|Philipsburg, St. Maarten|
You wait in anticipation for your vacation, crossing the days off on your calendar until finally the day comes and you get to escape your regular life for vacation. But are you totally prepared? When did you pack your suitcase? Was it the night before? The day of or worse yet, hours before you left? I have been guilty of waiting until the last possible second to pack and inevitably, I will have forgotten at least one important item. Every time I plan a trip I promise myself I won’t do it again, but there’s always something I forget. Here’s are a few suggestions for packing for your next trip:
1. Leave those items associated with travel inside your suitcase. This can include your luggage locks, travel cubes, TSA bags, laundry and shoe bags, etc.
2. For other travel related items, store them in one place together in your home. For example, we have things like binoculars, snorkeling equipment, water shoes, bags, towels, and others all stored in one place so when we have to get to them, we aren’t pulling everything apart to find them.
3. We put sunscreen, travel size refillable bottles for shampoo/conditioner, and sample sizes of lotion, etc. in a small bin so we can grab and go as needed. I have long hair and go through one of those hotel bottles of conditioner in one day so I bring my own supply and I know I won’t be upset about how my hair looks on vacation.
4. Store your bathing suits, shorts, and sandals in one place in your closet and in your home so you don’t have to go on a scavenger hunt looking for these items. This would be true if you vacation somewhere warm, but the same is true if you travel frequently on vacation to cooler climates. Put all your winter wear and gear in one place and leave it there for easy access later.
5. If you are checking a suitcase when you fly, make sure to pack anything of great importance in your carry on bag. I always pack my computer, iPad, camera(s), medication, makeup (not parting with that for any reason!), toothbrush/toothpaste, contacts, glasses, and a change of clothes in my carry on bag. If I should get separated from my checked luggage, I at least have enough in my carry on bag to sustain me until I can be reunited with the bag.
6. The week of my trip, I start to think about what I’ll need and start grabbing a few items every time I go into my closet and set those things aside. Within a day or two, I have enough things to put into a packing cube inside my suitcase. For me at least, when I take the suitcase out and pack all at once I always forget something.
7. Make a list on your iPhone, computer, iPad, or even on paper of those things that you MUST pack. I have forgotten at least once my glasses, contacts, makeup, shoes — you name it. Now I run through that short list before I leave the house so I don’t forget the important things.
8. For anything not on the short list, don’t stress about it. If you forget sunscreen, a toothbrush, socks, etc. you can buy them at your final destination. By letting go of getting angry that you forgot something early on into your vacation, you are guaranteed to start your vacation off on a positive note and ultimately have a better vacation.
9. If you can’t stand the thought of dealing with your luggage in the airport, send it ahead via FedEx. Yes, you can do that! It’ll cost you, but it’s not like the airlines aren’t charging us to fly with our bags. Send it out a day or two before your trip and it will be waiting for you at your final destination. Meanwhile, you’ll be free to travel with no heavy bags and no fighting for space in those tiny overhead bins.
This may seem like extra work especially for anyone who wants to consider themselves a carefree and impulsive traveler, but a little work ahead of time will result in less stress before and during your trip. Once I get to my destination, whether it is a cruise, a resort, or a hotel, I can take a deep breath and relax knowing that all my preparation beforehand was done for this exact moment.