Mentally, I'm always ready for a summer vacation. So, in an effort to be on my way to paradise as soon as that out-of-office alert kicks into gear, I have a packing routine that's quick but doesn't involve simply throwing stuff in a bag.
Trust me, packing smartly is worth the extra effort. You can fit more in the suitcase, there's no drama about leaving things behind or losing them in messy bags and you won't waste any precious moments of your vacation trying to get organized.
Time for vacay? Here are some of my favorite packing tips:
Use packing cubes
Frequent travelers swear by packing cubes for a number of reasons. One, they make even the messiest of travelers masters of organizations in minutes. Use them to divide up your clothes by color, outfit or type of garment.
Another reason they're so fabulous: You can easily transfer packing cubes to dresser drawers when you get to your hotel or rental, avoiding the messy living-out-of-a-suitcase life. Finally, the genius inventions actually make it possible for you to get even more in your suitcase because it will be packed so well.
Make it all match
Be ruthless when it comes to packing outfits for your trip. For instance, only pack a pair of pants if you know you can wear them with multiple tops, shoes and accessories that you plan to pack. If it helps, go with a color scheme so all of your clothes are easily interchangeable.
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Stay fresh with dryer sheets
Jesse Ashlock, Executive Editor at Travel + Leisure, offers this genius packing tip: Put dryer sheets in between layers of clothes in your suitcase. That way, even after hours in the belly of the airplane, your clothes will still smell freshly laundered.
Pack a laundry bag
Throw in a plastic or reusable bag so you can keep your dirty laundry separate from the clean items. An extra bag always comes in handy for shopping or stashing wet bathing suits when it's time to leave.
Always bring the walking shoes
We all want to look trendy on vacation - but don't do it at the cost of your feet. Your explorations are bound to involve lots of walking, so be sure to pack sandals and sneakers that will keep your feet comfy and cool for hours on end.
Make your list and check it twice
Before you even put anything in your suitcase, write down a list of the items you know you want to pack. This includes clothes, toiletries and miscellaneous items, such as electronics and voltage adapters for international travel. Bonus points for making a separate list for the items that will go in your carry-on, such as your wallet, phone, tablet, book, headphones, gum and sunglasses.
Check off the items as they make their way into the bag, and double-check the list before you leave the house. Not sure where to start? Smarter Travel created an ultimate packing list to help you pack like a pro.
Get your home ready for your absence
Once your bags are all packed, don't forget to say the proper goodbyes to your abode. There are certain appliances you should (and shouldn't) turn off, plus some electrical and plumbing preparations you can make to ensure you aren't paying for unused energy. These preparations are especially important if you have a long vacation planned.
Depending on the timing of your trip, you may also want to complete all of your summer maintenance tasks before leaving. That way, you won't have to worry about any system issues or breakdowns while partaking in R&R elsewhere.
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