Becoming a smarter traveler begins with limiting what you pack for vacation. Once you’ve gotten used to the idea of taking only what you will need, you’ll wonder why you ever traveled any other way. It requires a little forethought and planning, but it’s well worth the effort.
Avoid packing the day or night before a trip, which can lead to overpacking. Also consider your planned activities. Many of us bring clothes for a wide range of activities, when, in fact, our plans might boil down to spending a lot of time poolside or indoors.
Understand Your Amenities
If you’re staying in a vacation resort, understand that many units have washers and dryers, offering the option of doing a quick load of laundry during your stay. Make sure to verify whether your vacation accommodation comes equipped with or provides access to these and another amenities that are important to you as you plan.
Start With the Bag
Instead of determining what you’re going to bring and then looking for a bag large enough to hold it all, start with the bag. Select something versatile and fill it working from the perimeter inward.
Think “Travel Size”
Instead of a 14.5- ounce bottle of shampoo, look for “travel size” toiletries: 3-ounce bottles, for example, or a small tube of toothpaste. Consider, as well, eliminating toiletries altogether and stopping at the local drugstore once you arrive.
Select what you need and combine it in a plastic bag with items that a traveling companion might be bringing.
Roll, Don’t Fold.
Roll clothes instead of folding them. Not only does this save space, but it cuts back on wrinkles. Exception: lay belts flat around the perimeter of your bag.
Better Yet: Use Packing Cubes
Those small, zippered soft-mesh containers are perfect for organizing and segregating various kinds of garments such as T-shirts, socks and underwear. Simply fill each cube and pack the cubes in your travel bag or suitcase. Then, rather than unpack every individual clothing item at your unit, you can simply place the still-packed individual cubes in the drawers or on the shelves and remove items as needed.
Use the Shoes
Many people forget that their packed shoes can be utilized as storage space for all sorts of things: socks, underwear, medications.
Mix and Match
A good rule of thumb is to assure that each item of clothing you pack can be used as part of an outfit twice.
Leave a Little Room
Resist the temptation to stuff your bag. Leave some room for your souvenirs on the outbound trip.