Traveling home for the holidays—whether on school break or just for family time—isn’t always the easiest. And depending upon how large your family is, space and time may be limited. Not to mention the noise factor. Here are my essentials for traveling home for the holidays: things you need to pack to make the trip home easier. (And hopefully to keep your sister from crying.)


If your house is like mine, no trip home, with all the siblings and family and extended family and friends and neighbors and the mailman and the dishwasher repairman, is safe from noise. I don’t know what it is about the holidays, but when you get everyone together, good luck finding any peace! Christmas seems to require higher volume levels. Pack a pair of good headphones to block out what you can. Personally, I’ve found the Bose noise canceling headphones to be a godsend.

Something Sweet

You can’t show up home for the holidays without something sweet. If you’re clever, you can find something to pair with that wine/vodka/tequila you also brought home. Otherwise, a box of chocolates from duty-free is often good enough. To really impress your family though, find some local chocolates. From Germany, my favorite sweet gift is Niederegger Marzipan—a traditional German candy I discovered on my first Christmas in Berlin.

Selfie Stick

It’s the hit of the holiday season in case you haven’t noticed! It seems everyone (and their mother!) has gotten a selfie stick. For the holidays, it’s been probably the most useful thing I packed. It came in handy at every family dinner. All my mom wanted for Christmas was myself and my siblings all together again, and with my selfie stick, we were able to capture a lot of those moments. Also works perfectly at impressing friends and family. #showoff

Clothes That Make You Look Good

Coming home for the holidays is as much about visiting friends and family as it is about showing off. So don’t regress into your old high school look (oh god) when back in town. I get a lot of my styling tips from a handful of fashion blogs, magazines, Instagram, and even Reddit (#malefashionadvice).

This blog originally appeared on Adam’s gay travel blog. Read the original here.