When it comes to packing for a vacation one must keep one word in mind: moderation. Everyone wants to pack clothing, cosmetics and shoes that they think they might use, but it’s best to ask yourself: will I really wear this or will I really need this? For my trip to Paris last summer I made sure I was only taking the necessities. For example, a girl cannot wear high heels in Paris with all of the cobblestone streets.
The type of luggage you buy will also be an important factor. Steer away from designer brands like Louis Vuitton. Your luggage can get lost anywhere and it is important to not draw too much attention to yourself, especially if you are traveling abroad. I recommend Samsonite. Their luggage is reasonably priced (for nice luggage) and most items have four rolling wheels, instead of just two. Trust me, this makes walking through the airport, to the trains or to the taxis so much easier!
Stick to simple, efficient luggage
As stated earlier, the most efficient luggage is the best bet. Now girls, this means sacrificing style for necessity. I know it sounds scary, but trust me, it will save you so much trouble. The more compartments in your luggage, the better! You will need separate compartments for your undergarments and cosmetics.
The Best Carry-On
Your carry-on should be large enough to store overhead or under your seat, which means only the necessities are needed. The best type of carry-on to bring is a backpack. This will help you later on when you are walking around the city of your destination. My carry-on normally includes:
- Airline tickets, passport and/or valid ID
- Wallet (always carry some extra cash in both your country's currency and your destination country's currency)
- A planner or journal
- IPod and/or cell-phone
- Plenty of reading material
- A light jacket or sweater (Planes are always freezing)
- A neck pillow (Those airline pillows just don’t do it!)
- Chap stick and gum (These always come in handy!)
- Medicine and/or prescriptions (Don’t forget a copy of your prescription if you are traveling abroad)
Pack cosmetics in checked baggage
With new TSA regulations, any liquid exceeding three ounces must be in checked baggage, which literally means almost all of your cosmetics! Don’t forget sunscreen. No matter what your destination, sunscreen is always a necessity! A good toiletry bag is key, preferably one that hangs. Utilize the approved three-ounce bottles that you can put your shampoo, conditioner and body wash in. Everyone made fun of me when I took the three ounce bottles to Paris, but the girls were not laughing when they needed to borrow my conditioner. Who thought conditioner would be so hard to find in Paris?
Depending on your destination, clothing items can be very tricky. Paris in the summer was hot during the day and chilly at night, so I had to pack both cool, breezy outfits and sweaters and jeans for the evening. Two pairs of pajamas is all that is necessary. Say this to yourself: almost anywhere I go will have an accessible washer and dryer. Don’t over pack because you are scared that your clothing will get dirty. Your clothing will get dirty and it is easy to wash! Don't forget your swimsuit, girls.
Again, shoes depend on your destination just as clothing does. I didn’t need high heels in Paris, which was okay with me since I can barely walk in them anyhow! A pair of sneakers and sandals is usually appropriate for a variety of destinations. Don’t forget socks! Your feet will get sore without them from all of the walking you will be doing.
Don’t bring it if it is real! The last thing you need is to lose a gold necklace or a pair of pearl earrings that will never be retrieved.
- I put my purse in my backpack. That way I have it when I want to go out in whichever city I am traveling to, but it is not necessary to bring both a purse and a carry-on separately. Combining them will help you save space and prevent you from carrying around multiple bags.
- Leave room for the inevitable shopping done during your trip. Once you arrive at your vacation spot you will want to buy all sorts of souvenirs and clothing items. You have to factor in what you will buy at your destination because your luggage will always come back a few pounds heavier than when you left.
- A pocketknife will always come in handy, whether you need to open a bottle of wine or cut a loose string off of a blouse!
- Finally, for you over-packers there is still hope! My friends, notorious over-packers, swear by vacuum-sealed bags. These will help you save space and are so easy to use.