Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to pack light for a vacation

Packing light for a vacation means different things to different people. Taking a road trip with children requires more items. From dealing with the TSA to checked baggage fees, flying brings on its own challenges. Airline customers can have an easier time navigating lightweight bags through airports than heavier ones. Students and backpackers have to pack light for a vacation because of size limitations.

The good news is that you don't have to be overwhelmed. No matter what your destination or circumstance, these tips can help you pack light for a vacation.

Not an example of packing light.
Make a list
And check it twice. This will help you eliminate unnecessary items and pack light for your vacation.

Toiletries
Pack medications first and then everything else comes second. Does your family of four really need four bottles of shampoo? Take a small bottle or sample sizes. The same goes for body wash, lotion or other personal items. Follow the TSA rules when flying and plan similarly for road trips.

Choose wisely

Small things make a big difference. I wanted my family to pack light for a vacation years ago. A rule of one suitcase each worked out great but the small stuff bogged us down quickly. Each person wanted to bring their own laptop, cell phone, MP3 player, camera bags and other items. This meant extra chargers, electric cords and bags.

Fortunately, we weren't flying or on a time crunch. I stood over each person until they decided what they could live without. This wasn't a scene for the airport. Sorting took awhile but learning how to pack light for a vacation reduced our load and freed up space in the car.

Snacks
TSA regulations limit what you can take behind airport security lines. Buy food inside the airport. If you're
on a road trip, then do bring snacks in limited quantities. Pack light for a vacation by planning to use rest area vending machines and convenience centers.

Clothes
A seven day vacation doesn't require a week's worth of clothes. You may be doing laundry anyway so pack light by planning outfits in advance and bringing only a few of them. Choose gel-pack detergent instead of a bottle and throw a few dryer sheets into a zip style bag.

Other tipsPack the lightweight shoes and wear the heavy ones.
Nix the umbrellas in favor of disposable rain ponchos.
Use a small first-aid kit instead of a box.

Unless you are traveling to an extreme location, there will be stores at your destination. You can buy almost anything that you need as you travel.

There is one last tip to pack light for a vacation that I want to leave with you. Don't lug around a bunch of souvenirs. If your travel is domestic, then ship the items home.