Spring is springing, and all around the country twenty-somethings are flocking towards tropical destinations, southern beaches, and beachside bars. As someone who grew up near the Jersey Shore, the idea of spending spring break in a landlocked state is as appalling to me as men wearing jorts or final papers during Christmas vacation. This year however, I agreed to try something different and embarked upon a journey that every young fratstar or socialite must make once throughout our fleeting youths: Las Vegas!
Being newly 21, my older sister and I packed our suitcases and jetted off to the Aria for a long weekend of fruity cocktails, sightseeing, clubbing, and room service. Despite the lack of an ocean breeze, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect and utterly exhausting spring break vacation. What I expected going into the trip was a lot of partying, drinking, gambling, and other nameless debaucheries. What I received however, was something totally unexpected. And although my luggage was 15 pounds overweight, my biggest surprise was that amongst the 65 pounds of jeans, shorts, dresses and shoes that I haphazardly shoved into my bag the night before, I ended up with absolutely nothing appropriate to wear. Because of my disastrous packing failure, I not only wasted immeasurable energy dragging my bag through McCarran airport, but also twenty dollars in singles tipping bellhops to carry my luggage through the hotel. It occurs to me now that while most of us think that we know what to pack for a week of fun in the sun, the vast majority of us are unprepared to dress for Las Vegas. Being a week older and wiser, I now know that had I followed some simple guidelines, I would have saved myself time, money, and blisters.
1. Clothing: Pack Half The Clothes You Think You Need.
I’m generally an over-packer. I have a difficult time imagining that I can make due for four days with only two pairs of pants and alternating tops. Unfortunately, I quickly found that less is more in the packing department for a few reasons. Firstly, McCarran airport is huge. Spending hours of transit time with my luggage in tow had me wishing that I’d left behind an extra pair of shoes and some unnecessary accessories. Secondly, beyond the practical element, I didn’t actually change my clothes as much as I’d anticipated. Every day I only wore two outfits, for a total of eight the entire trip. I packed something akin to sixteen outfits, which made packing, repacking, and getting myself home all the more difficult. Lastly, as someone who travels a lot, I always feel that I should have multiple options if I’m not sure exactly what I’m walking into. When I got there however, I realized that the clothes that I’d packed still weren’t appropriate for the things that I wanted to do and I ultimately spent 4 hours in H&M. With all of this in mind, I think that I could’ve broken down my packing to this:
1) two pairs of jeans
2) two pairs of shorts
3) three long sleeved t-shirts
4) three short sleeved t-shirts
5) three dresses
6) one bathing suit
2. Shoes: One Heels, One Sneakers, and One Flip-Flops
In terms of shoes, I can never imagine what shoes I’ll want to wear with which outfit. I ended up bringing five pairs, but realistically, two would have been more than enough. Unless you have a dress that only matches with one pair of shoes, a pair of basic black pumps should suffice in the heel department. I’d also strongly advise any and everyone to bring a pair of flip flops and/or sneakers. According to my sister’s pedometer, we walked about eleven miles everyday before we even hit the clubs. For those of you who drive everywhere, that’s a lot of walking. I ended up wearing my Uggs, which wasn’t a terrible decision, but by the time it came to putting on heels, I was screaming bloody murder on behalf of my poor exhausted feet. As far as shoes are concerned…
1) one pair of heels
2) one pair of sneakers
3) one pair of flip-flops
are more than sufficient.
3. Beauty Products: Don’t Bring Shampoo, Conditioner or Aerosols!
I think that 10 pounds of luggage space was committed to my beauty products alone. In addition to the necessary make-up, I really only used my own lotion, deodorant, contact solution and chapstick. Everything else proved to be completely unnecessary, as most hotels provide shampoo and conditioner. Because liquids and aerosols generally can’t be packed in a carry on, remember that the weight of bottles adds up, and before you know it, you’re dumping out your underwear at an airport check-in, trying to get your bag down to 50 pounds.
In general, it’s easy to overpack for any trip. For Vegas in particular, it feels as though you cannot possibly bring enough clothes to account for every situation in which you might find yourself. But if you pack your bags ahead of time, plan out outfits before you leave, and remember that you can always go shopping when you get there, you’ll safe yourself a lot of agony and cash.
No matter where you’re heading, remember that as with most things, the less you bring there, the more that you can bring back!
Do you tend to overpack? Would you pay the $100 surcharge for overweight baggage or would you throw things out?