For the Plane Trip Home, Ditch the Extra Shoes

Only one week of hell left. If we make it through finals, we’ll be kicking it with the fam, comparing stories with hometown friends and, thank god, eating food that comes from neither Plaza’s hallowed halls nor the frozen food aisle of Ralph’s.

With the holidays fast approaching, it won’t be long until you stumble home from your last final with the realization that you have three hours to pack your worldly possessions for the great migration home.

As excited as you might be to eat your mom’s roasted chicken again, when you’re surrounded by months of dirty clothes, early-purchased Christmas presents, one suitcase and no desire to shell out $50 to check an extra bag, it may feel like it’s time to panic. Luckily, How-to Guru is here to teach you how to pack.

The most important thing to remember is to roll your clothes — or at least the ones that can stand a wrinkle here and there. Rolling squishes out air pockets so your clothes take up less space. You can roll underwear and socks and shove them into shoes to save even more space. If your shoes are victim to disgusting foot secrets, shove dirty clothes in instead — there’s no harm in adding a little extra funk to clothes that are already dirty, right?

Unless you like the thought of your favorite body lotion violating your clothes mid-flight, throw all your toiletries in a sealed plastic bag.

Better yet, leave them behind — mom and dad have toothpaste to spare, and
unless your little siblings have gone unwashed in your absence, there will
be enough spare shampoo and lotion to make toiletries a low-priority item.

The entire closet of shoes doesn’t need to come either. If you’re pressed
for space, stick to the basics: Flip flops (a given), a pair of sneakers and dress
shoes (for Grandma’s sake). Though it might be a hassle when you reach the body scanners, pack your flip flops and don your sneakers. The space you save by not checking your bags is well worth having to untie your shoes in front of security. In fact, wear all of your heaviest clothes to the airport — your biggest coat, your thickest jeans, your clunkiest shoes. You might look like a fool — or a terrorist — but your suitcase will thank you.

Now, the real packing begins. Shoes go in on the very bottom, covered by stacked clothing rolls (jeans and jackets first!), but save the flip flops until the very end, when you’re wedging things along the side of the suitcase. Make sure breakable items are wrapped in your thickest sweater and placed in the middle, where they’re shielded from the shock of your frantic run up an escalator.

Let’s say you’ve followed all of these tips and, short of stealing Hermione’s purse from Harry Potter 7, there is just no way to cram in Dad’s UCSD snow globe. Have hope! You’re also allowed a backpack or a purse — transfer your copy of Les Miserables, along with the most expensive electronics (laptops, iPods, hard drives and the like). Anything worth more than a paycheck should be closest to you at all times. The last is a lesson is one this Guru had to learn the hard way — don’t forget your pajamas.

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