It may be hard to believe if you’ve ever caught a peek of my horribly jumbled closet, but I used to pack professionally, rolling my sturdy suitcase to morning show sets to do my best rolln’-and-foldn’ routine to promote my publisher’s packing guide (yes, a whole book on how to pack). Even with a messy closet, I still pack a mean, lean, traveling machine of a suitcase for my family’s trips.
If you’re going on a family vacation, whether flying or on a road trip, you can too, with these 6 easy family packing tips:
1. Write it down: Before you ever pull the first T-shirt out of a drawer, make a list of everything you plan on packing for you and your family. Then pack it all outside your suitcase – over-packing happens when you start throwing clothes into your bag willy-nilly. By having a plan, and actually eyeballing everything you’re bringing, you’ll take less, and less is more with multiple people staying in the same room. (By the way, you should always be able to pick up your suitcase by yourself – if not, start editing).
2. Pick up some Plastic: Here’s a chance to recycle those pesky plastic dry-cleaning bags. For delicate or wrinkle-prone items, hang each piece of clothing in a separate dry cleaning bag. The bags create a thin layer of air around your clothes that prevents friction. Friction creates wrinkles. No friction, no wrinkles. Cool, right?
3. Mesh bags: See through mesh bags, the kind you wash your delicates in, are ideal for packing, well, your delicates, and other small items of clothing. You can see what’s inside for easy ID, plus, if you’re bag is searched at the airport, you can skip the “OMG, They’re holding up my underwear!” part of the process.
4. Cross-pack: Packing for a family requires some special strategy. First and foremost, you want to be prepared just in case your suitcase goes to say Fort Worth instead of Fort Lauderdale. So cross-pack: instead of putting all of the kids clothes in one bag and yours in another, put some things for each person in each bag. That way everyone has back up if a suitcase gets delayed.
5. Leave it Out: Eye glasses, contacts, prescriptions, documents, your kids special lovies and snuggies? They’re all carry on material. Ditto for electronics and chargers. If your stuck at the airport, you’ll want to have all of these things at your finger tips.
6. Tuck and roll: Folding clothes is just, well, so square. You’ll fit more by rolling: simply cross the arms of a shirt across the front, fold in half, then roll from the bottom up. Pants are even easier. Socks get tucked into shoes, and shoes tuck into corners and sides. Place your mesh bag in any empty spots. Lay the plastic encased delicate clothes on top.
There you go, you’re ready to hit the road – have a great vacation!