I love to travel and if it were up to me, I’d be traveling 4-6 times a year. But with family obligations and expenses, I usually only get to travel once or twice a year.
Still, I have developed a pretty good system for packing for travel and vacations so I’m going to share what I do with you. I’m always on the look out for better ways to do things and tips so if you have one, please share and leave me a comment.
First things first. Sit down with paper and pen and make a packing list. Think about everyday of your vacation. What will you be doing? Going to the beach? Write your bathing suit down. Going to a nice restaurant and theater? Write down the clothes you want for that. Sightseeing clothes? Will the climate be cooler? Write down your jacket. You get the idea. Go day by day and add the outfits you want to wear each day to your list.
Will there be laundry facilities where you will be? If so, you can pack less. Instead of bringing 4 pairs of shorts, just bring 2. Do remember to bring some laundry detergent.
Now add the other types of clothes you will need such as pajamas, underwear, socks, shoes, etc. Try to limit the shoes you bring so to save space.
Next add your list of toiletries such as makeup, shampoo, deodorant, your medications, a small first aid kit, feminine products, bug repellent, sunglasses and prescription glasses, sunscreen, your hair brush, and a laundry stick to clean up any little small stains you get.
A little tip is to use travel size bottles on as many things as you can. I got the plain plastic ones from the drugstore and just refill them before each trip.
Remember to bring your ID, credit card, traveler checks if you use them, passport if you are going out of the country and cellphone.
The next part of the list is for entertainment. Add your cell phone charger to this list. Other things for this list are a book or kindle, magazines, and ipad or ipod. Also pack some headphones so if you get stuck somewhere you can entertain yourself with music or videos.
If you have kids, pack a tote with some things that will entertain them. When my kids were young, I’d go to the Dollar Store and buy about $20 worth of stuff for them: travel games, activity books, crayons, etc. I would put the loot in a tote bag or backpack for each child and give it to them at the beginning of the trip. This was great for car trips but also kept them entertained while waiting at the airport and while sitting in a hotel room.
Put a few bags on your packing list too. I put a few of those kitchen trashcan size trash bags in my suitcase to hold dirty clothes. I also have some gallon sized zipper bags that I use to double bag any liquids in my suitcase to keep them from leaking onto clothes. The gallon size bags are also great for keeping things organized. You can use them to keep your electronics and their cords in, to keep all your medications in, to keep your underwear in, your socks, and more. They just come in real handy. Oh, and for your kids. You can put a complete outfit in a gallon sized bag and then all your child needs to do is pull out a bag each day.
Once you have your list complete, make sure everything is travel ready. Your clothes should be clean and in good repair. Go get your luggage out and make sure it’s in good shape.
I once waited until the night before my trip to pack, only to find out my daughter had loaned my big suitcase to a friend without my permission. The friend was out of the country so I had to make a midnight trip to Walmart to buy a big cheap duffel bag to use. I was not a happy camper!
Also make sure your luggage smells okay. Put a few fabric softener sheets in it to freshen it. Check the luggage over to be sure the zippers work.
After you have packed and checked everything off your list, take your list with you on your trip. Then before you leave to come back home, you can check your list over to make sure you are not forgetting anything.
Have a great vacation!