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How to Pack Less for Your Next Family Vacation and Still Have Everything You Need

Is your luggage weighing you and your family down? If you are like most people, you might tend to pack more than you need when you go on vacation. Your children will likely want to plenty of toys, and it’s tough to separate yourself from all the clothing options you have at home. However, bringing too much stuff with you when you travel can really slow down your family vacation.

Overstuffed luggage often results in expensive airline baggage fees, and it can be hard to lug a heavy bag from place to place, especially if you will be using public transport or multiple forms of transportation to get around. Packing more than you need can also make it difficult to find the things you want and dragging around a hefty suitcase can make you a target for pickpockets and thieves, who are just looking for distracted tourists.

Whether you are planning a family trip to the beaches of Barbados or on a Disney cruise ship, with a bit of forethought and planning, you can travel light on your next vacation and still have everything you need. Continue reading below to find some packing and organization tips you might find useful when you are deciding what to bring with you and what to leave at home.

Make a Packing List First

Before you even get your suitcase out of the closet, sit down and make a list of everything you think you will need. Consider the activities you will be doing on your vacation and the clothing required for each of them. For example, if you will be attending a wedding or formal dinner, you will need a cocktail dress or suit. If you’re on a cruise with your children, you need one or two bathing suit options and swim shoes. Be sure to include items like shoes, jewelry and accessories, and toiletry items on your list.  

To avoid adding too many things to your list, try to think of what you would wear if you were doing these same activities at home and resist the temptation to add extra items to your list just because you will be traveling. Furthermore, consider the items that will be available at your location. For instance, instead of packing your children’s swim goggles, find out if the vacation destination in question provides these items. 

Pack Clothing, Shoes, and Jewelry that Can Be Worn More than Once

When you have your list finalized, go back and think about items of clothing, shoes, and jewelry you can wear for more than one of the activities you are planning to do on your vacation. For example, a simple gold chain for men can be worn with just about any type of outfit. An elegant women’s white button-down shirt can be worn under a suit, with jeans or dress pants, or as a cover-up over a sundress or bathing suit. The same applies to children. Undershirts can go with a variety of clothing options, and staples. Such as khakis and jeans, which can be worn more than once. 

Limit yourself to packing just one or two pairs of shoes that can be worn both casually and with more formal outfits. Many designers make shoes that are both comfortable for walking and look great with many outfits.

Keep These Professional Packing Tips in Mind

Learning how to pack well takes practice—especially when it comes to children. You might have to do it a few times before you really become good at it. In the meantime, using the packing tips below when you are planning what to bring on your next trip can help you avoid bringing things you don’t need.

  • Smaller is better. The larger the suitcase you use, the more items you will pack. A smaller suitcase will not only help you weed out things you don’t really need. It will be easier to carry and store.
  • Consider doing laundry. If you are traveling for a week or more, plan on having some of the clothing you bring laundered at your hotel at a local Laundromat. Or you can do it yourself if you will staying in a rental home. 
  • Layout everything you plan to pack, and then do your best to reduce it before putting in your suitcase. Ask yourself whether each item can be worn with more than one outfit. If not, don’t pack it.

Don’t waste space. Rolling up your clothes or using packing cubes can mean the difference between needing a large suitcase or a small one. Packing cubes come in several sizes and can help keep you organized. They are also useful for organizing your clothing once you get to your destination.