The College Student’s Guide to Packing for Holiday Break

Jon Fesmire | Dec 15, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

You’re heading home for the holidays! Time to set aside your studies and spend time with family and old friends. There’s one question, though. What do you take with you for those two or three weeks?

What to Pack

Think about what you’ll be doing during winter break at your parents’ home. That might include going out with old friends, helping around the house and spending time with your family. You may want to catch up on reading you didn’t have time for during the semester, and you’ll no doubt want to get on the Internet.

As a general rule when flying, you get one free 22 inch carry-on item and two personal items. Most airlines, with a few exceptions, charge for checked bags. Expect to pay a higher fee for overweight luggage. For example, on American Airlines, if your luggage weighs more than 50 pounds, the charge is $100. Always check your airline’s baggage policies before packing.

Visiting family for several weeks is basically traveling, and some of the best advice for traveling is to pack light. That means three to four shirts, two to three pairs of pants, and one classy outfit. Now, since you’ll have a place to stay and won’t be taking a train to a different destination every few days, you can pack a bit more than that.

It’s the holiday season, and you’re flying home from college. Grab some presents in the student store before your flight! You can get your loved ones items like mugs, shirts, keychains, and so on with your school logo or mascot. They’ll be happy to use them because they’re proud of you, so these make great gifts.

Bringing gifts has an added benefit as well. It will ensure that you have room in your bags for the presents you receive. If you get more than will fit in your bags, consider shipping the extra items, rather than taking them on the plane home, where the baggage fees will likely cost you more.

In your carry-on bag, pack your laptop or tablet, and a book or two. That way you’ll have your own computer while at home, and something to read both on and off the plane.

Keeping Your Dorm Room in Order

Chances are, you live in a dorm room or a shared home. Before you leave, make sure it’s in good order.

Let your roommates have your perishable food, or throw it out. You don’t want to find it rotting when you get home.

In a shared home, people will have access to your room or area. Chances are you trust your roommates, but they may have guests over. So, make sure your valuables are hidden. You could put them in boxes under other boxes in the back of your closet, for example. You could also lock them in your desk or dresser, if those come equipped with locks.

Alternately, you could rent a self-storage unit for a month. This would allow you to store your most valuable items for just the winter break, and retrieve them after you return to school.

Since you won’t be taking all your clothes, make sure to do all your laundry before you go, and put your clothing away. Follow these instructions and your room will be clean and welcoming when you return.

Packing Tips

When it comes to packing clothes, a great way to pack light is to roll your shirts and pants. Fold the sleeves of a shirt inward, then roll upward from the bottom. For pants, fold them in half so the legs match, then roll upward.

Pack fragile items, like the aforementioned mugs, in lightweight paper or cloth, and place the items between clothes to keep them safe.

Essentially, keep in mind the safety of each of your belongings and gifts when packing. That checked bag may have a rough ride, but you can ensure that what’s in it comes out just fine at your destination.

Now, you’re ready to head home for vacation! Have a wonderful trip, then return to college fresh and ready to tackle your classes.