At the top of my bucket list? Some day, I hope to live where others vacation. Most of my friends know that while I have lived in Minnesota my entire life, I hate winter. I am a true summer-loving gal who loves hot weather, the sun on my back and the sand in my toes. Add in a great book and a pina colada, and I’m set! So, while packing for a beach vacation, I thought I’d pass along some of my personal traveler’s packing tips.
1) Roll, don’t fold. Years ago, I watched a friend pack for a backpack trip she was taking. She rolled all of her items, which if folded, would have never fit into the duffel backpack she was carrying. So now I’m a roller too. Tightly rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones, plus they don’t get as many wrinkles, either. And for my kids, they can roll their shirt along with their shorts together to create an outfit that’s easy to find.
2) Keep passports and itinerary easily accessible in your carry-on or purse (and locked, when you get to your destination).
3) Never check essential items. We traveled to the Dominican Republic as an incentive trip I earned a couple of summers ago, and on this trip one of my friends packed her prescription medication. Of course, that was the luggage that didn’t arrive with our flight. As her suitcase traveled around the country, it seemed, she was left without her pills she was supposed to take every day to fight her cancer. Ugh. Always put prescriptions and other items you couldn’t live without (like chargers, contacts, etc.) in your carry-on.
4) Lay out each outfit, and add jewelry and shoes from there. I also try to stick with some kind of color theme, so one pair of shoes can be worn multiple times.
5) Follow routine, right into your cosmetic bag. As I use my face, hair and makeup in the morning before my trip, I then put it directly in my cosmetic bag. It’s such a habit to place it back in the drawer, so I have to consciously think about my routine as I go along.
6) Call your credit card company and alert them of your upcoming travel. Last October I traveled to Nashville, and my debit card was declined at a store. They saw my swipe in Nashville, while another person was using the number in Mexico! Weird but true! Thankfully my bank shut down my card right away. However, it’s always good, especially when traveling out of the country, to let them know the dates of your travel so that you aren’t stuck without a credit card in case of emergency.
7) Pack all of your chargers in a small zip cosmetic bag and place in your purse or carry-on. That way, the cords stay wrapped and are organized in one place.
8) Borrow digital books. I read — a lot. Especially on a relaxing beach vacation, I can easily read four books in one week. Rather than pack all of those books, I borrow the digital versions from the library of the books I may want to read and load them on my Kindle. That way, I have several books ready for the pool, beach or the long plane ride home, and they don’t take up a lot of space!