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Going on a trip? Here's how to pack

Published On: Apr 11 2012 02:47:43 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 26 2013 10:56:26 AM CDT
Suitcase, luggage, travel, packing

jenny w./SXC

Packing Techniques

  • Some people like to pack all their clothes in baggies. Theory: helps prevent wrinkles, and it’s easy to see what goes together -- for example, maybe you pack each outfit for a 4-day trip in four separate bags.
  • "Rolling." Theory: also helps prevent wrinkles. You have to be a careful roller, though, or you’ll end up with lots of funny creases. Also keep in mind the return trip -- you’ll have more stuff, so you want to allow a little bit of space for the new stuff.
  • A little bit everywhere: Works best for families. If there are at least two of you, it’s a good idea to pack a little of everyone’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 get lost, Mom would still have a back-up somewhere.

Handy Items To Stick In Your Suitcase

  • Duct tape -- It can fix a broken suitcase zipper, tape a shampoo bottle shut so it doesn’t leak, mark your luggage, serve as a temporary clothesline in your hotel bathroom, and tons more uses.
  • Plastic Ziplock bags -- Keeps toiletries from leaking all over, separates wet swimsuits, divides a box of cookies for an afternoon at the beach, packs exceptionally dirty clothing, holds ice for injuries or insect bites, etc.
  • First-Aid Kit -- Essentials: Pain reliever (enough for more than one dose), sunscreen, insect repellant, tweezers, blunt-nosed scissors, adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment.

Other General Packing Tips

  • The carry-on back-up -- For those long trips when you have to check luggage, pack your carry-on like an overnight bag. Bring your swimsuit, toothbrush, extra underwear and a change of clothes. If you do this, you’ll have all the stuff you need to enjoy your vacation for at least the first few hours before your checked bag shows up.
  • Put out all the clothes you think you’d like to bring on your trip. Put half back in your closet.
  • Two theories on jeans: if you’re going for a lighter suitcase, skip them. If you think you can wear them everywhere on your vacation, bring them along. If you’re going to a European country or an Asian country, skip them. Jeans take up a lot of room in your suitcase and aren't as versatile as a pair of cotton-blend chinos. Also, people in Europe don't wear jeans as often as Americans, so if you don't want your wardrobe to scream "American," it's best to avoid the stereotypical jeans, white Nikes, and logoed sweatshirts when touring.
  • The logical ones -- Stuff your socks and underwear in your shoes, skip the bulky sweaters and think layers instead, bring clothes that easily mix and match.
  • One travel agent has a great shoe trick that works best if you have various shoe sizes -- put shoes inside of shoes.
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