffel bag, with absolutely nothing in between. Whether it’s an athletic Nike duffel, a hideously patterned Vera Bradley, or a mini square suitcase, anything around this size is the goal for those in-between length travel breaks. The worst feeling is knowing you need to pack for a short weekend, and only having an obscenely oversized bag to pack it all in. Especially in my experience, having a small weekend bag is sometimes your only option, as for me with traveling for rugby, where our cramped vans don’t even fit bags of a certain size. On a more relatable note, heading home or wherever you’re going for Thanksgiving is great, except for when trying to pack. Whether it’s a train or a flight, this weird half-week break makes a small bag feel too little but makes a large bag feel oversized. In my experience, this is when I use my carry-on size suitcase, as it fits a decent but appropriate amount of clothes, while still saving room for all the shopping I plan on doing during the said break.
Once you manage to pack all your stuff away, the next biggest challenge I always seem to face is what to actually wear while traveling. As someone who has quite a long flight home, all I can think about when traveling is what outfit I can possibly bear to sit in for like 5+ hours. For me, I have a deep opposition to wearing sweatpants in public, so my go-to outfit is always something paired with leggings. For shorter traveling trips, where it just consists of a train ride at most, I usually stick to leggings but am able to throw on a nicer but simple top and cute sneakers to make the outfit a little cuter, especially if I am going somewhere right after getting off the train. For anything longer though, a sweatshirt and my travel sneakers, which yes I have as part of my shoe-addiction, is my favorite for not looking like a total mess but still comfortable to battle around an airport in.
As much as I wish I could share some advice on what to pack for general weekend trips or breaks, in an attempt to not overpack, this is a skill I most certainly do not have. I am the absolute worst with being realistic about what I need to pack because I literally pack for every possible event I may encounter as unrealistic as it may be. Channeling the words of my high school rugby coach, all I can think about when packing is to, “prepare for all contingencies.” With that ringing in my head, my packing approach is to have everything I could ever need, with absolutely no conservatism in what I bring. This is usually the logic behind why I’ll end up packing three versions of the same thing, and always having two cosmetics bags. The gist of this is basically to just do everything in your power to not be like me and pack in an actually efficient way.