While most of us love frolicking in the ocean near the palms or dozing by the turquoise pool with a fruity cocktail or mocktail, we usually don’t love all the prep work - including stress-inducing packing - to get us from home to paradise.
Some people start packing weeks (if not months) in advance, agonizing over every item on their pack-me list, while others grab and go five minutes before they leave, most likely forgetting a lot of what they’ll actually need.
Luckily, there’s a happy medium between those two extremes.
Here are our top 10 tips to make packing for this summer’s getaway a breeze.
1. Go from head to toe. When you jot down your packing lists, think head to toe to stay organized - and write one list for clothing and the other for toiletries and other items. For example, your clothes list might read: hat, earrings, scarf, four shirts, bathing suit, and so on. On your second list, you could write: shampoo, conditioner, brush, face wash, moisturizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, to start.
2. Consider your colors. When packing clothes, consider a neutral color scheme you can mix and match easily, like black, white and khaki, with a few pops of great color in there. That way, you can pack fewer items. Also, pack multipurpose items: A colorful or patterned scarf can dress up an outfit, function as a belt or sarong, and even keep you warm in a blast of cold air conditioning.
3. Pack by outfit. Ever pack so many clothes that you only wore half the garments you brought? One way to avoid that is to pack by outfit - one per day, one per special event and then a few extra items, for instance. Savvy travelers will also pack and then literally remove half the items they originally stuffed in their suitcases.
4. Say sayonara to shoes. To score more luggage space, scale way back on the number of shoes you tote along. If you do have dress-up events or dinners out, bring one pair of fancier shoes. And a word to the wise: Try not to bring brand-new shoes on a trip to avoid painful blisters and cramped toes. Your feet will thank you.
5. Don’t get wrinkled. Who wants to iron all their clothes as soon as they hit the hotel, when they could be hitting the pool? That’s why your best bet is to pack wrinkle-resistant fabrics like washable silk, nylons and micro-fibers that dry quickly. If some of your clothes do need some smoothing out, hang them in your bathroom while you shower, so the steam can eliminate the wrinkles.
6. Don’t slow your roll. Did you know rolling your clothes takes up a lot less space in your suitcase than folding everything neatly? (Also, stuff your rolled socks in your shoes.) That leaves lots more room for all the souvenirs you want to tote home.
7. Batch in zipper storage bags. Resealable baggies are great for stashing underwear and toiletries, and then for toting dirty laundry or wet swimsuits home. Your kids can also store their new seashell collections without getting sand all over their clothes.
8. Your carry-on is key. Hopefully, the airline won’t lose your suitcase (because that never happens, right?), but if it does, you’ll be glad that you packed your carry-on bag smartly. Here’s what to include on your list: a snack, prescription meds, jewelry, basic makeup, a change of clothes and underwear, tissues, wallet and all documents (like driver’s license and passport).
9. Batch your in-flight essentials. In your carry-on, stash a pouch with items you need on your flight - things like headphones, smartphone, wallet, lip balm and mints. When you reach your seat, simply put your carry-on into the overhead compartment and pull out your pre-packed pouch.
10. Let’s talk about tech. A portable phone charger, noise-canceling headphones and a waterproof portable speaker are key items to tote. If you’re traveling a longer distance, pack tablets for kids - downloaded movies are a great way to spend that airplane or car time.
Finally, don’t freak if you forget to pack something. Inevitably, you will (“Whoops, I forgot to pack the first-aid kit!”), but the good news is that usually, wherever you go, you can easily pick up what you need at your hotel or local convenience store.
With these 10 expert tips, you won’t sweat a bit getting to your destination. Happy travels!