Packing for vacation can be stressful, time-consuming, and particularly challenging if you're planning to visit a new-to-you destination; however, regardless of where you're heading on your next adventure, there are some items than can stay behind.
Here's our list:
As the resident bookworm in our household, selecting books to take with me on vacation was always a challenge. Being a particularly quick reader also means that, depending on the vacation style, I can breeze through 3-5 books so a heavy carry-on was part of my travel experience...but not anymore! With my Nook, I can load up many, many reading selections and even enjoy the flexibility of truly reading of what I am in the mood for during the trip. I still will occasionally pack one paperback for the pool or beach. but I am becoming less and less interested in doing so. Leave those print books behind and use that valuable space and weight for other necessary items.
You want to look good while traipsing the world - I get it. But do yourself a favor and coordinate those outfits so you can mix and match items easily to create new looks for any situation. There is a reason why this tip makes so many lists - it is a GOOD one! Don't pack an outfit for every day you will be traveling - pack a few looks and you will be set. Check out this link for inspiration and get shopping!
While we're on the topic of clothing, as much as I love denim, its presence in your luggage needs to be minimal. Yes, it travels well and wears well, but it is heavy and takes up a great deal of space. Pick out one or two items that you know you will get good use from, and pack lighter pants, dresses, or skirts.
People grossly overestimate the amount of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, etc. they will need while traveling. The average travel size shampoo will last approximately three weeks, conditioner six weeks, and deodorant two-four weeks. I am particular to my brands, but braver travelers will make do with whatever is provided by their resort, hotel, or cruise line. One area I don't scrimp is toothpaste - I always pack a regular size tube because those little ones are really, really little. Full-size toiletries have no business going on vacation with you. Leave them in your bathroom, along with your makeup bag. I have plenty of makeup items that I don't use on a regular basis, and I am sure you do too...take a smaller makeup bag and only include what you need.
I always travel with my hair straightener, but I rarely take my hair dryer since most places will provide those. If you're going overseas, you really need to make sure these items won't short the electricity in your little Italian hotel, for example. as you get ready for a romantic dinner out. I have a special travel straightening iron for Europe but always leave my hair dryer in the States so I won't be the American that sends the building into darkness.
If you're a business traveler, we get it - you need your STUFF. If you're traveling for pleasure, why are you bringing along every electronic device you own? It's nice to unplug for awhile and just enjoy the world around you. Even as someone who posts photos and videos while away because of my job, I don't buy internet packages on cruise ships, and I only take my phone and Nook with me for vacations. Ahhh, it is sooooo nice.
Fancy jewelry makes you a target when traveling. If you insist on taking a couple of pieces with you, never pack them in your checked bags and always lock them in your hotel safe. Don't wear items when sightseeing or partaking in excursions.
I am mostly talking to the ladies here - think about footwear, and take minimal pairs of shoes. Your shoes should match your destination and the experiences you plan to have. All-inclusive resort? Sandals that work for the pool and sandals that work with your dinner clothing. (Sometimes one pair does the trick here.) Maybe an extra pair of something like a sports shoe if you plan on active excursions. Cruising? Same guidelines as an all-inclusive stay. Europe tour? Something comfortable that is NOT a tennis shoe - nothing screams "American tourist" like a fitness sneaker. Try cute flats or cute sneakers. Don't take uncomfortable shoes and break all shoes in before departure. If a shoe is uncomfortable at home, it will be much worse after hoofing it over cobblestones all day. I really liked my Toms for Europe - so comfortable and took up very little space and weight in my bag.
Your luggage can become overwhelmed with "just in case" or "what if" items. There are many scenarios you could encounter while traveling, and you can't plan for all of them. Be smart, and have good judgment when packing that bag. This is coming from the girl who spent 12 days in Austria and Italy at the very end of May with the countries experiencing VERY uncharacteristic cold weather that was NOT in the forecast. It was VERY close to freezing. We managed.
What items did we miss on our list? We'd love to hear from you!