I put my first born, thirteen year old daughter on a plane yesterday to travel back east to see family and friends for a few weeks. It was bittersweet because I know she will have a blast but worry about her traveling alone.  I must say the airport personnel at LAX were amazing and went above and beyond in customer service. They gave my family the VIP treatment by allowing us to take her all the way to the gate and get her settled.  After a bumpy flight she is now safely enjoying her summer vacation with her family and friends. Her trip and an upcoming one I am going on has got me thinking about packing and how I can make this daunting task easier.

Before we can enjoy the fruits of our labor and relax on any vacation we must first pay our due diligence by preparing for our trip. What to pack and more importantly what not to pack. In packing for a trip of any duration most of us have certain necessities we think we cannot live without but aside from prescription medications and eyeglasses or contact lens, we would survive! Let’s go on a luggage diet and see how we can pack smarter not harder. First things first, smart packers always have a packing list. That way you can make sure you won’t forget anything because if it is on the list you won’t forget it. There is a great website called Independent Traveler.com that will customize a packing list specific to your own personal needs that you can print out. Experts recommend before you even open a suitcase to pack, call ahead to your hotel, your aunt Sarah’s or wherever you may be staying and see what items they already have in order to reduce what you have to bring. Most hotels have hair dryers, irons, beach towels and small toiletries that you can utilize and save precious space in your bag. Plan what you are going to bring based the climate you are visiting. If your trip is 1 week or less plan on packing no more than 1 shirt per day, 1 sweater, 1 pair of pants or shorts for every 2 days, 2 pairs of shoes (wear one, pack one), underwear and socks 1 per day and 1 seasonal item such as a bathing suit. If your trip is longer than a week bring a few travel size laundry soap packets and a stain stick. You can either wash your clothes at a hotel laundry room (if they have one) or in your rooms sink and hang in the shower to dry. Save suitcase space by rolling your clothing instead folding or use Space Bags which are large plastic bags that can be shrunk by taking all the air out of the bag and free up a lot of extra room in your bag. Reduce the weight and bulk of your bag by buying travel sized toiletries and wear your heaviest clothing to the airport, like a jacket and sneakers. Some airlines charge for checked bags and overweight items, so before you go check with your air carrier to make sure your bag fits the criteria for size and weight. A little pre-planning can go a long way in saving you time and money getting ready for your vacation. Just think, the more you save before your trip the more you have to spend on your trip. I hope this helps you to keep it EZ when packing for your next trip. Truly, Kristin