Packing for your next vacation can be stressful - even if you're an experienced packer. Why? Because you may find yourself worrying about what may be forgotten or fear you won't have enough space in your bag. That's why it's important to make a list! And we love lists.
Lists allow you to know exactly what is needed, and how much luggage is necessary to hold it all. Plus, it gets you thinking about what you need to purchase before the last minute which means you're bound to save money and have everything you need. Our recommendation? Use this travel checklist as a guide for your next trip.
Step 1: Choose Your Main Luggage
Your bag should be versatile and lightweight, yet big enough to hold everything you need. Consider buying luggage with a great warranty - especially if you plan to use it often. Traveling with damaged luggage can be a nightmare, but lucky for you there are quality brands (such as Eagle Creek) with a great warranty, so you can feel confident investing. Here are some great options for versatile luggage:
Step 2: Organize Your Stuff
It's likely you have a full itinerary and will therefore need to pack quite a bit of stuff. This means you'll need a way to stay organized. The best tools for this: packing organizers. They keep everything where it should be, separating clean from dirty and keeping formal attire wrinkle free. Have you tried compression yet? You really need to. By compressing your clothing you will find you'll be able to fit more in your bag overall. Consider packing cubes, compression sacs, and folders when arranging your luggage. They all compress and help your clothes in their place. Another suggestion: pack smart by bring clothing you can layer and wear more than once (that serve more than one purpose). This will ultimately save you space while maximizing your travel wardrobe.
Step 3: Pack Your Toiletry Bag
It can be challenging to keep your toiletry bag TSA-compliant because of the extensive list of regulations these days. Reference TSA's 3-1-1 rule to make it easy to remember. Here are some toiletry basics to get you started:
¿ Toothbrush and toothpaste
¿ Brush or comb
¿ Hair accessories
¿ Contacts or glasses
Step 4: Prepare Your Personal Item Carry-On Bag
It helps to have your carry-on organized with everything you need at arm's reach. You'll want to make sure you pack a change of clothes and some basic toiletry items in case your luggage gets lost (trust me, it happens!). If your trip includes multiple destinations, you'll want to pack some entertainment and comfort items, too. Just remember: you have to carry it, so make sure it's light enough!
Step 5: Collect Important Travel Documents, Cash and Credit Cards
Organize your travel documents, money, and other identification so it's easy to find these items on demand. Try a travel organizer. It's made for exactly this type of thing. Your list of what to bring will vary based on whether you're traveling internationally or domestically, but identification, cash, credit cards, frequent flyer info, health insurance information, extra copies of your itinerary, and your passport are an excellent place to start.
Step 6: Consider Travel Security
You should always err on the side of caution when traveling, especially in unfamiliar places. Be aware of pickpockets and other types of theft. It's easier to keep important items hidden with things like money belts or neck wallets. RFID blocking bags and pouches are another way to add extra layers of security for your personal identity and safety. But don't just think about securing your stuff, think about your personal safety as well. If you plan to walk at night, bring reflective clothing or headlamp. These simple tools can be life-saving.
Step 7: Prepare Your Home
Often we forget to take the necessary precautions (probably because we're just too excited) to secure our homes while we're away. Stop your mail, board your pets, pre-pay your bills, turn off appliances, lock your doors, and leave your itinerary with a trusted relative or neighbor.
Vacations are meant to be fun, so make sure you don't have to spend any time worrying about logistics, or how you left things at home. Make a list of the things you need to do, and the things you need to pack, before you leave and you'll have a lot less stress. Find a more comprehensive packing checklist here.