The Compass Blog

Your Summer Job Packing List Guide

So you’ve worked your way through the application process – aced your interview – accepted a job offer – and – now comes the fun part: getting there!

Before you go too bonkers and start filling up your Amazon cart, take a deep breath and starting making a list. Or two.

Needs. Wants. Nice to haves.

We’ve worked our fair share of seasonal jobs over the years, and this list will hopefully help you narrow down the essentials and offer some inspiration for the little extras that will make your next adventure feel like your next home.

  • IDENTIFICATION: Read up on what documents are required before you begin working – typically a Driver’s License, Social Security Card, Passport/ Birth Certificate. You REALLY don’t want to arrive at your new worksite only to realize that what you’ve brought with you won’t pass the document test. That spells disaster. Trust me.
  • UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS: You may be required to provide closed toed, black shoes. And black socks. And a belt. Or something else. Khakis? Three Western Shirts? These are things you’ll want to buy before you venture off on your travels. Check your employer’s hiring packet for this and other important fine print!
  • BEDDING: Keep checking that fine print, and look for information about your sleeping situation. Do you need to provide Pillows, Sheets, Blankets? Can a sleeping bag work on your bed as well as in your tent?
  • BATHROOM: Chances are you’ll be sharing a bathroom with one or more of your new best friends. Shower shoes, bathrobe, toiletry kit or shower caddy will be helpful to keep your “stuff” organized.
  • PERSONAL CARE: If there’s something special or specific you need to stay well – bring it. Medications? Allergy eye drops? Contact lens solutions? Back up pair of glasses in case your contacts get lost or go wonky? Ankle brace? Add earplugs to your list. And an eye mask that will block out the light – the Land of the Midnight Sun might live up to its name and surprise you! Your new home may be a long way from a pharmacy or retail outlets, so make sure you’re stocked with the essentials. You won’t be sorry. Take good care of you.
  • SAFETY: Flashlight. It’s dark out there – everywhere. Small daypack. Water bottle. Sunscreen. Mini-first-aid kit. Personal mask. Hand sanitizer – or as my young friend TBone calls it – “hanitizer”.
  • CAR: If you’re driving to your adventure, be sure to have your car checked over before you hit the road. Practice changing a flat tire. Know where you’re heading and what kind of conditions you might face – altitude, mountain passes, spring, and fall snow conditions. Will your car registration expire during the time you’ll be away? Be prepared for the amazing months ahead!
  • CLOTHES: One word comes to mind – efficient! You can’t plan for every wardrobe scenario – or malfunction – so do your best to think about multi-functional clothing (hiking pants that zip off into shorts; water friendly shorts/tops) and layers, as well as limited storage. Chances are you’ll want at least one thing to keep you warm and one thing to keep you dry. Aside from the shoes, you’ll wear for work, will you be day hiking, walking, mountaineering, shooting hoops, playing tennis? Bring along one “nice” thing that’s a step up from casual – for those occasions where you and your new pals are attending a dinner, BBQ, celebration, or visiting a museum or venturing out beyond the Employee Village. Make your momma proud.
  • CASH MANAGEMENT: Chances are you will not see a paycheck for 2-3 weeks after arriving at work. What will you do in the meantime? Pre-paid cash card? Debit card? If your employer offers Direct Deposit – where will you have that go? Have some cash on hand, and also plan for how you’ll safeguard your cash stash.
  • CAN’T LIVE WITH WITHOUT IT: Face it – your phone is your lifeline, your alarm clock, your calendar, your bank teller. Your employee housing may have limited electrical connections and may be prone to power outages. Do you need a power strip? A rechargeable battery pack for charging devices? Your employer may give you some specific details about what you need to stay fully charged.
  • “THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS”: What brings you joy and keeps you smiling? A picture of your family or your college BFF’s? A favorite pillow that fits “just right”? Your journal? Give yourself a little packing room for creature comforts.
  • GET-OUT GEAR: Maybe you’re already a skilled climber or hiker or it’s on your bucket list. Chances are you’ve chosen this adventure with those opportunities in mind. Your well-broken in hiking boots will be a win-win! (I, on the other hand, bought hiking boots and broke them in on the bus ride to Yellowstone ….) You may have fishing gear, a bike, or a pair of binoculars to bring. Think about storage and safety – again – before you pile too much in. Employers may have Rec Programs with gear to borrow, or offer Employee Trips with gear provided.
  • HAPPINESS TOOLS: Maybe one of your summer goals is to reduce screen time – if that’s the case – what’s Plan B? Reading? Water Color Painting? Yoga? Sand Volleyball? Are there things that will help make your Plan B and C doable? Don’t laugh at a forgotten art – this is a perfect time to share your adventure with fabulous picture postcards sent across the miles. You’ll need accurate postal mailing addresses for your Grandma, your cousin and your college roommate. Brush up on your handwriting skills (you still have those, right?) and make someone’s day!
  • EXTRA SET OF SHOES, BOOTS, SANDALS: Just because you like having choices. And you can never have too many shoes, right? Except when you have to pack them and manage them and trip over them in your tiny dorm room
  • HEAD LAMP: No, not just for camping! Reading in bed while your roommate is sleeping, Trips to the bathroom cabin in the middle of the night. Looking for your lost ID Card between your car seats. Walking the trail home after movie night.
  • SMALL FAN: If you’re a white noise enthusiast, or if hot, stuffy sleeping rooms aren’t your jam, a small fan might be worth bringing.

These are things to consider when making those piles and filling up your suitcase, duffel bag, cardboard box or backpack. You know you won’t remember everything, and chances are you’ll bring along some things that you never even unpack. Consider all of that part of the adventure!

Remember to check with your employer as well – make your lists and check them twice and change them up and check them again. Simply plan for “less is more”, and you’ll do just fine!