Six packing tips and stories from beach Olympians
We sat down with Sean Rosenthal, April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennnings to hear what some of their travel horror stories were and how you can learn from their experiences. After weighing in with the athletes, we’re light on the horror and heavy on the forgetfulness.
1. PACK YOUR UNIFORM IN YOUR CARRY-ON
“I have lost an entire bag for a trip for multiple weeks. It showed up at my house six months later. It was four or five days into the trip, we were in Paris, and I asked Jake Gibb to borrow a shirt. He asked why I wanted to borrow a shirt and I said ‘remember the airport lost my bag?’ I never once said anything about the bag, I just wore what I had on… for four days in a row.” – Sean Rosenthal
“One time I brought only one pair of shades and I packed them in my check-in and it got stolen. That was a lesson.” – Kerri Walsh Jennings
Minimize the chances of your jersey getting lost, or worse stolen. No one wants to pay to overnight an extra uniform for tomorrow’s match. Depending on where you travel, that may not even be an option.
2. ALWAYS PACK A PAIR OF PANTS AND A LONG SLEEVE SHIRT
“I once had a three-week trip and the first two weeks were somewhere it was going to be hot. The third week I didn’t even think about it being rainy and cold. I didn’t have any long sleeve stuff so I borrowed one from Jake again.” – Sean
“I’ve learned my lesson on this. Even if you think you’re going somewhere really hot, like Hawaii, always pack one pair of spandex pants you can play in and a long sleeve shirt just in case.” – April Ross
You can predict the weather probably as unsuccessfully as most weathermen (60 percent of the time, they’re right every time). Skip the guessing and bring one pair of pants and a long sleeve shirt. Even if the weather outside doesn’t call for them they’re good to bring on planes, which are just as unpredictable as the weather.
3. HAVE A CHECK LIST OF IMPORTANT ITEMS
“If I left my phone that would suck. I try to sing a song when I leave. I don’t know if I necessarily sing it but it’s, ‘wallet, keys, phone. Wallet, keys, phone.’ I try to make sure I have all three of those things because I would always leave one.” – Sean
“I have a short list; you have to bring your uniform, hat and glasses.” – April
Whether you do it mentally or write it on a Post-it note, it’s good to double check that you have your most important items throughout the trip.
4. CHECK THAT YOU HAVE YOUR I.D. BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE
“I did technically forget my passport once. We were only like a mile away from my house so we drove back to get it.” – April
Some airports will do additional screening if you forget your i.d. but you don’t want to take the chance. That additional screening also takes a lot of time, a luxury you might not have. If you’re prepping for a trip make this the first thing you pack.
5. BRING FOOD
“Our last trip I didn’t pack very much and I was bummed. You panic. You need to be fueled and if you’re not bringing a little piece of home you’re in trouble. For us its bars, almond butter and protein powder.” – Kerri
“I always feel like I should have packed more. Pack more tuna or chicken.” – April
The lesson here is to keep your diet to what you’re accustomed to. If you’re traveling internationally think about snacks and food that you can pack that will help you maintain your normal diet. Also remember to bring any food or medication that you’ll need if you have a medical condition.
6. PACK YOUR PATIENCE
For parents, “travel with a huge tool kit of snacks, iPads, and crayons; anything you can think of. You want as many tools in your kit as possible. Stay on the same page as your partner and you can get through anything. Lots of diapers! Bringing some things to bribe kids with are huge. Pack the Red Vines.” – Kerri
Overpacking can be a worry, but if you’re traveling with young children you may be thankful you packed a little extra if you get caught in a bind. For teammates that take on the ‘mother hen’ role of the team, the same applies. If you know your travel party well, take the small things like cards and gum that make the trip a little easier and fun.
KEY ITEM THAT CAN MAKE OR BREAK A TRIP
April: “My face wash.”
Kerri: “My hair conditioner, if I can’t brush my hair… we have manes. I started braiding my hair when I got heckled for it being this big [holds her hands out above her head]. They called me the Lion Queen. It was at nationals my junior or senior year and I was like ‘I don’t want that again.’ Braiding is so much easier.”
USA VOLLEYBALL SUGGESTED ITEMS TO PACK
- Toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, soap, hair brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, flip flops, extra hair ties, contact case, contact solution, glasses, razor, lotion, chapstick, sunscreen
- I.D.: driver’s license and/or passport
- Alarm clock, if you don’t use your phone
- Cell phone charger
- Cards, games, books, magazines, homework
- Water bottle
- Money to spend on fun things!
- Casual outfit
- Rain jacket
- Watch, you don’t want to be late to anything!
- Carry-on bag for gear: socks, underwear, sports bras, kneepads, ankle braces, jersey, shoes, sunglasses