Figuring out what to pack for vacation can be stressful even before you start trying to pack a suitcase! We’ve compiled some packing tips for you to help ease the stress and get you ready to travel! Whether you need help planning, knowing how to pack light, or tips for traveling with kids, we’ll let you know what to do to make the whole process easier.
1. Make a list of all the things you’ll need to pack, categorized by clothing items, toiletries, documents, first-aid, etc. As you’re packing a suitcase with each item, check it off the list. A packing list is a great way to remember everything that you need, as well as to avoid overpacking at the last minute.
Need help with a packing list? If you’re not a planner, search engines like Google can come up with about a million options to help make a list. Just remember, that what someone else packs may not be necessary for you. Check out these packing list results from Google to get inspiration started for your own list.
2. Lay out the outfit you’d like to wear each day. Pair it with any accessories or jackets you’d like to wear with it so that you’ll have everything you need. Plus, seeing it all together will let you see what needs to fit in your bag before you start packing; if it looks like too much, find ways to eliminate items.
3. Call your hotel to see what is included with your stay. If your hotel has hair dryers, bathrobes, an iron, laundry facilities, complimentary breakfast, etc., save space by leaving those items behind and planning your packing around what else you will need. If you are picky about your shampoo and conditioner, ask what brand is provided. If it’s one you like, skip packing those items too.
4. Simplify your routine. You may usually use different products for day and night or have a slew of hair products that you combine for the perfect style. Do yourself a favor and only bring your favorite products that you can use throughout the trip. Try limiting yourself to the top two products for your hair, as well as your favorite face wash and moisturizer. It’s different from your routine, but it’s vacation after all.
To save room:
1. Roll clothes instead of folding. You can fit more clothes neatly in your suitcase, and they’ll wrinkle less. Rolling clothes also helps you see more of your stuff at one time, eliminating some need to dig around in your bag.
2. Plan on wearing items like pants and shirts more than once by packing clothing items that can be mixed and matched. If you keep your main pieces in a neutral color palette (black, white, beige, brown, and gray), you can pack accessories like scarves, jewelry, or hats to add color and interest to each outfit. For instance, you may wear shorts, a blouse, and a hat one day, but you may wear the same shirt with pants, a scarf, and jewelry for an evening look on another day. This planning will help pack fewer items without losing your sense of fashion.
3. When packing shoes, stuff items like socks and underwear inside each pair. This will help utilize that empty space to pack more without taking up additional room in your bag.
4. For cold-weather destinations, try to pack multiple, lighter layers instead of bulky pieces. Layers will keep you warm, give you more options for outfits, and take up less space.
5. If flying, wear your bulkiest items to the airport. Whatever you wear doesn’t have to be packed, so rocking those boots in the airport will help save room in your bag.
For traveling with young kids:
1. Pack a complete outfit for each day in zip-top bags (gallon size); label each bag with according to name, contents, sizes… whatever helps you keep it organized. Once the clothes are worn, you can put them back in the zip-top bags for easy separation of dirty laundry. It’s a convenient way to go about packing a suitcase for the kids.
2. Pack a small first-aid kit. Get a sandwich-sized tupperware container and fill it with assorted bandages, anti-itch ointment, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotic cream. Put some pain reliever and fever reducer, like Children’s Tylenol, in small snack-sized zip-top bags in case of minor sickness. Also, throw in some stickers or candy to reward kids after they’re treated. Take your kit wherever you go in a purse or backpack to battle any unexpected minor injury or illness.
3. Bring laundry detergent just in case you run out of clothes. Kids can get their clothes dirty easily, so doing a wash of clothes in the hotel sink or shower can save you when you’ve gone through more clothes than you planned.
4. Bring one favorite toy and buy a new toy for the trip. A ton of toys will waste room in your bags. The favorite toy will be available for a comfort factor, and a new toy will be exciting and special to entertain throughout the trip.
In case of trouble:
1. Photocopy important information. In each carry-on and checked bag, put a photocopy of your itinerary, flight information, hotel addresses and phone numbers, etc. Also include your home address. If your bags get lost, they’ll know where to find you on your vacation
Also have photocopies of each person’s ID and passport, especially for international travel. If anything happens to your wallet or purse, you’ll have back-up identification.
3. Pack a small, back-up toiletries kit for air travel: 3.4 oz bottles that can fit into a one-quart zip-top bag. Include shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, face wash, and moisturizer. If your luggage gets lost or if you are stranded at the airport, this little kit will help you stay somewhat sane.
Many companies make a ready-to-travel toiletries kit. Malin + Goetz makes a great one that is easy to tote around; if you want to save some money, buy your own travel bottles and fill them with the products you use at home.
4. Use your personal item well for air travel. In addition to a carry-on, bring a personal item on the plane that is the size of a backpack or a tote bag. Pack 1-2 days worth of outfits in it. Even if your luggage gets lost, you’ll still have clean clothes to wear while you wait on it.
5. Plan for stains. Bring small stain treatments, like travel sticks or individual packets of stain-treating wipes. That way, a stain on your clothing won’t limit what you can wear the rest of the trip.
For more ideas of how and what to pack, check out Pinterest.
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