How to Pack for all Occasions When Traveling
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How to Pack for all Occasions When Traveling

The following is a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.

To Pack or Not to Pack: The Traveler’s Dilemma

by Mariana Castellanos, CLE Washington D.C.

How to pack for a tripNothing motivates a traveler for the perfect trip – business or pleasure – like having all the items he or she needs neatly packed and ready to go. Regardless of the reason to travel, the point is that you are going to be somewhere for a short time, and unfortunately, all possessions cannot be brought along. So pack a light, simply organized piece of luggage that will solve your basic hygiene, fashion, entertainment, and even safety needs while you are away.

The key to successful packing is a thoughtful list. It can start long and thorough, including irrational items like your collection of Dan Brown’s novels to guide you through Paris. The list should make sense! So think about the trip activities (walking, dining out…), climate (sandals or snow boots?), traditions (no shorts in Buddhist temples) and risks (gold necklace in Mexico City? Mmm, no). The list becomes shorter as we cross out the items that are too heavy, too fancy, or just plain ridiculous – you do not need all ten of your electronic devices. Pick one and move on.

So let’s start with the basics and go from there.

1. The toiletry bag.

Toiletry bag for travelIt should include small containers of the essential items you need to keep yourself clean. No need to take the Costco-size shampoo; chances are that wherever your travels may take you, there will be more for sale in case you run out. Makeup and beauty items should be limited; time is of the essence and every minute spent putting stuff on is more time away from fun. Include sunscreen, a first aid ointment such as Neosporin, and pain relief medicine like Tylenol or Advil. *Helpful Hint* Pack the toiletry bag at the end, because you may need to use some of these items up to the date of departure.

2. Wardrobe

wardrobe for travelCan I take my whole wardrobe and then figure out what I want to wear when I get to my destination? You will most likely be carrying your heavy suitcase, and that excess baggage fee will be expensive. Travel light and keep it simple. A few bottoms, a few tops, underwear, socks, comfortable shoes, flip-flops or slippers, PJs, a jacket, a couple of accessories (belt, earrings), and depending on the destination, a hat, gloves, scarf or swimsuit. Place the heavier items on the bottom of the suitcase, keep the small ones in Ziploc bags (like accessories or medicine), and put shoes on the sides in plastic bags. Leave the PJ’s on the top because it is the only thing you will want once you reach your destination and find a bed.

3. The Carry-on

Carry on bag essentialsYour carry-on bag should include the utmost essential items that you need near you while traveling. This means travel documents, money, electronics (not too many!), reading glasses, sunglasses and reading material.

Traveling is an adventure in itself, but it does not have to throw surprises at you. Prepare your list and pack your bags ahead of time. Travelling around the world has taught me that sensible and light packing gives me a relaxed and motivated attitude towards my trip. So enjoy your next journey and if you forget something, don’t worry…you will most likely survive without it!

Newsletter Articles – May 2015

Mt Fuji

This summer, a group of CLE students will embark on our most exciting overseas trip to date. It’s one you’ve all been hoping for (yes, we do pay attention to what you’re interested in!). Give me a mental drum roll, please—and make it a taiko drum roll—because this summer we will be visiting Japan!
No offense to Ireland and Spain, but this will be our most sensational international journey yet. CLE students have visited various places in Europe and South America before, but we are braving new frontiers this year. To provide students with more variety and greater chances to expand their horizons, we will hit a whole different continent this time around. Students, take a moment to thank your parents for their feedback in the trip-planning surveys. They had a big part in choosing the destination.

CLE trip to Ireland

Anyone who has set about to travel abroad is in search of something. It could be as simple as temporary respite from the mundane, beckoning the call of long-sought adventures, or answering more ethereal questions of who am I and what is my place in this great, big world? But really, let’s be honest. Deep at the center of all of our motives behind traveling abroad are the simple questions of where are we going? When are we going to get there? And what are we going to eat??

When in Rome

How would you feel traveling to a different country?
Would you be confused by the new culture? Most people look at other cultures as different and hard to understand. There are multiple ways to familiarize one’s self with another culture. One way is to just use the internet to do research on your destination’s culture. Another approach is to be prepared, perhaps trying out the culture’s customs before you go. But most of all, make sure to keep an open mind when traveling: listen to new music, attend events, try new foods, try new clothing styles, etc. Traveling is all about opening up to the experience and the culture.


Every year, CLE offers its students the opportunity to travel to new, exciting locations around the world. This year, we asked our students, parents, and staff for suggestions on the 2015 trip, and the results are in: we are heading to Japan!

As exciting as traveling may be, it’s important to remember that preparing for the trip is an integral part of enjoying yourself abroad. After all, what fun is experiencing a new culture if you get a call from your roommate letting you know that your electric bill is overdue or that your unwashed dishes are starting to get moldy?

So in the spirit of being prepared, here is a quick checklist of must-do’s for anyone planning to visit Japan or travel anywhere this year.

The post How to Pack for all Occasions When Traveling appeared first on College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future.