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Today's Featured Story: Vacation Packing Tips

UPDATED June 2015

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, John Bateman

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Don`t let the hassle of packing ruin your vacation before it starts, especially if you plan to fly, where over-packing can add up. Check out a few of these tips to make packing much less costly and a lot less of an ordeal:

Tip 1: Know Your Destination

The more you know about your destination, the better the packing. Some things may be a no-brainer, like not packing a suitcase full of sweaters for a summer trip to Phoenix, but others could require a little more thinking.

  • Check out the local climate of your destination to better prepare for your trip. Some places can get quite warm during the day but become chilly at night. Others locations may be in their rainy season. Make sure you pack accordingly.
  • If you have a beach trip in mind, don`t forget to pack things like sunblock, sunglasses, hats, and swimsuits. Buying these things once you`re at the beach can cost you much more than bringing them along.
  • If you`re flying internationally, know what you can and can`t bring into the country. There`s no use in taking up valuable suitcase space by packing along something that will only get confiscated at customs.

Tip 2: Pack Smart!

Not only should you know what to pack, but you should also know how to pack.

  • Try to envision each day of your vacation before you pack to help keep you from bringing things you won`t need. In turn, use a list to make sure you don`t forget something.
  • Use a suitcase that has wheels, and if possible, one that is expandable since most people will do some shopping on their trip. Or better yet, consider shipping anything you buy back home, which can save you even more space and can be cheaper than paying overweight or extra-baggage fees.
  • If you`re flying, pack all valuables, important documents (such as passports and birth certificates) and necessary medications in your carry-on bag. This will make them much less likely to be lost or stolen during your trip.
  • Put toiletries in plastic bags to keep accidental spills from ruining your clothes. Also bring a couple of extra plastic bags to use for any wet or soiled clothing you may have during your vacation.

Tip 3: Pack Light!

You will thank yourself later. Most people pack much more than they need, especially if they are trying to be prepared for anything unexpected during their trip. By doing this, you are essentially adding more weight to drag around with you. If you`re flying, over-packing can potentially cost you hundreds more in baggage and excess weight fees. Here`s a way to keep that to a minimum:

  • The rule of thumb is to bring one different shirt or top for each day of your vacation, and bring about half as many pants. Most jeans and shorts can be worn more than once without needing to be washed. If you think there may be a dressy evening planned on your trip, bring one nice outfit. Also, frequent travelers swear by the method of rolling up their clothes instead of folding them in the suitcase. It is supposed to give you more space and keep wrinkles to a minimum.
  • Bring no more than two pairs of comfortable shoes (three if you include sandals or flip-flops) and make sure at least one pair is versatile enough to wear with most, if not all, of your outfits.
  • Leave unnecessary electrical appliances at home. If you`re traveling internationally, you might have to pack along electrical adapters for your appliances, which can be another hassle. Most hotels now have hair dryers, irons, and other appliances available for you either in your room or by request.
  • Buy travel-sized toiletries, or to save money, put your shampoo, lotion, etc. into small bottles before your trip to add more space in your suitcase. Remember the Transportation Safety Administration`s 3-1-1 Rule if you plan to carry your toiletries with you on the plane!

Tip 4: Some Don`ts

Lastly, a few things not to do:

  • Don`t wait until the last minute to pack- you`ll wear yourself out the night before your vacation starts! Pack gradually starting several days before your trip.
  • Don`t bring anything that is so valuable to you that you would be heartbroken if it were lost or damaged- leave it at home.

  • Don`t over-plan your packing ...or stress out! This can be a vacation killer. Some of the best vacation memories can arise from totally unexpected moments, and you can`t pack something along for those.
  • Bon voyage!

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    Story image: Baggage claim at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Thanks to Jarcje and Wikimedia Commons.

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