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 atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.