A vacation of any kind is exciting and to ensure the excitement lasts as long as possible we even begin our packing early. Of course, there are steps to our packing and if you follow these vacation packing tips you will not start your vacation stress-free.
Vacation Packing Tips Step-by-Step
Step 1: Designate a spot in your house as the packing zone.
This zone can be set up for a month before your vacation. Again, it helps with maintaining the vacation excitement for more than the few days or week your vacation will last. We always use the futon in our office, and we put up a temporary folding table. Whenever we encounter something we will want/need on vacation, we put it in the packing zone. As we buy things for vacation, we add them to our packing zone.
Step 2: Organize items into packing categories.
Whatever categories you used for your packing list should be how you organize the piles for this step. We organize by category, and for clothes, we arranged by person. For instance, we will group by carry-on items, toiletries, Amelia clothes, Cassidy clothes, etc. If you are looking for a packing list to get your started, check out our Essential Walt Disney World packing list, even if you aren’t going to Disney World it’s a great starting list for a family vacation packing list. I also have the packing list as an excel document so you can edit it.
Step 3: Organize clothes into outfits.
This stage helps you to decide if you have enough or too many clothes. Depending on the time of year that you are going on your trip you may need more or fewer clothes.
Family vacation packing tips:
If you have children, for this stage you are going to need several gallon size Ziploc bags for each child you are bringing and quart size for infants. In each bag, put one complete outfit (socks, underwear or pull-up, pants/shorts, shirt/sweatshirt). Be sure to push all the excess air out of the bags, so they lay nice and flat. This will make it easy for you to count how many outfits you have for them and it will make it EASY for your children to pick out an outfit every day. We do the same thing for pajamas and always pack a couple of pair of pajamas – you never know what late night ice cream treat may end up on the pajamas or when a very hydrated toddler may pee through a pull-up. We have done the Ziploc bag trick every single time we traveled with children and are so glad we did. The Ziploc bags can be reused throughout your trip or take them home and use them again.
For adults, we lay out our complete outfits to ensure we have enough for the number of days we are going to take into account the weather. We use packing cubes for our clothes and have been very happy with those as well.
Step 4: Start packing the suitcases
This stage will most likely begin a couple of days before you depart on your vacation. As we bring items to our packing zone, we cross them off on our packing list in pencil. Once they are placed in the suitcase, they are crossed off in pen. For our clothes, the best suitcase packing tip we ever found was to we roll our clothes, so they take up less room in our packing cubes.
Step 5: Shorten your master list
At this point, everything is packed except for items you absolutely cannot pack until the day you depart. This would include such things as bathroom items you need to use on the final morning, lovies that your children sleep with, the book you’ve been reading, and cell phones and chargers.
I rewrite these items on a piece of paper and put it on top of our suitcases. A final check of this list will be done before leaving.
Step 6: Weigh your suitcases
This step is specific to vacations that require air travel. Once you have everything packed, you MUST weigh your bags. That is unless you don’t mind paying an overage charge, and seriously who is okay with that charge? I speak from experience. On our honeymoon, we stood at the airport check-in and moved items from one suitcase that was overweight to another suitcase that was underweight. It was embarrassing and was a lesson learned early in our marriage.
We bought and used a portable luggage scale. It is easy to lift and weigh your luggage and fit nicely in your luggage to use again on your trip home. Since buying and using our luggage scale, we have never had a problem with the weight of our suitcases again.
You are packed and ready to go on your trip. So not only was packing less stressful, but you also got to enjoy the excitement of vacation for a few weeks before you even went. Enjoy your trip and be sure to use these vacation packing tips and tricks every time you travel.