Ultimate Packing Tips for International Travel

Stacked up luggageI don’t know about you but when it comes to packing for a vacation one suitcase can weigh up to a 100 pounds easy. I just can’t understand how my rugged husband can get everything he needs into a small duffle bag. As a woman it’s inconceivable that we could go for an overnight trip without taking our whole wardrobe and every bit of our vanity necessities along with us.

Through years of traveling and a few more birthdays I discovered it’s not much fun lugging around hefty luggage, even if it is on rollers. Its like walking a huge Great Dane who sees another dog from far off and drags you through trees and brush to go play. Even just getting from the car to check-in at the airport can leave you huffing and puffing. So that leaves me with the old adage, “less is best”.

trying to close suitcaseHere are some tips on packing without taking the whole house. Besides that, airlines now charge for overweight bags and most carriers only allow 1 bag checked and 1 carry-on piece. You need to be smart with your packing.

▪    Check the shape of your bags before packing for rips, bad zippers or wheels. You may need to purchase a new bag to insure your luggage making it to your destination.
▪    Make sure you have I.D. tags strapped to your luggage.
▪    Put a copy of your itinerary with address and phone number inside just in case your bags get lost. Even with the your baggage claim tag there is a potential of it coming off thus leaving your bag stranded
▪    If traveling international or for an extended time keep copies of your passport, airline tickets, and itineraries not only in your suitcase but carry-on also.
▪    If you are a shopaholic like someone else I know purchase an expandable soft side suitcase for the souvenirs you will be bringing home. You will be glad for the extra space. Although, with baggage weight allowances it may cheaper to send your purchases home via mail.
▪    Tie a colored strap or put colorful stickers on your bag for easy identification.
▪    Make a list of what you want to bring then cut it in half. You will find you still have more than enough clothes to cover the days you will be gone. While at your destination you find you should have brought a special dress jeans or warmer coat that gives you a good reason to go shopping.
▪    Most hotels have laundry service or Laundromats will be nearby. It’s always an interesting time and a good way to see how people live in those areas by going to a Laundromat.
▪    You can get by with no more than 3 pair of shoes no matter how much you like to color coordinate. (Two would be best) Stuff your shoes with socks, unbreakable cosmetics, or inexpensive jewelry to save room in your bag.
▪    When packing make the most of the limited space in your bag by rolling your clothes tightly. Another good option is to purchase compression bags then roll to make more space. To save money, keep your dry cleaning bags, or large trash bags they work just as well as compression bags.
▪    Cut down your clothing list by coordinating your colors. Of course anything will go with jeans but you if you can find clothes you can use day or night then interchange for a new look, you can save massive space. I found you can do wonders with black, white and blues.
▪    If you are traveling to colder climates the only way to deal with packing is think layering. Silk underwear are very good insulators, then a long sleeved t-shirt, sweater, and coat. Add as you need then strip as needed. I also will carry a small backpack to stuff layers as temps rise.
▪    If you have clothes prone to static electricity, bring a few dryer sheets with you. If you find you have a static problem just rub with the sheets on your clothes to tame down those threads. You can also purchase small travel containers of static guard. I have found them at Wal-Mart, travel stores, and larger airports.
▪    One of my favorite ways to pack is to load up on clothing I can donate to a local charity after use. Not only do you make more room for souvenirs but also you help in a worthy cause

Here is the packing checklist I use hopefully it will help to get you started. Add formal clothes for Cruise Vacations and business travel.

Women
Comfortable Shoes (wear on flights)
Dress Shoes
Sandals (if needed)
Socks
Underwear
PJ’s or a large T-Shirt
2 pair of pants (usually jeans and khaki’s)
1 pair slacks
1 skirt or dress
3 short-sleeved T-Shirts
1 or 2 long sleeved T-Shirts
1 blouse to go with skirt and pants
Sweatshirt
Swimsuit and cover-up
Belt
Coat
Travel Umbrella (if needed)

Men
Comfortable shoes
Sandals (if needed)
Underwear
Socks
3 T-Shirts
2 Long sleeved shirts
2 pair pants
Shorts
Swim Trunks
Belt
PJ’s
Sports Jacket (if needed)
Tie (if needed)
Sweater or Sweatshirt
Coat
Travel Umbrella (if needed)

Now women here is the good news, with the extra room in your husbands luggage if you treat him well you just might be able to slip a few more items into his bag.

If you are a checklist junkie here is a website to help you get organized for your vacation.
Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush

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