How to Pack for a Trip

Whether it's just overnight or an extended stay, making sure you have everything you need for your trip can be a chore. To keep suitcases to a minimum, follow our tips to efficient packing.

1. Make a list.
Before you start packing, it's a good idea to make a list of things you think you'll need. Be sure to check  no the weather where you're going to be so you can pack appropriately. If you want to get super organized, you can categorize your list into sections like clothes, accessories, toiletries, electronics, shoes, etc. However you choose to do it, having a list to check items off as you pack can ensure that you don't leave anything behind.

2. Lay it out.
As you're checking off your list, take everything to one place, like your bed, and lay it out so it's easier to see and pack.

3. Bag your toiletries.
After you've gathered all of your things, grab some baggies from the kitchen and use them for your toiletries. Quart size is great for tooth brushes and tooth paste, and gallon sized are great for shampoo, conditioner, body wash and other larger items. Keeping these items sealed in baggies helps if one pops open or breaks. The mess will be contained in the bag instead of the bottom of your suitcase.

4. Roll your clothes.
By rolling outfits together, you will be amazed at how much space you save. A great time saver is to fold everything length-wize and stack it, longest to shortest, by outfit. Then roll it up. You have an outfit ready to go that way, and won't have to sift through all of your clothes to put one together. You'll also have room this way to get everything into one suitcase.

5. Pack a dirty clothes bag.
Throwing a couple of plastic grocery sacks into your suitcase makes for a good place to put dirty clothes. They'll be kept separate from clean clothes if you don't end up wearing everything on your trip. Grocery sacks are a great option because they're smaller and more compactable than larger canvas laundry sacks.

6. Pack your list.
Remember that list you made? Don't toss it after you pack! Place it in your suitcase and take it with you so you can make sure you don't forget anything when you get ready to come home.

7. Don't pack what you won't need.
If you're staying in a hotel, there's a good chance that they'll have things like hair dryers available in the room. Also, if you're traveling to a place that doesn't get much rain, and there wasn't any in the forecast when you checked, leave the umbrella at home. You can save even more space by leaving your e-reader at home since you'll be taking your tablet with you.

8. Put your name on it.
Whether you're traveling by car, bus, plane or train, make sure you put your contact information on your suitcase. You never know when it'll come in handy.

9. Take a few snacks.
If you're traveling by car or bus, make sure you keep a carry-on that has a few snacks. You'll be less likely to need to make stops, and will save money.

10. Have fun!
Whether you're traveling for work or play, just make sure you have fun. Oh, and don't forget your phone charger.

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