Whether you start way ahead of time or wait until the last minute, packing for a trip is nerve-wracking.
Do I have enough shoes? Do I have the right kind of shoes? It’s even harder if you’re crossing seasons and need cool- and warm-weather gear.
Fresh from preparing for a long trip, here are 10 tips I’ve learned over the years to help make packing easier:
1) Place everything you think you want to take on a flat surface, such as a bed, so you can see it all together. (See photo above.) You’ll see what matches and what doesn’t, and if you have too many items.
2) Mix and match clothing so items can be used interchangeably. You may find you pack fewer items. Pack fast-drying fabrics, such as silk or spandex, which can be washed in a sink.
3) Think layers, especially if you’re going to be in a place where the temperature will vary widely.
4) Roll your clothes. It seems to take up less space and avoids wrinkles. It’s also easier to see what’s packed. I still tend to put stiffer or dressier items, such as a blazer or blouse, in the flat, zipper compartment. You also can place folded items on top of the rolled items.
5) Put your shoes in separate plastic or cloth bags to protect your other items. I also stuff my shoes with socks or other small items.
6) Invest in a good dopp kit, or travel toiletry bag, which can hang and has different compartments.
7) Downsize your toiletries into mini bottles that you buy or reuse, such as prescription pill bottles. I do that for facial wash, shampoo, conditioner, pills and vitamins.
8) Put anything that may leak and make a mess, such as sunscreen or medicine, into small zip-close bags before packing.9) If you’re taking a bathing suit, pack an extra plastic bag for it. You may have to pack it wet on your return flight. That bag may come in handy for other uses, too.
10) If you plan on buying gifts on your trip, leave room in either your carry-on or checked bag. If that’s not possible, pack an extra, light-weight bag to carry on the plane.