How To Pack For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday of the year.  The fall foliage is on full display, you’re surrounded by family and friends, and the food is never-ending.  But if you’re one of the many young professionals who no longer call their hometown “home”, Thanksgiving is also a time filled with stressful travel arrangements and the realization that you have to complete that dreadful task required of anyone going anywhere for any reason at all: packing.

Remember when I said Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday of the year?  Well, packing is my least favorite activity ever.  Ever.  EVER.  I’m a chronic over-packer.  I never touch half the things I shove in my bag, and then curse myself as I’m lugging said (extremely overweight) bag over my shoulder.  And so, to make things easier on everyone, I put together a little list of the must-haves for your trip home.  Feel free to accessorize as you wish, but please, for your own sake, try to keep your checklist to a minimum.  The worst that can happen?  You re-wear an item of clothing (the horror!) after washing it in mom and dad’s laundry machine (heaven!).  Or, there’s that thing called Black Friday.  Last time I checked, that place you spent 18 years of your life had a mall.  So stop packing as if you’re vacationing in the tundra.  Where you’re going, there ARE roads.  And H&M.  Trust me, you’ll survive.

And so without further adieu, a packing guide for Turkey Day:

Your favorite pair of jeans.  Yes, pair.  Singular.  You only need one.  Just make sure they’re not too skinny (you are planning to eat a 15 course meal followed by a healthy dose of leftovers, right?):

A cardigan and a comfy, cozy sweater.  The sweater for obvious reasons, the cardigan to throw over basically any other outfit you wear throughout the weekend:











A dress.  Unless you live in Las Vegas, leave the sparkles and bandage dresses at home.  Pack a dress that straddles the line between casual and special occasion.  You want something that you can wear to the Thanksgiving dinner, and also to brunch with your high school buddies:














Versatile boots.  Boots are the easiest shoe to match with everything, and guarantee that you’ll stay warm throughout the weekend.  Pack a pair in a neutral color that matches most of the other items in your bag.  Shoes are heavy and take up space, so stick to one pair:








Outerwear.  This obviously varies depending on where you call home, so if you’re headed to San Diego or Miami, you can skip to the next one.  Otherwise, bring a good, warm coat that you can wear no matter the occasion, whether out to drinks with your pals or to your Grandmother’s house.  And don’t forget a scarf and hat.  As Grandma would say, you don’t want to catch a chill:











PJs!  This is my favorite part.  Pick your comfiest, coziest, most holiday-inspired pajamas:











Is there something you never travel without?  Do you have a Thanksgiving must that I forgot?  Clue me in in the comments section below!


After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson and on twitter at @aebarkan.

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