It's no secret that the key to having a successful and budget-friendly vacation is all in the details — from finding the best airfare prices to selecting the accommodations with the amenities that best meet your needs. However, there is another, often overlooked part of vacation planning that's just as critical to the success and affordability of your vacation — how to pack.
It may seem like a small matter in comparison to the other trip details, but packing right for a vacation can save you time, money, and aggravation. To make sure you're prepared, we've packed this article with some important tips from frequent vacation travelers:
- Make a list. Check it twice. Be sure to write down everything you will need for your trip — from clothing to toiletries to reading materials and electronics. Take into consideration the length of your vacation, projected temperatures, and the activities you plan to do. For example, if you plan on jogging during your vacation, you'll know you need to pack running sneakers. Make a list a week before your vacation and do an inventory the night before you leave to ensure you have all the items on your list.
- Know your airline's baggage policies. Anyone who travels frequently knows that different airlines have different baggage policies and pricing. Some, for example, allow you to check your first suitcase at no charge. Others, charge for every suitcase. Knowing the policy before you start packing will help you determine the number of suitcases to bring, and ultimately help you save money.
- Take personal items that you need, such as your cellphone, money and other valuables with you. Never check something as baggage that is essential for your vacation, such as your purse or wallet or medication. Baggage can easily get lost. Never pack valuables in your checked bags.
- Roll your clothes versus fold them. To conserve space in your suitcase, arrange to roll your clothes in tight little rolls. Placed this way, your clothes are less likely to require ironing, giving you even more time to spend relaxing.
- Bring mix and match clothes. The most successful packers know how to streamline clothing by bringing along clothing and accessories that have multiple uses, giving you the flexibility to create different outfits out of just a few items. Easy-to-pack accessories like scarves and belts are a great way to change the look of an outfit, for example.
- Bring layered clothing. If you're not sure of the weather conditions, pack clothing that can be layered. For example, you can make a light blouse or shirt warmer by adding a nice button-down sweater.
- Use travel-sized toiletries. If you plan on carrying on your luggage to the airplane, you won't be able to pack full-sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and other toiletries without having them taken away by airport security. Even if you check your bags, these items are heavy and take up unnecessary room in your suitcase. Purchasing travel-sized items will save you space and aggravation.
- Limit the number of shoes you bring. Shoes are heavy and take up added room in your suitcase. Consider bringing neutral colored shoes that are comfortable and match every outfit you pack.
- Make sure your suitcase is below the airline weight limit. Checking a suitcase that exceeds the weight requirement can cost you significantly more. Check with your airline on the weight restrictions as well as their baggage policies.
- Leave room for goodies. If you plan to bring back gifts, such as sweatshirts and merchandise, be sure to leave room and extra weight in your suitcase for them.
If you followed these helpful tips you're well on your way to a comfortable vacation. Then, you can sit back and enjoy the flight.