Vacation Packing Tips for the Rusty

focus woman packing suitcase on bed

Last weekend I blew the dust off my suitcase for a two-night getaway in Washington DC to celebrate my daughter’s law school graduation.  It was our first trip anywhere since last fall and I admit it took me longer than usual to pack. I love traveling but I’m not so keen on packing.  Over the years I’ve developed several strategies to make this necessary chore less stressful.  Here are some of my favorite vacation packing hacks: 

  • Lay out clothing a couple of days in advance. I find the most time-consuming part of packing is deciding what to wear. I plan my outfits several days in advance, including all accessories.  This gives me time to do laundry and purchase something I may need.
  • Purchase a luggage rack  Sometimes it’s the simple things that make a chore like packing a little easier. The luggage rack saves my back and preserves my bedspread from any schmutz from my suitcase. Get yours here!
  • Create a personalized digital packing list. My digital packing list has saved me hours of packing time and ensures I never forget anything. It doesn’t have to be digital but if you create one in an app such as Notes or Evernote it’s preserved in the cloud and readily accessible. Mine has a check box next to each item. I digitally check the item once packed, then uncheck each item for my next trip.  Create several packing lists if you are packing for other family members and for different kinds of trips.
  • Purchase toiletry bags to suit your needs.  Many of us settle for toiletry bags that come with a cosmetic purchase.  Several years ago, I decided to revamp my travel toiletry bags and never looked back. I purchased several clear vinyl cases like these. I divided my toiletries into categories such as hair, skincare, makeup, and dental.  Each category has its own small case. The clear vinyl makes the contents visible without emptying the entire bag. Dividing the items into categories also makes packing easier as I can stuff the small cases into empty areas around my suitcase.
  • Create a travel container for all travel supplies.  Depending on how much you travel, purchase one or two clear containers (such as these clear shoe boxes) to store all your travel supplies. This is where you keep travel-sized items such as toothpaste and small bottles of shampoo. These containers do not travel with you. They are your permanent at-home repository for all things travel-related. I also keep foreign currency and travel adapters in our container. There’s nothing worse than frantically searching for some travel-specific item that you haven’t seen since your last trip. Corralling all your travel items into one or two containers eliminates huge amounts of travel-packing stress.
  • Pack clothes on hangers. This trick is a huge time-saver when arriving at your destination and makes it possible to unpack a suitcase in minutes with less wrinkled clothes. It also eliminates the need to ‘live out of your suitcase’ even for a couple of nights.

Wherever your plans take you this summer, have a wonderful trip and happy packing!

Janet Bernstein