Make a List
Before you pack, make a mental note of where you are going on vacation. Is there anything you will need in particular, such as bathing suits or snow boots? You will want to make these items a priority. Then get a notepad and begin a list that you will continue up until packing day and use for checking off your packed items. Jot down the priority items at the top of the paper and then divide the rest of the sheet into categories. Include:
- Formal wear
- Shower items and/or makeup
- First aid needs
- Entertainment: playing cards, books, magazines, travel-size games
- Electronics: camera, video camera, batteries
Other Packing Needs Determined by Your Accommodations or Transportation
• If you are traveling to a remote destination where you will need to furnish a cabin or rental home, make a separate list of the home goods you will need. Call ahead to see if the property comes partially or fully furnished. Bring cleaning supplies, as well, to maintain the property, if required.
• Remember an updated map and directions if you are traveling by vehicle, as well as a cooler for keeping drinks and food items chilled and available.
• If you plan to travel by airplane or cruise ship, check with the company online or via telephone to determine what items are allowed or banned for travel.
Start Shopping Early
Do not wait until the last minute to start shopping for those supplies that you will need.
Purchase the following at least one month in advance to save time and money on the essentials:
- Plastic zippered bags
- Travel-size toiletries
- Batteries for electronics
- Camera or video camera
- Specialty equipment, such as snow skis
If you know at least one year in advance that you are going to a particular vacation destination, such as to another country, you can begin purchasing items when they are on sale in the off season, such as bathing suits, scuba diving equipment, or mountain hiking boots. Seasonal items are least expensive, often half price, when they are in the least demand. Consider shopping at thrift stores or used sporting goods stores, for items you will only use during your trip, such as a tuxedo or fishing equipment. You will find rock-bottom prices on most items, especially compared to retail prices.
Packing Your Suitcase
Now that you have all the items ready to go, it’s time to get packin’. Here are some tips to help you pack more efficiently so to save time, space, and hassle.
1. Store all of your liquids, such as hair products, deodorants, perfumes and tanning lotions, in a gallon-sized plastic bag sealed inside a second plastic bag to prevent any leakage. This is especially important if you are flying as the cabin pressure will surely cause this stuff to leak.
2. Pack all of your phone chargers, batteries, USB cables, mp3 players, memory cards, and other technological necessities in one or two gallon size plastic bags so they are readily available in one place. Keep these bags in your carry-on luggage or a tote bag up front with you in your car for easy access.
3. Roll your clothing military-style. Start by folding articles of clothing, but stop when they are halfway folded. Then take one short end and roll the clothing into a tight roll. Pack the clothes as you roll them so they hold their shape. This will save space as well as keep your clothing wrinkle- and crease-free.