Packing for vacation can be a daunting task. I’ve learned that there are a ton of different ways to pack and everyone has their own style. Some people like to pack way ahead of schedule and others pack the day of. Some people write down everything they will need for the trip and others have a running tab in their head of things that they need to remember.
When it comes to planning, I’ve learned that assembling a list ahead of time works best for us. About a week or so before our trip, I will start writing a list of all toiletries, food products, cutlery, cooking supplies, and other items that we will need. You can write this list on your phone or on paper and put it on your fridge. You could also make the list in excel and either keep it on an app on your phone or print it out.
Most of our trips are camping related, so we require a lot of supplies. We have a large plastic tote that we keep camping supplies in when stored, so when we are going through our list, we just check the tote to see what is already packed for us. Throughout the week, we will add to the tote when we find what we need. This means that we have less work to do the day(s) before our trip.
Clothing is another tough component to packing, especially if you only have a little bit of space to pack clothing for an entire week. Let me be honest with you, I always end up over-packing clothes and don’t wear everything that I pack. But there are some tips and tricks that I have learned to minimize this. Think about your location and the season. What will the weather be like where you are going? When we went to Maine in June, I wasn’t thinking that although it was warm where we live, in the mountains where we were staying it would be much cooler. We didn’t have thick sweaters packed and I ended up buying one on our trip (which was fine because I still wear it and I love it – and it was reasonably priced).
I’m ridiculously obsessive about some things, so I probably go a little over board on this part, but stay with me. When packing my clothes, instead of just packing clothes that I like, I will develop outfits for events. Because we plan what events we want to do on our vacation, I have the ability to plan outfits accordingly. For example, if we are planning to go to an art museum and brewery one day during our vacation, I will want to wear something fashionable, but still comfortable. If we are planning on going for a hike and then visit lighthouses another day, I will want to pack an outfit that is easy to move in and warm. With all of these things in mind, I pack the outfits. I will try on an outfit (including accessories) and pack them together. I will place accessories (in a small paper snack bag) into my shirt and fold it onto my pants and roll them up before putting them in my bag. Then, when I need clothes on my vacation, I just have to grab the pants that will work for that day and I have my entire outfit already planned and ready. This has decreased my over-packing tremendously. Always make sure to pack at least one sweatshirt and one pair of sneakers/walking shoes with socks. Also, if you are camping and may be utilizing shower stalls, I would pack flip-flops.
When it comes to toiletries, there are a few different avenues you could go down depending on your situation. I have curly hair, so I need a lot of conditioner. Travel sized containers will never be enough product for my hair and include a large amount of plastic waste anyway. We bring our regular products from home, so toiletries are typically the last things to be packed.
Whether you prefer to pack ahead of schedule or right before the trip, a little planning goes a long way. Making lists can help you to not forget items that you will need. Additionally, packing your clothing according to outfits will help make sure you have outfits that will work together when you are on your trip and decrease the likelihood for over-packing.
Switch things up and find what works best for you and your family. More planning before your trip often results in less stress and unnecessary purchases during your vacation.