Whether you use a small, medium, or large piece of luggage (or all three) when you travel for the holidays, there are some necessities you’ll always want to have on hand, and we’ve compiled a list to help you remember everything. We’ve also consulted with some travel experts to get you the most practical, useful packing tips to maximize the space inside your suitcase and get the most out of your holiday vacation. Grab a pen and your travel checklist journal, and let’s get started.
Let’s begin with some practical family holiday packing tips. There are several ways to pack your suitcase, but rolling your clothes is one sure fire way to get more in your bag than stacking them. Stacks of clothing take up more room no matter how flat you fold each item. Rolling your clothing compresses clothing items more and actually helps fight wrinkles. To add an extra layer of sturdiness to your suitcase, place shoes along the edges, soles facing outward, to avoid soiling your clothes. If you’re bringing a suit or not-so-crushable dress, lay that flat on top of everything else once your suitcase is packed.
Use containers to organize. Save time searching through your suitcase by grouping things together and packing in containers or packing cubes to keep things organized. Use the inside of your shoes to pack socks and wrap any breakable items inside those socks before placing them in your shoes. Use a travel pill case to bring only the medication you need for your trip and avoid packing partially full pill bottles. Pick up a second pill container for a great way to pack earrings, rings, and other small jewelry items. You’ll never have to dig through your entire suitcase just to find an earring back again! For larger jewelry, ear buds, and phone chargers, pick up a few mini travel cases.
Pick up some vacuum bags to save space. Vacuum bags (aka “space bags”) are a great way to gain up to 80% more space inside your luggage when you travel, especially when you use them for bulky items such as sweaters or jackets. These bags are also a smart way to pack any dirty clothes for the trip home.
When packing toiletries, use travel sized rather than full sized jars, tubes, and bottles. If you’re staying in a hotel and don’t mind trying a new shampoo or toothpaste, leave those items at home and take advantage of the free travel sized containers the hotel provides for guests. If you have need of an item and don’t see it, call the front desk and ask if they have a complimentary one. When packing toiletries for your trip, protect your shower gel and shampoo bottles from spills by removing lids, putting a piece of plastic wrap over the openings, and then replacing the lids. This adds an extra layer of protection for your clothing if the lids should become loose.
Only bring what you really need. If you’re going on vacation to the beach, there’s really no need to pack beach toys, sunscreen, flip flops, or visors. You can purchase those type of items at your destination very inexpensively, and it will leave more room in your luggage to bring back a few souvenirs from your travel.
Identify your luggage. Does your black suitcase look like every other black suitcase out there? Consider adding a neon luggage tag, personalized luggage strap, or colorful bandana tied to the handle to help locate your bag quickly, and avoid the risk of grabbing the wrong suitcase from the baggage claim carousel.