Planning a vacation can be an exciting endeavor. You pick the perfect destination, reserve a nice hotel, book the flight, and ask for time off from work. You think the hardest part is waiting until it comes time to pack. Packing for a trip isn’t simply about choosing the best outfits and then plopping them into a suitcase. It takes careful planning so you can ensure you have only what you need and plenty of room to carry it. That being said, here are some tried-and-true packing tips to ensure you have everything you need neatly organized, without any added stress.
As tempting as it is to simply stare at your closet, dig into your drawers, and pack anything that looks appealing, don’t do it. The chances are that you’ll end up with way more items than you’ll need. When it comes to packing for vacation, less is more. Jot down a quick list of what you’ll be doing on each day of your trip, and next to it, write what you’ll need to wear for it. Then compare similarities between days and see what you can mix and match. If a swimsuit is a commonality, consider packing a couple of swimsuits or tankinis, so you have one to wear when the other is drying.
Capsule wardrobes work on vacation just as they do at home. The concept involves having a small supply of go-to items that can be mixed and matched or layered. Packing neutral-colored bottoms that match any top ensure that you have bottoms to wear with every single shirt you have. Even if you wear the bottoms twice on your trip, it’s unlikely anyone will notice, as long as you keep them clean. Don’t forget to keep the weather in mind as well. Sometimes it may be cooler at home than your destination, so wearing a neutral-colored cardigan sweater on the plane, over a T-shirt or tank top, can ensure you don’t overheat once you land. Plus, it can easily be tied around your waist without taking up any room in your carry-on or luggage.
Wrinkles are sometimes unavoidable when clothes are packed like sardines into a suitcase. Even when there’s plenty of room, clothes will move around in your luggage and lose the perfect shape you folded them into. Although it is sometimes unavoidable, there are a couple of things you can do to minimize wrinkly clothes. First, choose your fabrics wisely. Wrinkle-free, stretchy fabrics and knits are ideal since they tend to lose their wrinkles quickly once they’re removed from the luggage and hung up. In contrast, woven fabrics like linen are more difficult to pack without wrinkling. However, you can still rely on our second tip for preventing wrinkles, which is to roll each item instead of folding it.
Heavier items like shoes and jeans are best packed at the bottom of your suitcase, near the wheels. That’s because it helps keep the suitcase upright when you’re pulling it or when it’s sat stationary. Also, it prevents other lighter items from becoming wrinkled. For that matter, keep heavy pants and jeans on top of shoes. Then on top of the pants, keep any heavy sweaters you may pack if you’re headed to a cold destination. Next are blouses, dresses, and tops. Following are pajamas and nightgowns. The top is for underwear and swimsuits. Pro tip: Pack your socks inside your shoes to save space.
Chances are you’ll want to bring home souvenirs, even if you aren’t planning on them. And you’ll need room in your luggage for it. So keep this in mind as you’re packing. Additionally, packing an extra bag for small souvenirs will ensure they don’t get broken or scattered about your backpack. An extra bag for dirty clothes is ideal as well, as you’ll have a separate spot to keep clothes you don’t plan on wearing again. This will help make it easier to choose your outfit for the day and avoid any doubt as to what’s clean and what’s dirty.
If you’re flying to your destination, there are a couple of reasons why you might want to consider packing an extra outfit in your carry-on bag. First, luggage gets lost. Chances are slim, but it does happen. Having an outfit that matches the weather at your location in your carry-on ensures that you have something to slip into when you arrive. For guys, this could be shorts and a nice shirt for a warm destination. For women, this could be a wrinkle-free jersey dress that takes up only a tiny bit of space in your bag. Second, even if your luggage doesn’t get lost, you might not be able to check into your hotel room right away. And when the pool is calling your name, you’ll want to have a swimsuit and cover-up available to slip into so you can start your vacation before your room is ready for you.
Don’t let packing stress you out. These tips will make the process much easier while ensuring you have everything you need for a well-deserved getaway.