August 11, 2022

Packing for Vacation

By: Leah Nalepa

Summer is upon us. For many of us, that means traveling for vacation. And when we travel, we pack our personal belongings in a suitcase to prepare for the week or weekend ahead. 

Advice for packing clothes can come from different people with different perspectives. Some may prefer to pack rather minimalist, ensuring they only have the essential items they’ll wear while on their trip. Others, hope for the best and pack whatever is clean at the time. However you pack, here are a few tips (in no particular order) to consider before bringing your entire wardrobe on vacation.

Plan When You’ll Pack 

This can mean different things for different people, and may even seem like an oxymoron. We all know somebody who packs several days in advance to confidently know they won’t forget anything. Many, however, fall into the “pack a day-or-two early” club, or worse, the day-of. No matter how much time you give yourself, at least plan to know when you’ll pack ahead of your trip. This makes preparing packing easier, such as ensuring all vacation clothes are clean and ironed or knowing what toiletries you’ll bring with you. 

What Travel Toiletries Will You Bring?

Speaking of toiletries, it’s helpful to know which ones you’ll need a travel size in and which ones you won’t. If you drive, this shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re concerned about space. But if you plan to fly and only pack a carry-on, perhaps purchase travel-size items ahead of time. While most airports offer a variety of travel-size items, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to personal items such as contact solution, cologne, hair spray, hand sanitizer, shampoo, or something else. 

Categorize Your Bags

Having a variety of small toiletry-like bags can help keep you organized and protect your clothes in the suitcase when you’re packing for vacation. For example, one bag can include face wash and shampoo, while another may serve as an on-the-go make-up bag or can hold items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, and retainer. The key here is to match like items with like items so in case something spills it won’t spillover into the rest of the luggage.   

Invest in a Nice Suitcase

Suitcases are so much better than they used to be. Not only do many of them roll on four wheels, making them easier to transfer from place to place, but they also contain outer hard shells that prevent easy wear and tear. Investing in a good suitcase is a game changer for packing and traveling. While high quality suitcases tend to be pricey, stores like Amazon or TJ Maxx offer more affordable options without compromising durability. 

Layer Your Clothes

Layering offers a variety of benefits when traveling, but it isn’t the most suitable choice if you’re planning to travel somewhere warm. It’s easier to pack lightly for warmer weather due to the fabric and material of summer clothes. If you do pack layers, bring items that will mix and match with each other. For example, a jean jacket pairs well with a dress, shorts, denim jean pants (any color), skirts, or chinos. A leather jacket or colorful sports coat matches fewer items but makes a bolder statement. Layering items such as tees, long-sleeve tops,  jackets, and light sweaters will enhance your packing capabilities when you’re limited to space. 

Choose Your Essential Items 

Whether or not you’re a minimalist, knowing which items will be essential for a particular trip is a must. Will you be going out on the town while on vacation so you need to pack a more sophisticated outfit? Are you going on a ski trip so warm clothes like thick socks, a hat, gloves, and layering pieces will be important? If you’re going on a beach vacation, do you have a couple bathing suits, a beach bag, and sunscreen? Will the weather change while you’re there? Whatever your trip looks like, know the general outline of the vacation so you can be as prepared as possible when packing your outfits. This logic also applies to shoes! 

Pack Items That Will Mix and Match

Few things make traveling easier than when all the outfits in your suitcase match each other. While this is not always possible, it’s helpful to consider when packing for vacation because it saves time and space. Choose three or four different tops that all match three or four different bottoms to build several outfit combinations while you’re away. Adding accessories or a layering piece can add more intentionality and visual depth to an outfit and create the illusion that you brought more clothes than you actually did. 

There are many more tips and tricks for packing for vacation that are not listed here. The recommendations listed are simply a starting point for those planning to change the way they pack or are looking for helpful packing suggestions. Packing is personal, but it can also be efficient. No matter what method you choose, find ways that save you time, space, and energy, and allow for some of your favorite items to be packed for the journey ahead.