Packing for vacation—the dreaded part of every trip—is a big project. And like most large projects, procrastination often gets the best of us. The list of items to remember is enormous and the possibilities to consider are numerous. So we put it off, pack last minute, and either forget key items or pack way too much. If this sounds familiar, this post is for you.
Packing doesn’t have to be stressful; in fact, it can be easily managed as long as you stay organized and begin the process early. Here are some packing tips you can use for your next vacation.
Make a list
This is rule # 1; without a list, you’re just asking to forget something essential—there are simply too many items to remember. While initially time consuming, developing a checklist facilitates the entire packing process. Thirty minutes of planning could save countless hours of stress and frustration—especially if you need to waste valuable vacation time purchasing items you forgot to pack.
Here is a good example of a packing checklist at IndependentTraveler.com.
Don’t rely completely on premade checklists
Packing requires careful planning. While it is helpful to obtain premade checklists, make sure you spend the time customizing it. Some lists are more thorough than others, but each should be used only as a starting point or template for your specific modifications.
Start with the essentials
Your checklist should begin with items that are either non-replaceable or otherwise very difficult to replace. This includes your wallet, identification, passport, credit cards, cell phone, airline tickets, medications, and confirmation numbers.
Plan your outfits carefully
Once again, taking the time to plan early will pay off later. It is generally good advice to pack an outfit for each day, plus a few extras. However, if you know you’ll be doing some clothing shopping while on vacation, you may want to leave a little extra space.
Also, avoid the mistake of traveling exclusively with one “type” of clothing. Warm climates may experience cold spells at night or under certain weather conditions, and a casual vacation may present an opportunity to dress in more formal attire. Pack at least a few outfits for these possibilities.
Think twice about toiletry items
Pack what you need, but keep in mind that TSA regulations can limit what can be transported in carry-on bags. In addition, there is always the risk that your messier items may tear and leak into your checked bags. To avoid these issues, consider visiting the travel section at the department store once you arrive at your destination.
Plan for downtime
When you think about your vacation, you probably conjure images of skiing down mountains or experiencing the adrenaline rush of thrill rides. But don’t neglect the inevitable and less than exhilarating aspects of the trip, such waiting at the airport, enduring the flight, or just relaxing at the hotel after a busy day. Whatever the reason, you need to be prepared for downtime with items like books, magazines, iPods, crossword puzzles, electronics, etc.
Bring travel information
Don’t waste precious vacation time trying to figure out what to do and how to get there. Make sure you bring your itinerary, guidebooks, and a GPS if you’re renting a car. Maintaining a strict schedule isn’t necessary, but you should at least have a general plan with the technology and resources needed to quickly get you where you need to be.
Take your favorite technology
Make sure to pack your favorite technology such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, and cameras, while avoiding the most common technology-related packing mistake: forgetting the chargers. You’ll also want to remember the camera, and if you have undeveloped film, make sure it’s transported in a carry-on bag. The reason: X-ray equipment used to inspect checked baggage is stronger and has the potential to erase the film.
Unavoidably, you’re going to be packing quite a bit. And you’ll probably want to do some shopping and purchase some souvenirs for the return flight. This is where Bags Inc. can help with the process. Even with the best planning, you’re not going to want to wrestle with your bags to and from the airport. With our luggage delivery service, combined with careful planning and smart packing, you can maximize your vacation time.
If you have any packing tips you would like to share, we’d love to hear them.