Packing Tips from the Pros

With each new trip, I try to remove something I took on my last trip that I felt was unnecessary.  As a result, I've learned to pack creatively and with true purpose, as opposed to throwing 12 outfits to choose from in my suitcase for 4 days.  Here's some tricks and tips I've learned along the way:

1.  The hotel has 90% of the things you need. 

I cannot begin to re-iterate how many things the hotel provides that people still insist on cramming into their suitcase.  A hair dryer?  Shampoo/Conditioner? Body wash?  Those are all heavy, bulky things that take up valuable space where clothes or potential souvenirs should go.  Learn to live more in the moment and take advantage of the free products offered by hotels to save room and weight in your luggage. 

2.  Learn to plan ahead of time. 

It's not secret that I love a good spreadsheet.  Like I live for a Google doc people.  As a result, I have a daily schedule of what we will be doing and what we plan on seeing making it really easy to look through and pack for those activities.  (I may or may not note what outfit I'm wearing that day on said doc)  It's less about OCD and more about efficiency - I know I'll need a certain kind of outfit for a certain activity so this allows me to plan ahead of time and only pack exactly what I plan on wearing.

3.  Laundry is your friend.

This one is relatively new to us.  Laundry in hotels, especially higher end hotels, is ridiculously expensive, however, the laundromat or service across the street is not.  Sending laundry "out" is something a lot of other countries do and it's wonderful!  It gives you the opportunity to give to a local business and I've found that the clothes always come back cleaner than I thought possible.  Side note - I'm talking good ole fashioned laundry here.  Don't pack dry clean only clothes on vacation please. 

4. Know when the hold em, know when to fold em.

Don't put everything you're taking into one bag.  If your bag is lost, you are up a creek and in some parts of the world, there isn't an H&M on every block to the rescue.  I always pack at least one pair of undies, a shirt, and a skirt or pants in my purse/laptop bag/carry-on in case of emergencies.  This is also a way to distribute the weight across your bags to avoid fees and give your arms a break. :)

There you have it!  A few things to keep in mind when you're packing for your next vacation, wherever in the world that may be.