Packing for a vacation can be really stressful – it’s sometimes hard to gauge what you’ll need or whether you’re over or under packing! But it doesn’t have to be. With a few questions, I’ll help you build a list that will minimize the chance of you leaving something important at home.
Just make sure you make a fairly comprehensive list so you don’t leave anything behind!
Where Are You Going and What Season is It?
This is the very first thing you should consider when you’re choosing what to pack. If you’re going to Hawaii in July, you’ll pack different clothing than Alaska in July. Or Greece in July. Make sure you’re packing seasonal attire such as coats/gloves/hats if it’s going to be cold, or shorts and tank tops for warmer weather.
This counts for shoes as well! Sandals when it’s cold are no fun, but snowboots won’t help in the summer.
On this note, check both the weather prediction for your trip and the time of year climate for your trip. Do you need a raincoat? An umbrella? Anti-humidity hair spray? Florida is hot and humid, but it rains almost every day.
What Are You Going to Do?
Make sure you’re packing for your planned activities. If you want to go out to dinner, clubbing, shopping, or similar, make sure you pack appropriate clothing. If you’re going to do something active like hiking, rock climbing, or even just going to the gym, pack accordingly. Swimsuits may be appropriate for your trip, or you may need snow gear.
If you’re not sure, focus on packing for the weather and pack a range of items that are versatile. Some vacations don’t have a lot of planning other than “let’s hang out here” so you don’t know if you’ll need nicer clothes or just comfortable outfits.
What Kind Of Space Do I Have?
Space is a serious consideration, particularly if you’re flying to wherever you’re going. Most checked bags have a size and weight limit, and your carry ons have an even lower limit. Even in a smaller car, a family of four in a sedan can be packed tightly if they’re going to be gone for a while.
Not only is travel space an issue, hotels, Airbnb’s, resorts, and any other lodgings can have limits on space. A whole house won’t have a ton of space limitations, but a hotel room could get cramped, particularly with lots of people.
What Do I Usually Wear?
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they go on vacation is that they assume that their normal tastes will change radically while they’re in a different place. If you don’t usually wear a lot of jewelry, you don’t need more than your basics. If you rarely wear makeup and don’t plan on going anywhere – is there any way to downsize the makeup you’re bringing?
In almost every situation, if you didn’t bring something you need, you’ll be able to find a replacement at your vacation site (with some notable exceptions including wedding rings or custom items). It may be more expensive, but it may be less expensive than overpacking! Many airlines overweight baggage fees are upwards of $200.
This year when you go on vacation, I hope that this will help you make a packing list that will make your trip a breeze. What do you always need to bring with you when you travel? Let me know in the comments!