Preparing for takeoff: The storm before the calm

Packing your bag proves no easy feat

Beyond clothes, there is so much more to pack, from food to makeup. Packing has become an activity looked upon with disdain for many travelers. Always the paranoia remains of‘ ‘Am I forgetting something? Is it less than 50 pounds? What if the weather changes?’ and so on and so forth.

Emma Baker

Beyond clothes, there is so much more to pack, from food to makeup. Packing has become an activity looked upon with disdain for many travelers. Always the paranoia remains of‘ ‘Am I forgetting something? Is it less than 50 pounds? What if the weather changes?’ and so on and so forth.

Emma Baker, Staff reporter

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The holidays are fast approaching, meaning traveling to the relatives for some turkey or tree decorating is surely on the agenda. But there is only one thing on this earth more stressful than wrangling the cousins or making conversation with grandma’s friends. Packing.

Many Americans agree. A 2019 study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Trunk Club, surveyed 2000 Americans to examine their biggest travel problems and packing habits. Sixty-five percent confessed that packing is a real difficulty for them, and the majority admitted that it is more stressful than the actual trip. 

One problem of the great packing conundrum is procrastination–something I know plenty about.

Every trip I feel that I put off packing for as long as possible. Sometimes it’s without intent–I get busy with school or activities that packing gets thrown on the back burner. But other times packing is, quite simply, the absolute last thing I want to do. It’s dull, repetitive, boring and stressful, so watching one more episode of The Great British Baking Show seems like the better option.

I know I’m not alone in this view. Two-thirds of those surveyed by OnePoll say they pack their luggage just 24 hours or less before walking out the door.

This rush can mean forgetting items and underpacking. Take it from me, failing to remember a toothbrush and toothpaste is the worst, leaving odorous breath as the new constant. Having to buy something, like a toothbrush, once at the destination is something three in five respondents could relate to, and 38% of those people cited their forgetfulness as the cause.

The opposite effect, quickly stuffing everything in a bag and overpacking, is also a possibility. 

I remember my eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C., where, at four in the morning, I threw a pile of clothes in my roller bag. If I were to get to my flight on time, that closet dump was not optional–it was necessary.

The fact of the matter is that even if I carefully folded my clothes into my bag, it would also contain items I’d only use in “what if” and “just in case” scenarios. After all, the Trunk Club study shows that a quarter of the average suitcase goes untouched when traveling.

All in all, packing is extremely hard. There is no two ways about it. While it may never get easier, remembering a few things may help this holiday season:

-Pack before slack

-Pack not too much but not too little

-And certainly pack those stretchy jeans

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