Plan * Pack * Play!
My husband and I were chatting with good friends about packing our children for overnight camp. This conversation led to packing for a family vacation. My girlfriend said: “I always pack just a few hours before we need to leave and always pack too much because I never know what I or the kids will want to wear.”
Does this sound like you?
If yes – you are not alone! Packing for vacation can easily be the one deterrent to actually taking vacation. The laundry, the lists, the unknown weather report can easily make your head spin right down into a dark hole! Now I am not suggesting that packing so little that you run out of clothing by day 3 is the answer – but I am saying there is a way to pack more efficiently to avoid the dreaded fee for luggage that is well over 50 lbs. Believe me – I have been there, done that! I hated dipping into my vacation fun money to pay for my lack of planning!
So here is what I suggest: Five Tips for Packing for Vacation, Without the Stress
Neutral Knickers – Pants are one of the biggest culprits of being a luggage hog. The fewer pants you pack the more room you have for other items. Your best bet is to select 2-3 pairs of neutral toned or solid color pants that you can mix and match with a myriad of tops and lightweight sweaters. One pair of jeans, one pair of cotton pants (like capris) and 1 pair of dressier pants – should suffice. This will supplement the 2-3 pairs of shorts/skirts you will be packing too.
- Think Transition – This is where a bit of creativity comes in. Scarves, pashminas and statement necklaces and earrings are fabulous pieces that can transform an outfit from day to night. That and some great shoes! Now I know what you are thinking – how can I pair down my shoes? Well – if you get creative with your wardrobe then you can bring that extra pair or 2 or 4 or…. Well you get the picture!
Style Tips: Add a great scarf to a t-shirt and some fun shoes and you are ready for a dinner at a café. Add a little bling to a simple dress with some pumps; you are now ready to head to a swanky dinner.
- Roll, roll, roll them up – Rolling your clothes versus folding them will provide more room in the compartment for toiletries, extra bags needed or any other non-clothing item you need for your trip. This is a good time to use the dry cleaner plastic bags. Typically I recommend discarding this as soon as you get home from the dry cleaner (clothing needs to breathe!) but if you know you are traveling, this is good to fold in to help with wrinkles or protect from other liquids that may spill in your bag.
- Stuff every nook and cranny – stuff socks, underpants, belts and other smaller items into shoes. Save the extra space for an extra dress or dare I say it, pair of shoes!
Tip: Pull out your bathroom scale and plunk you suitcase on it. Is it over 50 lbs.? Better to rearrange your clothing in your bedroom then in front of impatient travelers waiting to check in!
- Save room for shopping – I recommend one of 2 things here: either save room in your suitcase for your shopping spree or add an extra empty duffel bag to your luggage specifically to hold your new purchases. You can always buy a souvenir bag at your destination but that is often an unnecessary expense if you remember to pack one ahead of time!
The key to a less stressful packing experience is to make detailed lists of all items needed, plan ahead and then pack your clothes. What will the forecast be? What, if any, excursions or tours will you be taking? What is the dress code of each venue? I remember going to the Vatican with my husband years ago and not being allowed in because he was wearing shorts and not covering his knees! We were 2 very sad tourists. Learn from my mistakes!
I’d love to hear your packing triumphs or nightmares.
Cheers! To your fabulously, well-deserved vacation.