Throughout my life, I have gone on many vacations and trips (both with and without my parents). While there have been many trial and errors, I can finally say that I am no longer a culprit of over-packing my luggage. Whether it be for a cruise, a weekend trip to a friends house, or a week-long vacation in Europe; it seems that I finally have packing my bags down to a tee. Here are 6 tips that I have learned over the years.
1) Don’t Stress About What If Situations
No matter where you go, there will be drugstores, department stores, or even a friend/family member that can provide you with a product that you didn’t think about bringing. Girls, you don’t need to pack every feminine hygiene product on the planet. There is a Target practically everywhere you go (at least in the US). While buying last minute products abroad or on a cruise might be expensive, if you didn’t bring it, than there is a very small chance you would even need it at all. There are some products I will pack just in case such as band-aids, Advil, etc. These products are smaller and can fit in either your carry-on or your luggage that you check in.
2) Make a List Ahead of Time
I have found that one of the best ways to avoid packing items you don’t need is by making a list of what you do need ahead of time. If I cram in all my packing at the last minute, I’ll end up throwing everything I think I might possibly need. Making a list also makes packing a lot less stressful. Another way to utilize a list is to make one, and then once you have gathered all the things on the list that you originally thought about packing, eliminate things that you realize you don’t. This way you know you’re not forgetting anything because you have everything in front of you and you can be more confident in skipping out them.
3) Don’t Go Overboard with Electronics and Entertainment
I get bored just as easily as the next person, but I have also had to deal with trying to stuff 3 different reading books, an iPad, an iPod, and when I was younger, a Game-Boy (with about 6 different games included). Technology makes it easy to avoid having to pack 5 pounds of entertainment. If you have an iPad, Kindle, or any tablet, buy and download books that you want to read on that and save a lot of space in your bags. I have also found that downloading a movie is one of the best ways to pass the time on a relatively long plane ride. At the end of the day, even just a magazine and a small MP3 player should suffice. In reality, I spend half the time on the plane snoozing. Sometimes planes even offer in flight entertainment, and once you arrive at your destination, I promise you will be spending very little time in a state of boredom.
4) Get a Second Opinion About Clothing
One of my favorite things to do when deciding what to pack is to have a friend or family member help weed out the outfits that I don’t need and the outfits that genuinely do not make sense to take. I am the biggest culprit when it comes to wanting to pack a dress “just because” and have had my younger sister talk me out of it multiple times. Many clothing items you just don’t need and sometimes you need someone else to make you realize it. Getting someone else’s input will not only help you get rid of things, it’ll help you relax about accidentally missing something that you thought you should have packed.
5) Scavenge the Travel Section in Target
I really don’t know what I ever did before Target existed. Was I even alive before then? Whenever I am shopping for vacation necessities, you can bet that I will be in the travel size section in Target. They literally have every type of toiletry you need, from matching mini shampoo and conditioners to fold-able toothbrushes. This is the best way to avoid packing too many toiletries and the best way to get quantity approved “liquids” if you’re only traveling with a carry-on. Bonus: they are completely affordable.
6) Check the Weather Before-Hand
This is one of the most important tips. Yes, weather changes last-minute all the time (do weathermen really know what they’re talking about?), but by checking the weather ahead of time and right before you embark on your journey, you can eliminate many items that you don’t need. It’s going to be in the 50s every day? You can put that bathing suit away, trust me. No rain in the forecast? Forgo the umbrella and wear a versatile hoodie that can be used as a backup in case it does end up raining. And don’t forget to avoid things that are not for the time of year. There is no reason to pack knee high boots for a trip to LA in July.
I hope these tips were helpful! The best part about not over-packing is you will have room for souvenirs, which is obviously the best part of every trip and completely necessary. If you have any tips to help prevent over-packing or even traveling in general, let me know in a comment below! I have a trip coming up in a couple of weeks and would love for any free advice.