Packing is one of the most stressful aspects of traveling. You want to make sure you have what you need, but you also don’t want to pack your entire wardrobe. Especially with extra baggage costs. This frustration is amplified when traveling with kids because they also need to be adequately prepared (but not overstuffed) as well!  Here are some suggestions to make your baggage packing go a little smoother:

Make Lists


It might sound like overkill but seeing everything on paper can really clarify things. First, write down all the activities you plan to do. Then, decide what clothes are needed for those events. Create an inventory of the items you think you’ll need, and then go through it several times, removing those items that are either not needed or redundant. An added benefit is that you will have a “packing sheet” which will make it easy to locate the items to pack in your suitcase.

Be a Clothing Minimalist

We’ve all packed what we felt were “essentials” only to realize that we’d be returning home without wearing them at all. To avoid this, follow this simple rule – pack three tops for every bottom, whether they be pants, shorts or a shirt. Try to keep to a color theme so that you can mix and match easily and won’t need as many pairs of shoes. Store socks inside any extra shoes you pack! Finally, you’ve probably heard it a million times but rolling up your clothes really does take up less space.

Protect Your Jewelry

It’s a good idea to leave your most valuable items at home but most of us will travel with some accessories, even if it’s just costume jewelry. To prevent necklaces from getting tangled up, thread them through a straw before packing. Keep track of earrings, especially studs, by either storing them in the holes of a button or in the armband of an unused watch.

Cosmetics and Personal Care

It’s a good idea to have a little kit set aside that you use specifically for trips. Keep travel size containers of your favorite hair care products, toothpaste, sunscreen, contact lens solution and body wash. You should also have some first-aid items such as band-aids, allergy medication, pain reliever and something for nausea. Additionally, it’s also a good idea to pack razors, pads and tampons in case you suddenly need them on the road. Pro tip: use an empty contact lens container to store enough make-up, such as foundation, for a few days!

The Extras

Keep your suitcase fresh and clean by putting a dryer sheet in with your clothes and by packing dirty shoes in a shower cap (or plastic bag).  Manage the wires for your electronics by rolling them up and putting them inside of a pencil or eyeglass case. If you have an empty lip balm container, clean it out and store rolled up emergency money inside.

Planning for a vacation isn’t always easy (or fun) but, if you take a practical approach and plan accordingly, taming your suitcase will be a manageable task.