It’s been several years since I traveled regularly but I still remember all my tips and tricks for packing well. Besides, I do still have the family beach trip every year and occasional weekend getaways to keep my packing prowess in shape.
Here’s what I do to keep packing from becoming an overwhelming chore:
Consider your luggage.
If you are flying, can you afford the money to check a bag? Or do you need to go carry-on only? When I was traveling regularly, checking one bag was still a free option with most airlines, so I traveled with one checked bag and one small carry-on. Now, if I needed to fly I would most likely choose to go with just a carry-on. When driving to my destination, I still try to keep it to one main bag and one smaller bag.
You’ll also need to consider what type of bag to carry. For trips of a week or more, I prefer a suitcase. For weekends, a duffel bag will do.
Plan out your wardrobe.
Look at your itinerary. Are you spending your days at the beach, and only going out at night? Will you be visiting museums and historic sites? Hiking? Shopping? Once you know what you will be doing each day, it’s easier to plan your wardrobe.
Also, consider your destination. For Egypt, I knew I needed a more modest wardrobe than for my cruise to Hawaii.
Take only clothes that you actually wear.
We all have those clothes in our closets that we think we will wear some day. Resist that temptation to take them with you on vacation. If you don’t wear them at home, you probably won’t wear them while traveling. And you’ll end up with a suitcase full of nothing to wear. Traveling can be stressful at times, so your wardrobe needs to be one less worry. Pack your old faithfuls and the things that you love wearing.
Pack clothes that you can mix and match.
I usually pack three to four bottoms with a top for each day. And I try to make sure that my tops can be worn with all my bottoms so that I have more options. Any sweaters I take, need to go with as many tops and bottoms as possible, so I usually select neutral colors for these layers.
I take no more than three pair of shoes. A good walking shoe that can be worn with everything, flip flops for the pools or beach, and a dressy pair for nights out.
Also, a good rule of thumb is to pack for seven days, even if your trip is 14 days or more. Then just plan to do laundry.
Make a packing list.
Once you’ve figured out your wardrobe, it’s time to make that packing list. There are several free printable ones online, and I offer one for download here. But I actually prefer to hand write my own and make it specific to my trip. This is the most important tool in keeping your packing stress free. So, write down everything that you need to take, from tweezers to sunscreen to underwear. Just make that list!
Keep a toiletry bag ready at all times.
This is something that I’ve learned in the last few years. I keep my toiletry bag stocked with travel size versions of all my personal items. I just have to toss in my facial lotion and cleanser, which I don’t have travel versions of, and go.
Think about what you can really do without.
Do you really need a whole arsenal of makeup? All your hairstyling tools? Every gadget that you own? I can go for a week or more without my laptop. But I need something to read, so my kindle is a must. I rarely pack a camera anymore, my phone takes good enough pictures for me. Take a look at what you really need, because trust me it’s not as much as you think. Take it from a girl who use to pack every gadget that she owned. Now I just need my smart phone and Kindle. All the other gadgets stay home.
So, where are you going for vacation? Do you have any advice for travelers? Let me know in the comments!