5 Things Not to Do When Packing for Vacation

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Avoid these packing mistakes to make your trip easier.

1.      Over packing

There’s no need to pack for every situation when you travel. To avoid over-packing, pre-plan outfits, don’t give yourself a choice as to what to wear each day, and stick to a basic color palette where everything works with everything else. Try sticking to the general rules of three tops for every bottom, and if you wear your basics—jeans, sweaters, shorts—a few times on the same trip, no one will notice. Also, think about what clothing can be layered, such as tank tops and long sleeve shirts to help your wardrobe adapt to changing weather. For more ways to avoid over-packing, use a packing checklist.

2.      Packing at the last minute

In the days, weeks, or even months leading up to your trip do your Future Self a favor and make a list. There are list apps that allow you to add things as you think of them, and then tick them off as they’ve been packed. And you can then save and reuse them for future trips. But it really doesn’t matter if you use your smart phone or a scrap of paper, making a list will not only make packing day so much easier, it will stop those ‘I really must remember to pack my phone charger’ thoughts doing laps in your head.

3.      Improperly wrapping containers of liquid

As an airplane takes off and lands, altitude and air pressure changes at a rapid clip. That variance in pressure makes the air in your bottle of sunblock or lotion expand and contract, too, which can lead to a major mess. Don’t let a leaking bottle of shampoo ruin your vacation (and your cashmere sweater). Plan ahead by making sure your liquids, whether in carry-on or checked luggage, are tucked into zip-top bags, wrapped in plastic, or otherwise kept separate from your clothes.

4.      Rolling all your clothes

Yes, rolling will save space by expelling the excess air, which means you can fit more into your case. But there are times when you should roll with it, and times when you should go old school and just neatly fold. A good rule of thumb is to roll those things that don’t usually need ironing, and fold those that do. If you put those neatly folded items into your trusty packing cell they won’t get all crumpled as you search through your case.  Don’t forget smaller rolled up items can go into your shoes to save space and help them keep their shape. Shoes that are then placed in a nice shoe bag or even a plastic bag to keep everything nice and clean.

5.      Going free range

Remembering everything on your list is one thing, but when it’s time to put said items into a suitcase, life will be better if you get a bit organized. If you haven’t discovered packing cells already, the time has come. These clever packing solutions allow you to put different kinds of clothes into different cells, so you’re not digging around in your suitcase, flinging clothes on the floor as you try to figure out where on earth your favorite top has disappeared to.

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