Love it or loathe it, packing for vacation is an inevitable part of the travel experience. Over the years I have become more savvy in both the contents of my luggage and the method of packing my carry-on and checked bags, but even I will admit to a few stumbles along the way. (For example, our first cruise - talk about way too many items of clothing for one week! Or a more recent example - our trip to Europe in May 2013 - talk about not having the proper gear for sudden winter weather in late spring! More on both of those in upcoming posts...)
Everyone has their favorite tips for maximizing luggage space and how to best plan for overall packing, and these are some of mine:
- Luggage tags can get caught and come off in the machines (especially the buckle ones) so I recommend adhering a sticker with your contact information to the inside of your luggage. An alternative to this would be putting this information on a piece of paper in an interior zipper pocket.
- If you are traveling with a companion and checking more than one bag, divide your items between both bags. If the airline were to misplace your luggage, it probably wouldn’t be both bags, so you would at least have some of your belongings.
- If you are only checking one bag (whether traveling alone or with a companion), pack some clothing into your carry-on bag. I always recommend packing some basics into your carry-on, but when checking only one bag, I would go the extra mile and include a couple of outfits in addition to my standard under things, warm clothes, and socks.
- Be sure to keep all medications with you, and make sure all prescription medications are in their original pharmacy containers.
- Try rolling your clothing instead of folding it – this will help with wrinkles and will allow you to pack more items. Not too many more items though! Save room for souvenirs!
- Pack items that can be mixed and matched easily, and include various accessories to change the look of your outfits. Ladies, go easy on the shoes! (This is always my biggest packing obstacle!)
- If you’re packing necklaces, try rolling them in Bubble Wrap and securing the little package with tape. For necklaces with thin chains, try fastening them through a straw first.
- Always pack a few plastic bags that seal – you just never know when these might come in handy!
- Include a folder or portfolio so that you can save tickets, maps, brochures, and postcards without worrying about them bending and getting ruined.