Packing for vacation can be intimidating whether you're going away for the weekend or on an extended trip. You find yourself constantly checking and double checking to make sure you have everything, squeezing in that last pair of shoes – only to find out your bag is over the airline weight limit. While packing is never going to be as enjoyable as your actual trip, here are some tips that will help ease the packing process:
- Use a checklist.
Ever get done packing and have that nagging feeling that you've forgotten something? You arrive at your destination and realize you've forgotten to pack socks. Reduce the risk of leaving something behind by having a go-to packing list that you can organize by your destination's climate. With a list you won't end up forgetting the necessities in the chaos of packing. Check out Travel Guard's handy packing list to get you started.
- Roll, don't fold.
Tightly roll your clothes when you're packing instead of folding them. They'll take up less space and will be less prone to wrinkling.
- Stick to neutrals.
Resist the impulse to pack an entirely different outfit for each day. Pack pieces you can mix and match throughout your trip - it helps to stick to neutral colors that can be paired with almost anything. Do this, and you'll likely be able to fit enough clothes for your vacation in just a carry-on.
- Buddy packing.
If you're traveling with a companion, consider packing half of each of your belongings in each other's bag. That way, if one of the bags were to end up lost you each still have half of your belongings. If your luggage does get lost, Travel Guard's 'round the clock assistance can work on your behalf to track lost luggage and get it back to you.
- Try packing aids.
Packing aids like compression bags can allow you to vacuum pack your clothes into tiny, tight bundles. If you're headed for a long trip or concerned about space this is one way to help. Other packing aids include packing envelopes and packing cubes.
- Know the rules.
Knowing the luggage size and weight requirements as well as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules before traveling will make your experience at the airport that much easier. You won't be left dispersing items from one suitcase to another in the middle of the airport to squeak in under the weight limit.
- Make copies.
Carry copies of important travel documents including passport, credit cards, driver’s license and your Travel Guard insurance policy, and pack the copies in your luggage. Also, leave a set of your copied travel documents with your travel agent or a relative. You can also scan your travel documents and store them in your web-based e-mail account along with emergency “lost card” telephone numbers. If your credit cards are lost or stolen, you will have to call the carrier collect if you are outside of the U.S. since toll-free telephone numbers are only useful inside the U.S. By scanning or making copies of your travel documents, you will have immediate access to all important information if it is lost or stolen. You can even e-mail the details page of your passport to an embassy or consulate when applying for a new one.
- Use unique tags.
Use unique luggage or luggage tags so you can easily see your bag coming on the baggage carousel rather than having to check every non-descript black bag that goes by. Another way to “mark” your bag is to write your last name on the handle of your luggage with a liquid ‘white-out’ pen.
- Resist packing full-size products.
Resist packing items such as full-size personal hygiene products or a flashlight. These items are usually available in travel-size and you will save space. You may also want to check the amenities provided by your hotel, many provide in-room personal hygiene products. An inexpensive LED penlight can light up a room or a hiking trail and easily slip into a carry-on bag.