Packing Tips & Tricks

Planning For Packing

The key to successful packing is planning.  Begin by asking yourself the who, what, where, when, why and how of your trip.  Consider the climate, activities, lodgings, and transportation involved in your journey.  Also, consider the other people who are travelling with you and the purpose of your trip. Now, make a list of everything you will need for each person.

A safe bet is to pack one outfit for every day of the trip.  This does not mean that you need 7 shirts and 7 pairs of shorts for a 7 day trip.  Mix and match clothing to make different outfits and lighter suitcases.  When you are on the road, no one else will know that you have worn those shorts 3 times this week.  If you are traveling for more than a week, it is worth an hour of your time and a couple of dollars to visit a Laundromat.  You can wash your one week's worth of clothing and wear it again.  Bring several big plastic bags with you on your trip for dirty/wet clothes and shoes.

When In Doubt, Leave It Out

Remember, when in doubt, leave it out.  If you are camping, odds are you will not need a coat and tie.  Do not pack something on the off chance you might need it.  Also, do not duplicate items.  One bottle of shampoo and one tube of toothpaste are plenty.  If you run out of something, you can always buy more.  Over-packing is one of the ways to suck the energy right out of a trip.

The best clothes to pack are wrinkle-resistant and wash and wear. They are the easiest clothes to care for by far.  Choose bright colors and patterns to hide stains.  Avoid black and white as they will show even the smallest specks of dirt.  Pack comfortable, all purpose shoes for everyone.  Your feet are the most important ones to keep happy when you have many days of walking and exploring.

Traveling With A Baby

Traveling with a baby will require some additional items.  Investigate what crib supplies are available at your destination so you don't have to pack everything.  A stroller is a must for tooling around with a baby and accessories.  For toddlers, a baby backpack is a good idea, especially if you plan on doing a lot of walking.

Infants and toddlers need extra protection from the elements so always have a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent on hand for them.  Pack small amounts of food, formula, and diapers and buy more when you arrive.  When traveling abroad, it might be in your best interest to pack extra quantities of these items unless you are certain about what will be available.

Other handy items are: a battery powered travel alarm (with fresh batteries), sewing kit, nail clipper, pocketknife, flashlight, small pack of tissues, and pre-moistened towelettes or baby wipes.

If you will need special equipment for your recreation (bicycles, golf clubs, etc.), see if it is available for rent at your destination.  The cost of equipment rental varies greatly.  If rental costs are prohibitive, you might be better off bringing your own equipment.  You must weigh the cost of renting equipment against the hassle of trying to pack it.

What You Need In The Car

When traveling by car you need only to keep your itinerary, maps, cooler, and entertainment items with you. You can pull over to get anything else you might need from your luggage. If you have to check your luggage on a plane or train, it is a good idea to keep some basic items with you.  You must have your tickets/ itinerary with you at all times.  It is also a good idea to carry deodorant, a toothbrush, medications, and clean underwear on the plane, just in case you are delayed or separated from your luggage.  Commercial carriers are usually good about retrieving lost luggage, but it is terrible to be stuck somewhere without a toothbrush or clean underwear.

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