How to Pack for a Long Vacation
One of the issues that people struggle with when planning their vacation is how and what to pack. This is especially true when planning a long vacation, as it becomes even more important to make sure that you pack enough for your long stay. Based on feedback to our previous Do Leave Home Without This! article, it is evident that many readers stress when it comes to traveling and how to pack for vacation. So we have come up with a checklist of important items, as well as some strategies to ensure that you save time packing and remember the essentials on your trip.
Wherever you are going, it is important to pack clothing that you can apply and wear in a variety of situations. Why? To save space, for one thing. Let’s face it: you don’t want to have a bag that is bulging from so many clothes that you have no room for anything else! The idea of packing is to keep it simple and down to the most essential items, even for a long trip. Versatile clothing might include lounge wear that could be worn on the beach, workout wear, tops and shorts, jeans and solid-colored T-shirts, to name a few.
Don’t forget to pack plenty of underwear, socks, and other basics that you will need every day. You have 2 choices when it comes to packing underwear and socks: pack about 40 of them OR plan to do laundry. Since the goal is to pack as light as possible but still have enough of what you need on your trip, we recommend packing about half of what you normally would for 2 weeks, then packing some Tide (or other brand) laundry detergent as well. You’re going to have to do a few loads anyway, so why not save packing space?
You never know what the weather holds in store, so pack accordingly. Consider the season first. If it is summer, then you could need suntan lotion to avoid burning, for example, swim wear, of course, and an umbrella and raincoat. Yes, it rains in the summer too, as you know. So plan accordingly. Take a weather radio so you’ll be alerted of any pending storms or bad weather approaching as well, for safety, as well as convenience.
Take at least one light all-weather type jacket and one heavier jacket in case you are in a place where the weather gets cold. Places such as Utah, for example, even in the middle of summer, sometimes get suddenly cold. I remember being in Utah at Bryce Canyon and thinking, “Boy, I’m going to burn up at the top of that mountain and guess what…it was COLD!” Yep. Of course, this may be due to the high altitude, but whatever the reason, I learned my lesson. Things are not always as they seem when on vacation and one of the most unpredictable forces at work is Mother Nature.
This is a somewhat sensitive topic that could probably supply enough material for entire article. Shoe selection is always a “hot button,” particularly among novice fashion conscience travelers. General advice is to pack a maximum of three pairs but, please think ahead. Do you really need more than two, one dress and one pair of comfortable walking or tennis shoes? Whatever the final number, always pack your socks inside which will save additional packing space.
If you take medications, make absolutely sure you pack this first. You certainly don’t want to be out somewhere far from home for a long time without your meds. Often you can find a pharmacy in your area and call your doctor to order more, but don’t count on it. Instead, take some extra time to make sure you take every essential medication that you need, and pack some extra, in case you were stranded for longer than you expected or if you need it to show a doctor if you get sick.
This is my worse area, because my house looks like Steven Spielberg’s production studio. I don’t know what to leave behind. But when packing electronics and technology, think “mobile.” Let’s face it, you are probably not going to set up a fully-functional editing station at your hotel. So just take your video cameras and digital still cameras, your laptop/tablet, and mobile phone or device, and that should be enough for your trip. Do remember to take an external hard drive to store images and video on, if you plan to be on a long trip and get lots of video, etc.
The rest of the stuff you pack is up to you. Think of all of the situations you might be in over a 2 week period, where you are in a strange place and away from home. Make sure your communications stay up and working at all times (barring any ‘dead zones.’) If you do run into trouble, your mobile phone is your first line of defense.
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