Preparing for an upcoming vacation is fun—until you start packing. Thinking about everything you need gets overwhelming unless you plan your packing. There are several things to think about and consider, all of which streamline the packing process and ensure a perfect holiday wardrobe.
Consider the Time of Year and Location
Some people enjoy winter holidays to warm climates to get away from the winter doldrums, while others love nothing more than to go skiing or snowboarding. Alternately, plenty of people save their holidays for spring or summertime, when they\'re ready to take a break from the daily grind. The season of your vacation definitely affects your wardrobe choices, as does where you\'re going. For example, there are locations that are cool or even cold in June, just as there are places which are warm and balmy in December.
Don\'t forget to consider location in terms of hemisphere either. Travel to Australia in February, for instance, and it will feel like summertime in the states. No matter where you\'re going on vacation, take the time to research your destination first. If you know people who live there or previously visited, ask for packing pointers.
Think About Your Flight
With the ability to get wonderfully cheap flights from travel sites, traveling is easier and more affordable than it has ever been. You have to remember, however, that many carriers are seriously cracking down on luggage restrictions. Also, lots of those affordable tickets come at a different kind of cost: you\'ll likely end up having layovers in one or more places.
How does that affect your packing? For starters, think about whether you want to check your baggage. That gets expensive, and you don\'t want to run the risk of losing your luggage. If you decide to try to get everything into a carry-on bag, you also have to make sure everything fits and meets size and weight requirements.
You might still decide to check your bags. If you\'re making lots of different connections, think about the hassles. Do you have too much luggage? Do you really want to drag it with you through the airport, from one terminal to the next? If you\'re a serious over-packer, take the time to really study your choices.
Make the Most of Moderate Zones
Vacations in moderate climate zones are awesome. That\'s the one place where you can easily get away with packing a bit of everything. Moderate zones have four seasons, so everything stays pretty mild. If you\'re going on a summer vacation, feel free to pack traditional clothing options:
- Shorts and T-shirts
- Sun dresses
- Sandals, flip-flops, and sneakers
- And bathing suits
You can also pack windbreakers, hoodies, lightweight sweaters or cardigans, and other pieces of warm but still mild apparel. They\'ll come in handy during rainy days or cool nights. If you\'re heading to a beach town in the United States, Canada, or parts of the United Kingdom, always pack some warmer pieces. At the very least, you\'ll enjoy wearing them during nightly walks along the shore.
Take It to the Tropics
In tropical locales where the weather is always hot, you\'re not really going to need long sleeves—unless they\'re very lightweight or in pastel colors. You\'ll want to make the most of your summery clothes, otherwise you\'ll spend most of your time sweating. This makes packing easier and more compact, because summer clothes traditionally take up much less room.
All the same, it\'s still tempting to over-pack, so plan realistically. You\'re not going to need evening dresses or suits. In most tropical hot spots, the word of the day is “casual.” While lightweight seersucker dress pants or gauzy sun dresses are great choices for romantic dinners or nights out dancing, don\'t get carried away packing fancy outfits. You\'ll spend most of your time in the ocean or by the pool, and you\'ll probably end up wearing the least amount of clothes just to beat the heat.
Cool Temperatures and Hot Clothes
Are you heading to Alaska, Russia, or a destination where the temperatures are generally lower? That presents a problem with packing only because cold weather clothes are somewhat bulky. Layering keeps you warm but it also fills up your suitcase. On these types of vacations, you\'ll likely need to check your bags. The best thing to do is prepare a garment bag that has heavy coats, ski suits, and larger sweaters. Try to limit your footwear as well. Don\'t pack dozens of scarves and mittens either. At most, you\'ll only need two or three varieties; otherwise they\'re just taking up space.
Plan Your Activities
Knowing what you plan to do when you reach your vacation is also helpful. If you\'re going to spend most of your time playing beach volleyball or lounging by the pool, you only need casual outfits and swimsuits. If you plan to do a lot of shopping and eating out in a resort town, then fancier threads are necessary. It pays to research big attractions at your location. Remember, no one ever needs a big winter coat or a bunch of sweaters at Disneyland. However, if you\'re going to London, you need wellies and coats more than you need daisy dukes and flip-flops.
Picking Out Versatile Pieces
The best way to pack smart is to choose complementary items. Pick out clothes you can stylishly mix and match. That will cut down on the amount of clothes you have to pack, yet it will double the number of ensembles from which to choose. Remember that light colors stain easily and lightweight materials wrinkle easily. While those colors and fabrics are better for warmer vacations, make sure you pack other pieces as well. Similarly, don\'t pack anything too heavy when you\'re heading somewhere cold.
Packing a lot might seem like a good idea in your bedroom, but once you start hauling around all that luggage, you\'ll quickly learn your folly. Just think about where you\'re going, when, and what you\'ll do when you get there, so you can instantly cut down on the amount of superfluous items you pack.