Packing for your vacation

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation, packing your suitcase is a vital component of your preparation process. Knowing what items to bring, and how to fit them all into a suitcase can make or break a vacation.

Do you suffer from packa-phobia? Do you dread the process or fear you won’t have the right things on vacation? Take a look at these packing tips to help you decide what to keep in your bag and what to leave at home.

  1. Bring multi-use clothing that coordinates. If you don’t want to look the same all the time, bring clothing that will “go” with other items in your bag. Neutrals and dark colors work best.  Black is universal, not only will it stay looking clean, but it won’t show the wrinkles like lighter colors might.
  2. Wear the right shoes. Shoes tend to take up a lot of space in suitcases and bags, so choosing the right shoes is a very important decision. If you’re tight on space in your bag, don’t bring shoes that you can only use for one activity. Bring shoes that are casual and comfortable, but at the same time, a little bit dressy.
  3. Use accessories and jewelry to change the look of an outfit, or dress it up or down. It’s amazing what you can do with a belt or string of beads.
  4. Use your carry-on bag wisely. Be sure to pack the essentials in your carry-on to guard against a lost or delayed bag. Pack necessary documents, prescriptions, a change of clothes, toiletries, and other “can’t-live-without” items to be absolutely sure of their timely arrival. Children will need games, books, and other activities for their carry-on. Keeping a child busy on an airplane can be essential to beginning your vacation on a positive note, and toward the sanity of your fellow passengers.
  5. Spread it out. If there are at least two in your party, it’s a good idea to pack a little of each traveler’s stuff in every bag. For example, Mom shouldn’t put all her clothes in just Mom’s suitcase. She could put one outfit into her daughter’s bag and one into her husband’s bag. That way, if one bag were to become lost or stolen, Mom would still have a back up somewhere.
  6. Pack chronologically. If you know what you want to wear and when, packing your suitcase chronologically will keep your next days clothing easily accessible. When packing your bag, place the clothes you’re planning on wearing home first. Then pack your vacation backwards stacking the clothing on top of each other so that the items you plan on needing immediately upon arrival will be easily accessed on the top of your suitcase.
  7. Pack zip lock bags. They keep toiletries from leaking onto other items in your bag, separate wet swimsuits, divide a box of cookies for an afternoon at the beach, pack exceptionally dirty clothing, hold ice for injuries or insect bites, and about a million other uses.
  8. Pack extra luggage. Sure you can fit all of your items into your suitcase now, but how about after all the shopping and souvenir buying you’ll be doing? Bring along a collapsible bag so you can transport your newfound treasures.
  9. Shrink your toiletries kit. Get sample and travel sizes from your dentist or buy them from the drug store. If you’re staying in a hotel, use their complimentary products and hair dryer.
  10. And last BUT NOT LEAST, remember your camera!

(Image by ColetteTodd)

Also remember that empty space is wasted space. For example, shoes should never be packed empty. In other words, fill your shoes with smaller items such as socks, underwear, etc. And when packing shoes, wrap them in a plastic bag to insure dirty shoe bottoms won’t make your clean clothes dirty.

Good luck and happy packing!

Emily H
Delta Vacations

(Image by ColetteTodd)


  1. says

    I love the zip lock bag idea. Keeps things clean and dry not only in your suit cast but if you are heading to the beach/pool/lake or boat take a bag to keep your cell phone/camera or mp3 player dry too.
    I also bring two or three trash bags to put dirty clothes in so they dont dirty up any clean clothes left or the inside of your suit case when you are heading home.

  2. novascotia19 says

    Great tip on using zip lock bags. I use the large size for shampoos, soaps and small ones for cotton swabs, nail clippers, etc. They come in handy! Definitely bring extra trash bags as well for dirty laundry and trash. I recycle the supermarket plastic bags and use those.

    Unscented baby wipes are good to clean hands and sticky spills. They are fairly cheap and can be recycled after use.

    Before any trip, I would create an Excel document and type down anything I can think of, categorize them into different categories (meds, toiletries, things to unplug, etc.), and keep the document open on my work desktop, so I can update the list whenever I think of anything. In addition, I use colored symbols to indicate which ones I still need to purchase and which ones I need to pack prior to departure (toothbrush, etc.). This list is extremely handy and easy to use, my daughter (12) creates her own list too.

  3. says

    Great Travel Tips!! I learned the – fill the shoes – tip when I was packing my son to go off to college!! I told him before he called me when he couldn’t find something to go look in his shoes!! :0)
    Zip lock bags are a travelers helper!

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