How to Cut Your Most Toxic Trait: Being an Over-packer

By Jenna Garcia

Does anyone else feel like spring break came way too fast this semester? No? Maybe that’s just me. As I prepare for my 10 day extravaganza in Portugal and Barcelona with some of the very best friends I have made at Temple, I am dealing with a dilemma BIGGER than my midterms—packing.


At some point in our lives, we need to accept certain things about ourselves. For me, it’s accepting the fact that I am an over packer. There, I’ve said it. Now how am I going to pack at least seven Instagrammable outfits using only carry-on luggage (insert your favorite confused meme here)? If you’re wondering why I don’t just check a bag, here are two reasons: My unwavering fear of my luggage getting lost in the sauce of luggage transport, and that as a college student going to Europe for spring break, I must make some financial sacrifices.

As the day of my flight approaches, I found a few tips that may be helpful to notorious over-packers like myself:


This one may be the hardest part about packing. The first step is to check the weather for wherever you are traveling to. Warmer weather will be in your favor as you will have less bulky items to pack. Think about what outfits you absolutely NEED to bring. In the spirit of Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo, if you pick up an article of clothing and it doesn’t spark joy, simply say your goodbyes to it. In this case, if you pick up an article of clothing and cannot say that you definitely will need it/wear it on your trip, put it back in the closet girl! Bring utilitarian items that you can mix and match, such as cute jeans and a plain black/white shirt.


Do I wish I could strut down the streets of Barcelona in six inch heels on my way to the club? Yes. Is it realistic? No. Unless you’re checking a bag, keep the number of shoes at a minimum. A versatile pair of shoes comfortable enough to explore a city in, sandals/rain shoes (weather permitting), and nice shoes to go out in. Remember that you are wearing a pair of shoes when traveling there so bringing one or two other pairs is ideal.


As I am not checking any bags, I sadly must follow TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule. This means you cannot carry on any liquids over 3.4 ounces, they must all fit in a one-quart clear bag, and you’re allowed one bag per person. So how am I supposed to take my three, seven-ounce bottles of face lotion I use every night? One of the packing tips my mom always uses is buying a few smaller bottles that can hold three ounces of liquid or less. Bottles like these are usually very inexpensive and you can get them off of Amazon. Another way you could go is checking out the on-the-go products sold by the register of makeup stores like Sephora or Ulta Beauty. They usually have some great travel products that fit the TSA guidelines.

A few last tips:

  1. Remember that if you are bringing a thicker object of clothing or a more bulky shoe, it might be better to wear those items to the airport. This will give you more room in your bags and suitcases.

  2. Keep papers and important flight information somewhere you can easily access them but somewhere that it is also safe.

  3. Make paper copies of documents like your passport––that’s another way to reduce any travel issues in case you lose something along your journey.

  4. Most importantly, be aware of your surroundings as well as cherish them. Traveling is an amazing opportunity and experience, have fun!