If you’re planning on air travel this year, you may be concerned about what you should pack and what should stay at home. With carry on baggage space limited, many people hope to avoid having to pay extra fees for checked bags. But, if you’re packing for the whole family, it can seem like you won’t have enough room for everything that you need. Thankfully, here are a few tips that will help you pack what you really need and not the kitchen sink.

These tips aren’t meant to tell you to pack five pairs of pants, four shirts, and two pairs of shoes. Rather, the goal is to have you think about what you really need. Give each item consideration and leave home anything you do not need. Look at packing the same way you would decluttering. Ask yourself if you need each item before you pack it.

  1. Will you use this item while you’re on vacation or are you considering bringing it along “just in case” you need it? Some things like allergy medication are important to bring along. Others, like a raincoat, could easily be purchased if you do need them. So ask yourself . . . Do you need that necklace? Do the kids need three extra changes of clothes? How important is that beach coverup or the extra pair of shoes just in case? Can you download e-books instead of packing books and magazines?
  2. Consider whether or not the hotel will provide the item, Almost all hotels provide soap, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion. Most provide a hairdryer as well. So, you really don’t need to bring these things along unless you know for sure your hotel won’t have them.
  3. Make sure that every piece you pack can be worn with several different outfits. Creating a capsule wardrobe is a great way to keep your packing at an absolute minimum. Don’t pack clothing that can only be worn one way and try to pack items that can be layered easily. You could wear a simple white shirt on its own, layered under a dressy jacket, or over a t-shirt depending on what your needs are. By packing as many versatile clothing items as possible you will need to bring along fewer things. Note: you may need to do a load of laundry depending on how long you’re traveling.
  4. Make sure that the clothing items you pack can be layered easily.

By following a few of these tips you should be able to condense and combine what you need to bring along. That way, you can have one smaller suitcase and a lot fewer hassles.