Have you ever felt so overwhelmed while packing for a trip that you had that split moment questioning if the vacation is worth the headache of the preparation? Next time you find yourself stressed over packing, whether it’s a quick girl’s weekend, a family vacation, or a European adventure, here are some helpful guidelines to ease the process.
TIP 1: Approach the task as if you are building a wardrobe capsule for your trip. This is a popular trend for entire wardrobes in the movement toward living a more minimalist lifestyle. Certainly it’s possible to achieve this for a short (or long) vacation!
Start by selecting a neutral base color such as navy, black, gray, or khaki, to build your wardrobe around. Then go from the bottom up – and that means shoes, which can be the bulkiest of items. Depending upon the activities, time of year and where you’ll be, do your best to limit to 2 pairs in your suitcase and the pair you’ll be wearing to travel in. Knowing your base color will help you select the appropriate shoes for the most mileage. Having chosen your base neutral and shoes, you can begin selecting the appropriate amount of shorts, capris, skirts, tops, jackets or sweaters to mix and match. It is helpful to use a section of your closet as a workspace to hang the garments you plan to bring. In this way, you can visualize and make adjustments before you put anything into the suitcase. Once you’ve set aside your basic wardrobe capsule, select jewelry and accessories. Don’t forget those basic foundation pieces and pajamas!
TIP 2: When you are ready to place your clothing into the suitcase, one of my favorite tools is the use of packing cubes such as these by eBags.
Packing cubes help keep clothing secure for less shifting and wrinkling. Not only do they consolidate space within the suitcase, they come in a variety of sizes and add the benefit of helping you stay organized away from home. We discovered these as we helped our daughter pack for her semester studying abroad in Ireland and I became sold on the idea when I used them on our trip to visit her and tour the Emerald Isle. Travel abroad often means you are moving about to different locations and the cubes make packing and repacking a breeze.
Some people pack like items in each cube (undergarments in one, shirts and camisoles in another…), others like to use a cube for complete outfit pairings. Find your personal preference and it will make finding what you need so much easier than digging through an entire suitcase and disturbing all the carefully packed clothes. We have all been there, right? As for the question, “to roll or fold?” There are advantages for each method, so find what works best for you!
TIP 3: Do you have a reunion or family vacation you take every year? If so, don’t put your brain in a tailspin with mental gymnastics every year. Instead, create a master packing list for those “repeat” vacations and refer to it each year. It will be as simple as checking off the items, quantities, and special requirements for that specific trip. Growing family? As your children get older, they can use the list to begin setting aside their own clothing and personal items.
TIP 4: I know my family thinks I’m a paranoid traveler when it comes to the airlines, so I’ll leave you with my top 3 “common sense” packing rules when it comes to the friendly skies.
- Never place these items in a checked bag: car/house keys, medicine, valuable jewelry, credit cards, important documents or irreplaceable items.
- When checking more than one bag: divide clothing so everyone has at least a couple days worth of clothing in each checked bag.
- Carry-on bag/s must include: personal care items, medicines, and comfort needs, snacks etc. This includes pajamas and one change of clothing for everyone in your family.
No matter where your travel adventures take you in 2019, may you be enriched by the experience and blessed by the memories!
Now get packing…
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