You’re excited to be going on vacation, but you’re not sure what to pack. You want to be prepared for whatever your trip throws at you, but you also don’t want to be lugging your entire closet with you for your trip to Honolulu. Whether you are going skiing in Aspen, or spending a week on Greek Island, we have some packing tips for you
DO check the weather. Obvious, but worth noting. You might think that Santa Fe is going to be boiling hot, but don’t forget how fast the temperature can drop at night. Is there a blizzard foretasted during your trip to Maine? Double check so you can be prepared.
DON’T assume that prediction will be accurate. Especially for weather more than three days out, forecasts can change. If your destination is at a high altitude, the weather can be even more fickle. Pack a few extra pieces that will help your travel wardrobe endure temperatures—both warmer and cooler than expected.
DO think about your vacation activities. Are you planning on hiking through the northwest? Make sure you have some athletic wear in your bag. Going to a Broadway show? Pack a dressier outfit for a fancy night out. Does your hotel have a hot tub? Don’t forget your swimsuit.
DO plan on mix and matching. Instead of planning a half dozen specific outfits for your vacation, pack a travel capsule wardrobe of pieces that can easily be re-worn in a variety of ways. Consider packing everything along a cohesive color scheme for maximum versatility. A variety of layers such as sweaters, t-shirts, and light jackets can be adapted to suit a wide range of temperatures.
DON’T overthink it. The fastest route to over-packing is packing outfits for occasions you won’t actually go to. If you are spending a weekend in a cozy ski villa in the mountains, you aren’t going to need a pair of 4-inch stilettos “just in case.” If you are spending a week in San Francisco in February, you aren’t going to wear shorts, even if you do go to the beach.
DO pack shoes you can walk in. Nothing can ruin a vacation like a foot full of blisters. No matter your destination you are probably going to spend a good deal of time on foot, seeing the sights. Your trip to Paris isn’t the time to try to break in a new pair of shoes. Instead, pack your trusty pair of oxfords or a cute pair of tennis shoes. At the end of the day you want to be thinking about the amazing museum you went to, not your sore toes.
DON’T pack more than three pairs of shoes. No matter where you are going and what you have planned, you should be able to travel with three pairs of shoes or less. At a summary beach resort? Bring one pair of sandals and a set of sneakers you can walk in. Winter retreat in Colorado? You don’t need much more than a pair of snow boots, a pair of casual boots, and maybe a pair of sneakers. Going to a wedding? Pack your dress shoes for the big day, and a pair of boots or a comfy flat for the rest of the weekend.
DO ship your presents before you go! If you are going to a wedding or another event that requires a gift, mail your present ahead of time, instead of letting it take up valuable space in your suitcase. If you do decide to bring it in your luggage, make sure you wrap it with proper packaging supplies so it makes it off the baggage carousel in one piece.
DON’T worry too much! At the end of the day, your vacation will be fun no matter what you pack. And if you forget your toothpaste at home, you can always pick up a new tube when you get there.
Marian Sparks is a professional freelance writer and a self-proclaimed world traveler. By traveling the world and writing about her experiences, she enjoys helping others find the most efficient means of travel, wherever their destination. She is always keeping an eye out for the best packaging supplies and travel tips.