Do you remember that post I wrote where I was gripping about packing? Well, I want to take some time now to follow up on that post . Now that we have survived our first international trip as a mama and three kids I feel I am better equipped to offer some advice.
Thinking about what I wanted to say in this post comes at the right time as I am packing (or should be packing anyway) for our next adventure that we leave for in just six days. Although this next adventure is completely different then the trip we just returned from, and therefore requires a completely different set of packing skills, these general Do’s and Don’ts that I have listed here should be relevant to many different types of packing circumstances.
I must start by saying that I most certainly overpacked. I did way to much and on top of that I packed the wrong things (wrong season, wrong amount, etc). I will share my packing faux pas with you here in hopes that you can learn something from my mistakes.
Here are my packing do’s and don’ts
Do pack only enough clothes for the number of days you will be there and then take one of those outfits away. You might not want to admit it but while on vacation it is very likely that you will where those jeans a second day or be in your swimsuit lounging on the beach all day and don't need that day's outfit. Don’t take up valuable luggage space on 'maybe' outfits when that space can be used to bring back awesome souvenirs.
Don’t over do it on the toiletries. I know we all hate the new travel guidelines that state that no liquids over 3oz are allowed in you carry on but I will admit that it has kept my toiletry packing to a minimum. Before the implementation of this guideline I would pack enough body spray to fill a bath tub and enough shampoo to wash every head on the floor of our hotel... twice. Now I am forced to fit all of my bathing needs into neat little 3oz bottles. I won't say just how many of these little bottles I have learned to cram into four ziploc bags but I will say I no longer take enough body spray to fill a sink let alone a bathtub.
Do make sure you check the weather before you leave and pack accordingly. I can’t tell you how must space we took up in our suitcases with jeans and long sleeve t-shirts because we thought it would be in the 70s in Costa Rica when it turned out to be in the 90s. No jeans or long sleeve anything was taken out of the suitcase. If I would have taken five minutes on weather dot com to see that it would be 90 degrees while we were there, packing for the wrong season could have easily been avoided.
Do pack more than one pair of shoes. I knew I had done well to have packed an extra pair of shoes when my 5 year old took off toward the waves without a second thought. He splashed into the ocean with his swim trunks tied tight and his shoes even tighter. Even in the 90 degree weather it took two days for his shoes to dry. Thank goodness I packed an extra pair for him.
Don’t over pack your one personal carry on item. We are #teamcarryon and live by the one carry on and one personal item. I don’t know about you but I tend to try to fit as much as I can in my personal carry on item. Laptop, ipad, phone, all the chargers, books, magazine, snacks, drinks, travel pillow, a small blanket, and all the contents of my purse. It never fails that I end up regretting this decision as my shoulder begins aching as I lug this back through the airport. I call myself being smart by fitting so much in my personal carry on but the joke is ALWAYS on me.
Do leave space in your bag to fit souvenirs. I learned the hard way… who knew you couldn’t bring wooden machetes through security (read my previous post What I Know I Learned From Airport Security). When I was forced to fit our souvenirs in a bag so that I could check that bag it became an instant game of tetras as I pushed, removed, twisted, and turned things to fit the two small machetes in.
Don’t forget to pack some plastic bags. You know you have a ton of those little plastic store bags stuffed in one of the cabinets in your kitchen. Come on! I know I'm not the one. These baggies take up little space and can come in handy while traveling. For example, they are great when having to pack wet clothes (and wet shoes in our case). They are great for separating shoes from touching anything else in your bag. They are great for packing all the snacks you bought while traveling and now want to take home. And of course they make great little mini dirty clothes hampers.
So, what else would you add to this list? What are your Do’s and Don’ts of packing? I would love to hear from you. Until then… I look forward to seeing you around the globe!