Everyone loves going on vacation but, admittedly, not everyone enjoys packing for one. What's the solution? Well to some it's the last minute tossing of clothing and toiletries into a suitcase and hoping for the best. For others it's meticulously over packing outfits – and back up outfits – for every day of the trip and any ‘what if' scenario that may occur until their suitcase is too heavy to lift. When it comes to packing for vacation everyone thinks they have the answer – until they discover a better one. Read on for 10 things about packing everyone thinks are true ... and we'll tell you why they're wrong.
At Lands' End we know the clothes you wear are more than just fabric you put on your body. Your clothes are an expression of your personality and wearing clothes you love automatically make you feel better about yourself – no matter the destination. This – and the fact that Instagram pictures with stunning backdrops are a thing – is probably why the majority of people over pack for every trip.
Contrary to popular belief you do not need to bring your top three favorite dresses plus two pairs of jeans and four T-shirts for a two day trip to wine country. Save yourself (and your lower back) some serious stress this vacation and limit your wardrobe choices to one outfit per day plus one dressier outfit like a sleeveless knit dress and pair of strappy sandals. If this seems impossible, consider bringing pieces that look good mixed and matched like a pair of skinny jeans, a camisole, a light cotton sweater and a breezy tunic. Not only can you layer these pieces to get you through an entire day and night of sight seeing but you know they all look good together or worn on their own, simultaneously limiting your luggage load while increasing your fashion savvy-ness.
Like the over packing rule above, packing too many colors that don't work when worn together will be something you'll ultimately regret. When it comes to packing for a trip it's best to pick a neutral color palette as your base – like blues, blacks or browns – that can be mixed and matched for various looks. Then build on your base with additional pieces you can use to tie a bit of color into your look like a vibrant cashmere sweater or an open cotton cardigan sweater.
Right? Wrong. If you don't feel comfortable enough to wear a new fashion trend at home chances are you won't be comfortable enough to try it out on vacation either. Stick to the clothes you feel like yourself in when you're travelling even if it's as simple as jeans and a T-shirt. You don't need to impress anyone, all you need to do is have a good time. Trust us. When you feel good about what you're wearing then you look good too. No matter the destination.
For a last minute weekend getaway or a quick business trip you may be able to get away with packing all of your essentials into a carry-on bag and skip the joy that is baggage claim. Anything longer, however, probably requires a checked bag. Save yourself the humiliation of having your bag rejected for carry-on at the gate -- or worse, stares of fury from fellow travelers as they wait for you to try (and fail) to squeeze your bag into the overhead bin. Instead protect your items from getting squished or damaged in your lightweight suitcase by packing heavier items like shoes, jeans and sweaters at the bottom of your bag (closer to the wheels when held upright) and lighter items like flannel shirts and knit pajamas at the top.
Why take the risk of your shampoo spilling all over your favorite cashmere sweater in your suitcase? All hotels offer some form of complimentary toiletries with your stay and – unless you're vacationing off the beaten path – you can always buy small travel versions of whatever you need from a local store when you arrive to your destination. For must-bring beauty items you just can't live without consider ways of packing only the amount you'll need for your trip like putting hair gel or makeup remover in a contact solution case instead of bringing along the whole bottle. It may sound like a little more prep work than you're used to but we're sure you'll like the convenient result on the other end.
Just because you're given a two big limit on airlines doesn't mean you have to take them up on it. Do your best to maximize suitcase space by packing items within items (like socks inside shoes) when possible or rolling your clothes instead of folding them. And for those items that can't be rolled – like a nice dress or blazer – try laying them on top in a dry-cleaner plastic bag to prevent wrinkles.
When it comes to swim suits on vacation it's often better to have one and not need it than not have one and miss out on a late-night dip in the Jacuzzi. Since swimsuits don't take up much space at all in a suitcase you might as well throw one in. It'll save you the hassle (and price tag) of buying a new one from the hotel lobby when you finally give in and take the plunge.
Take a second and throw a sturdy canvas tote bag into your suitcase. We promise it'll come in handy and not just for shopping. Hitting the beach on your island vacation? Use it to carry sunblock, beach towels and water bottles. Or keep all of your souvenirs safe on the trip home by using it as your carry-on at the airport. It could even double as a dirty laundry bag inside your suitcase – but we're sure you'll find many other uses for it before it comes to that.
Spending a few nights a hotel may sound relaxing but the truth is that sometimes it's just really hard to get a good night's sleep in a strange bed. Tip the odds of a sound sleep in your favor by packing your favorite pair of comfy knit pajamas to keep you cozy all night long. And if sleeping in a strange place is something you struggle with try bringing something that brings you comfort like your own pillow or throw blanket to give you a sense of home. Isn't that cozy?
You didn't plan this elaborate vacation in just one hour, so why do you think you can pack for it in that little of time? Take the stress out of packing for your trip and give yourself a few days (or a week) to get the task done. Make a list of things you'll need and check them off as you pack. Put aside the clothing you're thinking about bringing early in the week and slowly add to it as your color palette, itinerary and weather report start to come together. Finally, once you know what you're going to bring, give yourself at least a day or two to remember anything you might have forgotten – like medications or phone chargers – giving yourself plenty of time to purchase any last minute items. Taking extra time to pack may seem overwhelming at first but we promise it is far less stressful than breaking out into a cold-sweat on the way to the airport because you're worried you forgot something.
Make this vacation the best one yet. Shop landsend.com today for a vacation wardrobe you're guaranteed to love.