Has it been a while since your last vacation? Thanks to COVID, the landscape of travel has changed a lot over the past few years. But the travel industry is rebounding, masking rules are in place for air travel, and spring break tripping is beckoning. This means that the only thing standing between you and a sunny beach is a suitcase full of unnecessary things.
Packing well is a big part of having a relaxing vacation. Making sure you and your family have everything necessary—without overdoing it—is a fine balance that’s tough to strike, especially when you’re traveling with kids. Not only does having too much stuff make it difficult to maneuver through your travel day, it will also end up costing you big bucks in the long run, mostly in airport baggage fees. Here are some tips to keep your suitcases to a minimum and make your travel a breeze.
Intentionality is key
One key to packing well is to be intentional about everything that goes into your suitcase. Whether clothing, jewelry, shoes or other items, only pack what you’ll use on your vacation. One great rule to follow when packing clothing for a weeklong trip is 5-4-3-2-1. You will need five pairs of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes, and one hat. These numbers may change a bit depending on your destination, planned activities, and the availability of a washer and dryer, but they’re a good rule of thumb to use. Check ahead to learn about the amenities your housing offers and the weather forecast and pack accordingly.
What should I do with all these clothes?
Once you’ve chosen what to take, pack your clothes well by using as little space as possible. In general, the larger the suitcase, the more you’ll find to put in it. Therefore, use the smallest bag you can for what you need to take. This way, only necessities, and a few useful extras will accompany you on your trip.
By rolling your clothes, they’ll take up less space in your suitcase than they would by simply folding them, or worse, throwing them in haphazardly. If you’re packing for kids, roll entire outfits together to make dressing each morning an easy process. You can use packing cubes or clear bags for various outfits, too. If you’re concerned about wrinkles, choose fabrics that are more resistant, such as knits, wools, and cottons. Your last step? Enact your Tetris or Jenga skills to fit all the cubes and rolls proficiently in place! Remember, the items you’ll need upon arrival should be packed last so they’re at the top of your bag.
All about toiletries
Toiletries are another issue. One great hack is to choose travel products that multitask. For instance, a tinted moisturizer with SPF does the work of three different products in your beauty routine. Purchase travel-size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and face wash instead of packing full-size, space-hogging bottles. Invest in a toiletry bag to efficiently keep everything in one location and contain any possible leaking. If you’re flying, make sure your toiletries meet all TSA requirements, including being in a plastic bag toward the top of your suitcase for easy access.
What do I do with the dirty stuff?
Don’t just push your dirty clothes to the bottom of your suitcase. Take a plastic bag—a garbage bag works great—and roll or fold your dirty clothes inside it. If you have kids with you, make sure the bag has a secure closure and is waterproof for added protection. Save even more room by purchasing a compressor bag, which shrinks your clothing down to 80% of the volume. While generally used for backpacking, these are great for everyday travelers as well.
Going on a trip can be great fun once you finish the packing process. Keep items pared-down, pack light, and organize your bag. In turn, you’ll experience more relaxing travel and a better vacation. Just make sure your luggage is well-organized and light! If you’re looking for more great organizational tips, check out the rest of our Life Hacks section here at HealthPossible.org.