Before you even depart for your next trip, a number of factors will influence the success of your upcoming vacation. Of course, the destination you choose and the platform you use to book your trip are important — but what you put in your suitcase can also have a significant impact on the outcome of your trip. With these tips in mind, you’ll be all set to enjoy a stress-free arrival at your destination (and you’ll never forget to pack your toothbrush again)!
1. Make a List (and Check it Twice)
There are few feelings worse than realizing, two hours into your epic road trip, that you forgot to pack an important item. But if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Before you even start pulling out clothes and toiletries to pack, make a list of everything you need, from the most obvious items to the most obscure. Keep that list handy and go back to it throughout your packing process.
2. Gather What You Need to Pack, Before You Pack
Collect everything on your list and lay it out on your bed or a table so that you can see exactly what you have to squeeze into your suitcase. As far as garments are concerned, put back half of what you pull out — people tend to overpack clothing. A few pairs of pants and a choice selection of tops should last you an entire week, and if they don’t, most hotels have laundry services available. When you’re done, review your list to ensure you have everything you need, and pick an appropriately sized bag to accommodate all of your belongings.
3. To Roll or Not to Roll
The debate about whether or not to roll your clothing is perhaps as old as the concept of vacationing itself. While it may seem like a hedged bet, the answer to this age-old question is: do both! You should roll softer garments that are made of cotton or wool, as they are more resistant to wrinkling. Fold stiffer fabrics like blazers, dress pants, and starched shirts.
4. Think in Layers
According to packing experts at RealSimple.com, you should “think of your suitcase as a three-layer cake.” The first layer should consist of all of your rolled items, as these are the most wrinkle-resistant garments and can handle having items stacked on top of them. Your folded clothes make up the middle layer, alternating waists with hems to cut down on the thickness. The top layer should be your garment bag or clothing you’ll need immediately (like pajamas or a bathing suit).
5. Avoid Toiletry Troubles
For frequent fliers, packing toiletries can be quite the headache. Keep in mind the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule to avoid delays and the confiscation of your personal items. Each passenger is allowed one quart-sized bag filled with clear containers of liquids (3.4 oz maximum) they wish to carry on, but all other liquids should be checked.
Regardless of whether you choose to fly or drive, placing your toiletries in a tightly sealed plastic bag serves as a good practice to avoid any messy mishaps. The worst way to begin your vacation is opening your suitcase only to find that a bottle of lotion has exploded all over your clothes mid-journey.
6. Versatility Takes the Cake
A light packer and a smart packer are one and the same. Streamline your packing routine by opting for garments and shoes that can perform double duty — those that are comfortable enough for daytime wear and dressy enough for a night out.
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