Even if you’re not going far from home, packing for college and packing for travel are not that different. Similar to travel, knowing what will be available at your destination will help you pack more efficiently.  Ask your school what will be provided in your dorm room and, if you have a room-mate, communicate in advance so you don’t double up on larger items you could possibly share.

Whether flying or driving to college, check in advance if you can order dorm room basics (like bedding and larger items like lamps, etc.) to be delivered directly to your dorm – saving space, packing time and usually money.

And since dorm rooms have limited space, pack items that can do double-duty.  By packing for college in wheeled luggage and travel organizers,  you’ll not only make getting to school easier, but you’ll also be ready for weekend and spring vacation travel adventures!

Here’s a list of things to consider if you’re college bound:


Always remember to keep your valuables with you on your travel day (this includes laptops, medications, etc).  If you leave your car to go into a restaurant, bring them with you, or if flying, keep them in your carry on (like The Eagle Creek Wayfinder Backpack  with 15” laptop sleeve).  Reminder: leave anything irreplaceable (like valuable jewelry) at home.


New! Eagle Creek Wayfinder Backpack 40L
Member Price $117.99



Packing cubes are great for organizing small items in larger drawers – and new compression packing cubes are even better!  We like the Baggallini Compression Cube Set which have clear panels to help find essentials at a glance and ventilated mesh to help keep things fresh.


New! Baggalini Compression Cube Set
Member Price $31.50



Plastic compression bags are the answer to dirty laundry- they seal in odors!  Simply stuff you’re your clothes inside, roll the air out the one-way air valve (no vacuum needed) and store until you’re ready to do laundry.  They’re also great for storing bulky winter clothing like puff jackets under beds in unused luggage.

Lewis N Clark Compression Bag Set
Member Price $11.95



Many dorm bathrooms are down the hall so a shower caddy is the answer to keeping personal items portable and organized.  Depending on the set up (shelves or hooks, for example) a hanging toiletry kit like the Travelon World Travel Hanging Kit can prove essential and keep items off the floor.

Travelon World Travel Hanging Kit
Member Price $18.99



While large luggage is great for the amount it can hold,  it can quickly become a burden if over-packed.  A 28” suitcase can easily weigh over 50lbs, making it not only heavy, but expensive to check if you’re flying to college.  Upon arrival, most colleges have a drop off point near the dorms, but in the event you need to haul your stuff some distance, wheeled bags can be a life (and back) saver.

Here are two great options, both with lockable zippers for added security:

A hard side suitcase like Kenneth Cole’s 28” is a good choice for protecting breakable items, has four wheels for easy maneuverability and can be left open and slid under dorm beds to be used like an extra set of drawers.


Kenneth Cole Hardside 28″
Member Price $134.95

For maximum capacity and more rugged travels like study abroad,  students might consider Eagle Creeks Cargo Hauler Wheeled Duffel 110L. The benefit of this bag is it provides a larger open packing space for bulky items.  Side grab handles, padded top haul handles, and removable backpack straps make it easy to carry three different ways.  And… it folds into its own stuff sac for easy dorm storage!


New! Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Wheeled Duffel 110L
Member Price $170.99



For added security, small combination locks (like Eagle Creek’s TSA Lock) can be used on most backpacks and luggage with lockable zippers. If flying to college, be sure your lock is TSA approved for airport security.  Don’t forget a sturdy lock/cable if you’re bringing a bike.

Eagle Creek’s 3-Dial TSA Lock and Cable
Member Price $11.95



Looking for luggage and accessories to get you to school and back? Stop by your local AAA Travel Store, where members save every day on great luggage brands such as Baggallini®, Eagle Creek®, Travelon®, LewisNClark®, Kenneth Cole ® and more.