Campus Life

Packing for Your GoEncounter Trip: A Guide

By Megan Snyder

Go Encounter trips are incredibly exciting! All students are required to have some intercultural experience before they graduate. Packing to go overseas can be a massive headache, but if you pack lightly, it will be much easier.

Checked bags have been known to get lost or even damaged in transit from one country to another. To avoid this, Professor Kim Reiff has found that it is much easier to travel with only a carry-on and one personal item. She is leading the Go Encounter trip to London and Paris at the end of this semester.

Reiff has made more than one trip to Europe and finds that travelling light is the best way to go. She carries a backpack and a day bag. In her day bag are the essentials: a bottle of water, something to snack on, a bit of money and, of course, her sketchbook and pencils and a camera.

As a traveler in a place you have probably never been, it makes sense to carry your passport with you. But you don’t want it to get lost or stolen. The best way to carry it, Reiff has discovered, is in a small bag that goes around your neck and can hang under your clothing, preferably with a thick strap. She carries a small bag about the size of CD case that contains her passport, plane tickets, and credit cards with her everywhere and is not afraid of losing it or someone stealing it.

If a checked bag is not going to be used, Reiff says that a backpack is a must. Durability is key, but not mountain climber durability. The backpacks with the metal contraptions for hiking will only be a hassle when you are traveling in crowded areas, especially airports.

As to what clothes you should bring, make sure you are aware of the weather, wherever you are traveling. Choose a comfortable outfit that you wear both days you are on the airplane. Reiff packs three pairs of pants and three tops that can be worn in any combination. She also carries a light rain jacket, just in case. Socks and other undergarments should be a high priority to pack. Reiff chooses to pack clothing in Ziploc bags that are easier to store. Comfortable walking shoes should be worn during the day, but Reiff packs a pair of sandals for evenings.

Remember Global Perspectives and being aware of culture? European churches may require covered shoulders and close-toed shoes. Be aware of this and carry a shirt to slip over your shoulders. Make sure you know your itinerary and plan to wear appropriate shoes.

Keep the airline liquid restrictions in mind: anything over three ounces will not be allowed. Shampoo and conditioner should be placed in a plastic bag and be e a s i l y access i b l e f o r a i r p o r t security.

O f course, if you get the chance to travel to a different country, you will remember friends and family back home. Make sure you have room in your bag for the gifts you buy. Map out a budget before you go so that you can afford souvenirs.

Wherever you go, these tips can be useful in minimizing hassles at the airport. As Reiff says, “The less fuss, the better!”