Now that you have chosen your destination, the next obvious question is what and how to pack. The “what” all depends on where you are going. You don’t want to pack 8 bikinis if you’re off to Alaska for a fishing tour, you don’t need one piece snowsuits (do people still have those?) in your suitcase if you are headed off to Hawaii, etc.
The first step I take in packing a suitcase is to make a list. The list will make sure everything you take also comes home with you. The list contains everything from toothpaste to specific pairs of shoes. Everything that I think I need on a daily basis. The next step is to take that list and cut it in half. I find myself going through my closet and tossing in my suitcase every shirt, short, skirt and pant (because you never know what mood you are going to be in next tuesday). Here’s the thing: I don’t ever end up wearing HALF the clothing I bring with me on vacation. I end up buying a lot of clothing, shoes, and especially new swimwear while on vacations and then find that there isn’t enough room in my suitcase when it’s time to go home. Recently, I visited Sin City (Las Vegas) and over half of my suitcase was just for shoes! I only ended up wearing one pair of comfortable, (yet stylish), versatile, black heels and managed to come home with two extra pairs!
If you are going on a beach vacation for a week, you do not need a different swimsuit for every single day. Two MAX. Swimsuits dry and can be worn again (NEWS FLASH). Chances are, if you are in some tropical, sunny destination, you’re not going to be needing pants everyday of the week. Pack one pair of casual pants for chilly nights. Two dresses (for women, two dress shirts and one pair of slacks for men), and 1 tank top/tee-shirt and 1 pair of shorts for each day of vacation. I also like to throw in a bathing suit cover up in there incase. The only thing you may need more of than days of vacation are underwear and socks. At least one extra pair than days.
Toiletries: there is no need to pack everything in your medicine cabinet, bathroom drawer and makeup bag. One toothbrush per person, one travel sized toothpaste, hair brush or comb, and the make up you wear on a daily basis is all you need. Do not take shampoo and conditioner or soap with you if you are staying at a hotel or resort, they will supply all of that and it will just explode all over your bag anyways. No need for the ENTIRE bottle of Advil, take a few pills in a plastic baggie or a travel pill box. I would suggest chewable Pepto-Bismol or Imodium, especially if you are heading to Mexico, but keep that in your carry-on, you never know when you’re going to need it.
Now that you have your list of everything that is going with you, time to shove it all in the suitcase right? WRONG. A well organized suitcase will save you a lot of time and hassle, especially at the airport when you get chosen for one of their random searches. Best bet is to make sure any liquids are in plastic Zip Lock bags. I don’t need to go over a physics lesson here, we all know what happens to liquids in sealed containers when the pressure builds up at 30,000 feet. TOTAL DISASTER. If you have a pair of shoes in your suitcase it is best to put them in a large Zip Lock so the rest of your clothes don’t get dirty. Rather than folding pants, shirts and such, I roll. Rolling your clothes saves space. I can get mine and my husbands clothes, shoes and toiletries for a one week vacation into one standard sized suitcase because I roll everything, even my socks. The more space you save the less you may get charged at the airport for extra baggage. Even better if you have saved so much space all you need is a carry-on piece. You can save all that extra time at the airport since you do not have to check any bags and therefore you do not have to wait among the throngs of people at the conveyer belt for your bag to (maybe?) come down the chute. No chances of losing your bags this time!
In short, at least in regards to packing for your vacation, less is more and more is a waist of time. So get out there and enjoy your vacation.