How to pack for your travel destination.
Penny’s Packing Essentials
1. Wet Wipes – Great for clean ups, but also for spot cleaning clothes. If I am stuck at the airport, it is amazing how much better I feel with a quick freshen up.
2. Bottle of Water – Heaven’s Gift. Not only does it keep me hydrated but I can refill my bottle from the tap for free.
3. Protein Bars – Great for snacks or a meal replacement.
4. A Smile – It is amazing how many great opportunities can arise if I remain positive – and smile!
BLISTERS, BREAKOUTS and BROKEN HEELS
What was I thinking when I packed for my first trip to Hawaii some years ago?
I remember a bag so full I could hardly zip it up; 4 pairs of very high heels, enough make-up to stock a drug store, and jersey/lycra clothing which stuck to every part of my body. I was going to make a “fashionable” entrance at every opportunity!
Well in reality, I spent the entire trip sweating like crazy in tight clothing, the make-up slid off my face and try walking in the jungle in stilettos!
Yes, we all make mistakes when it comes to packing for a vacation and thankfully, I have learnt a few tips since that first trip.
It is not hard to look stylish , yet feel comfortable. Be creative with the addition of scarves, belts and costume jewellery and build in flexibility. A travel wardrobe of layers is the key to coping with extremes in weather.
I have put together 6 simple solutions to take the stress out of packing for your next vacation.
PACKING FOR YOUR TRAVEL DESTINATION
1. KNOW YOUR DESTINATION
By checking weather reports online and travel blogs, you will have a better idea of the type of clothing needed. Just do a search for the city or country you are visiting. For example “What to wear in Seattle in July” or “What to pack for Disneyland”. These sites are also great for providing advice on appropriate dress for South East Asia or the Middle East. I will never forget my embarrassment at being asked to leave a Greek Monastery, because I was wearing the wrong clothes! (Long pants are a definite no-no)
2. CONTACT YOUR ACCOMMODATION
Check the website or contact your host and ask about the supply of a hairdryer/iron/laundry/baby cot/beach towels etc. Most child friendly accommodations will offer the hire of sporting gear (tennis racquets, surf boards, beach mats and even buckets and spades for excursions to the beach)
3. ORGANISE YOUR PACKING LIST EARLY
Being organised and having a checklist will lower your stress levels when it comes to packing. Checklists are readily available on the internet by doing a search for “packing for a cruise/hike/beach holiday” and print 2 copies. Lay all your clothes out on a spare bed and 2 days before departure, tick the items off before you put them into your luggage. Keep a copy of your packing list for future reference, as you can add or delete items.
4. USE ZIPLOC/PLASTIC BAGS
These are available in various sizes at your local grocery store. Organise each bag with a set of clothes you would wear for a particular outing, such as SWIMMING, DINNER, HIKING etc. Mark the bag with a permanent marker. You will then be unlikely to forget an important item of clothing, if you have to consider what you wear on a particular outing. I will always remember packing a wonderful little black- lace dress but forgot to pack the slip which went with it!
Zip bags also keep your clothing clean, dry and help with clothing organisation and selection. If you are on a tour where you are unpacking every night, try to get into the habit of repacking your bag in the same order and put the items most regularly used on the top or on the sides of your luggage for easy access. Also, consider lining your luggage /backpack with a large garbage bag, as there is nothing worse than being caught in a downpour and unpacking wet clothing.
Medications can also be stored and marked in these bags. Mark the bags according to your body part. i.e., STOMACH. This will make locating medications in the middle of the night much easier, especially if a tummy bug pays you a visit.
Pack a few extra plastic bags to store damp clothing, or your purchases for your trip home. I also put a lavender clothing sachet inside each bag to keep my clothes smelling fresh.
Organising your clothing in this way will also make it easier if your are ‘spot checked’ at customs.
5. TAKE COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR
Whether you are taking the family to Disneyland or shopping in Paris, you are unlikely to enjoy your experience with blisters on your feet. Select comfortable shoes you have worn at least a few times and pack them in a recycled grocery bag. Add a perfume sachet as most shoes do smell! Also, pack a pair of inexpensive, light flip flops/slides/thongs. These are invaluable for trips to the pool or hotel lobby.
6. DECANT YOUR LIQUIDS
Transfer your regular sized toiletries into small plastic travel bottles, or purchase travel packs when they are on sale. Check that the lids fit securely on your shampoo and conditioner bottles and put them in a Ziploc bag. Expensive face creams can also be transferred into small, plastic salad dressing containers. Make sure you label each bottle – you don’t want to mistake the hair remover for your eye cream!
You may still be reversing out of the driveway with a distinct feeling that you have forgotten something important but with a little organisation and practice it will not happen as much each time you travel. Unless you are traveling to the jungles of Borneo, there is always a good chance that you can pop into a store at your final destination and grab that essential item you left on the kitchen bench.
I don’t think I have ever returned from a vacation wishing my bag had been heavier, so remember, less is best.