8 Essential Packing Tips For Your Next Trip

So, you have a big trip coming up, and the departure date is getting closer and closer. If you are anything like myself, you more than likely are thinking, rethinking, and over thinking what to bring. Should I get a new backpack? Should I replace my luggage with the kind that is hard on the outside? Which books should I bring for the plane and to read during down times? Do they use batteries where I’m going? Can I bring batteries as carry-on?...

The thoughts that pop into our heads in the short weeks before a big trip are all ones that err on the edge of caution. We doubt that what we already have is not good enough, and that if we leave that one “essential” item behind, that our entire trip is doomed.

To help calm your nerves, we have put together 8 actually essential packing tips for you to remember as you prep for your next big adventure. To get this frequently asked question out-of-the-way early, NO, you do not need to bring your favorite hair dryer. The hotel will most likely provide one for you. Yes, we’re sure. Read on for more tips.

The first thing you need to do is make a list of the items you need everywhere you go, regardless of the specifics of your destination. This is a run-through of the basics –shirts, pants, shorts, socks, undergarments, shoes, glasses, jacket…pretty much a run through of all the items you use in the course of a normal stretch of time.

Once you have the basics of “how much clothes should I bring?”, you can start altering your travel wardrobe to the specifics of your destination. Are you going someplace tropical? Then chances are you are not going to need that parka and pair of snow pants. Swap it out for that swimsuit, as that will get more mileage on this trip than your snow jacket. Going someplace warm but also rainy? Be sure to grab the waterproof windbreaker and rubber shoes if you already have some.

Are you going on vacation to get away from work and thinking about work? Then leave the laptop. No access to emails means the tentacles of work can’t reach you. Going on vacation to reconnect with your spouse or family? Then leave the books. They will cause you to hide from everyone because you are seeking alone time to read. Books and even portable video games just tempt you to avoid achieving your vacation goals, whatever they may be.

If you are going to a hotel and not a camp ground, then you are in luck –you don’t really have to bring any toiletries at all! Shampoos, conditioners, body wash and soap…they are all provided for you in your room (don’t believe us? Just peek in the shower really quick when you get there).

This saves you the trouble of having to high-tail it to Target the night before because you just realized that you are running low on Head & Shoulders. Bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush and any special (and we mean special as in necessity) items, and let that be pretty much it.

Every airline varies when it comes to what you can check and what you can bring onboard free of any fees. Southwest, for example, makes it so that two bags can be checked for free with economy tickets, and United has it so that everyone in your traveling party can bring one carry-on with them, but charges per checked bag unless you carry their co-branded travel card.

One of the best ways to downsize your packed bag is to plan to launder your clothes rather than bring more outfits. Recycling outfits after you get them cleaned and washed is a great way to save space in your bag, but of course, you need to find a place to get your things washed, first.

Items like your toothbrush, your tablet (if you brought it), a jacket and change of clothes, even tickets and confirmations are all items you want to keep close to you, always. Don’t check them. Keep them on your person, or at the very least in your checked bag that stays above your head or under your seat.