We all have that one friend who loves to pack too many things for a vacation. (Maybe we ARE that friend?) CISL student face this problem often, since they take many weekend trips to places like Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and Palm Springs. How can you provide advice for this friend, and help him or her avoid having a heavy suitcase during your next weekend vacation in California? Here are the ways in which we can politely give advice in English, which will help you to give your friends advice on what to bring (and what not to bring) on your next getaway.

Politely Giving Advice in English 


We use SHOULD + PROBABLY + BASE VERB to give advice. The use of PROBABLY makes the advice a little friendlier and less forceful.

  • You SHOULD PROBABLY pack only two pairs of jeans.
  • We SHOULD PROBABLY leave a little early for the airport.
  • You PROBABLY SHOULDN’T bring so many pairs of shoes.
  • We PROBABLY SHOULDN’T pack things that we can buy once we arrive, like soap and shampoo. 


Another helpful modal is MIGHT. It is polite and not as strong as modals like MUST and HAVE TO. The expression YOU MIGHT WANT TO + BASE VERB is used.

  • YOU MIGHT WANT TO make sure that your bank knows you’re traveling so that they won’t shut off your credit cards.
  • YOU MIGHT WANT TO confirm our reservations.
  • YOU MIGHT WANT TO research some of the local restaurants and cuisine.


Using the Second Conditional, which is shown above, is a great way to give advice. With this construction, you are not telling the person what to do: instead, you are suggesting what you would do if you were in his or her position.

  • IF I WERE YOU, I’D bring an extra battery for your camera. 
  • IF I WERE YOU, I WOULDN’T bring important personal items, like your dad’s watch.
  • IF I WERE YOU, I WOULDN’T forget to finalize travel plans and reservations before leaving.

We can also drop the “IF I WERE YOU” construction and just begin with “I WOULD/WOULDN’T + BASE VERB” to give advice.

  • I WOULDN’T bring that extra bag.
  • I’D bring two nice dresses.
  • I’D take two bathing suits.
  • I’D wait to buy sunscreen when we arrive.

After all this talk about packing and planning, the real question is: where should you go? San Diego and San Francisco are such beautiful cities that at times, it’s difficult to imagine wanting to leave. However . . . the other beautiful parts of California and neighboring Nevada are calling! Check out some of these trips that CISL students make, and be sure to ask the front desk about school-organized excursions on the weekends.