When you’re getting ready to leave town, there are plenty of things that may concern you, like how you’re getting to your destination, whether your tickets are booked correctly and if the good weather will hold up. One thing that often gets overlooked is packing. Packing is a necessary evil of having the travel bug.
While your kids may think space is unlimited and that they can take every toy they’d like, the fact is that you need to prioritize packing to ensure everything fits with room to spare, like for souvenirs. Take a look at some smart and easy tips to pack for your next vacation.
1. Pack each outfit, folded and in a gallon zip top-style bag. This helps keep clothes organized and folded, which saves time. If something doesn’t fit into a bag, chances are, it is a bit more than most travel requires.
2. Pack one extra outfit per person that you keep in your carry-on if you are traveling on a plane or in a car. This prevents the need to unpack for someone to change due to a spill or other mishap. Keep this in a gallon bag as well.
3. Compartmentalize your suitcase or bag. By keeping each person’s clothes in the zip top bags, you can then stack them neatly in each area, all the way to the top of the suitcase. By giving each person a section of a suitcase, it’s easier to then stack the clean clothes in drawers when you arrive in your hotel room.
4. In the suitcase, use the compartmentalized areas between the stacks to add in your extras, keeping things as balanced as possible. If items aren’t distributed equally by weight, items may shift and undo your folding.
5. Keep extra shoes to a minimum. If you must take extra shoes, then wear the heavy shoes and pack one pair of light shoes that can be worn for all other occasions (e.g., dining in a nice restaurant). Always pack shoes in bags so that dirt doesn’t transfer from place to place.
6. Utilize travel size soaps and minimize toiletries. I’m serious here – you really can do a few days without your entire beauty regimen. It saves space, time and money when traveling.
7. If you’re taking a trip that’s less than a week and on a plane, keep stick to carry-on luggage only. This saves time and money, as well as makes things easier. This may mean having adults wear the same pants twice, but if you alternate and air out, it absolutely can be done.
8. Pack an inexpensive pop-up hamper for dirty clothes. This is the most genius thing I’ve started doing. I used to keep a plastic bag for dirty clothes, but the pop-up hamper enables the clothes to air out a bit when traveling (read: less smelly). When we’re packing up to go home, I simply put two plastic shopping bags around the clothes and they’re ready to wash when we get home.
9. Let each child carry a backpack of fun stuff that they choose to bring. More importantly, let them carry their own backpack. By handing the control to them, they can choose what they want most (that’s not too heavy). For the younger crowd, ask them to wear the full backpack around the house before you venture out to make sure they can carry it on their own.
10. When repacking to head home, if you’re short on space, rolling dirty clothes rather than stuffing them can help save space as well.
Final word of advice for packing
11. Don’t overdo the shopping souvenirs, no matter where you are. Chances are, you’ll likely wear the showcase shirt once or twice more, the stuffed animals will be loved a bit and then head to the donation bin. Worse, more often than not, you end up with no room for your stuff to get home. After all, folded clothes travel much more compactly than dirty wrinkled, clothes!
Photo Credit: Flickr/Global Panorama