holiday packing

Do you travel during the holidays via car, train, or airplane? While it doesn’t matter how you get to your holiday destination, you do need to pack carefully. After all, you don’t want to forget any of the gifts or end up with more stuff than you can fit into your bag. I recommend seven packing tips that ensure you have everything you need and can carry it all with you this holiday.

Photo by: Frank Jania (Flickr)

Photo by: Frank Jania (Flickr)

Write a List

With all the baking, shopping, and parties happening during the holidays, packing a suitcase can land on the back burner. Then, you end up shoving stuff into your suitcase without really thinking through what you’re packing. The Packing List Android app keeps you organized. Use it to plan the clothing, shoes, jewelry, makeup and toiletries, electronics, and gifts you need to take and to cross the items off your virtual list as you pack them into your suitcase.

Wear Your Bulkiest Items

Your heavy jeans, winter coat and snow boots take up valuable room in your suitcase. Instead of packing them, wear them and save space for all the other stuff you need to pack.

Pack Toiletries Securely

You can’t leave your shampoo, body wash or makeup behind, but they require a bit of TLC in your suitcase. Conserve space when you use travel size bottles. Prevent spills when you place a small piece of plastic wrap between the bottle’s opening and the lid before sealing the bottles in a plastic bag. If you’re traveling by air, follow TSA rules and limit liquids to 3.4 ounces per bottle and secure them in a plastic bag that’s no bigger than quart-sized.

Stuff Your Bag Carefully

Now that you’ve decided what to put into your bag, pack it carefully to get everything in. Remember, overstuffing your bag leads to wrinkled clothes, so leave some breathing room.

  • Start by placing your heavy toiletries bag in first.
  • Next, place your rolled clothes inside the bag. I prefer to roll instead of fold clothes because that keeps them wrinkle-free and allows me to fit more items into by bag.
  • Pack your socks inside your shoes and arrange them around the clothes along the edges of the bag.
  • Stuff your bag of underwear, medications and everything else you need in the nooks and crannies.

Wrap Gifts After You Arrive

The pretty wrapping, curled ribbons and colorful bows on the gifts you’re giving end up smashed and ruined when you try to travel with them. Wait until you arrive at your destination and wrap the gifts to keep them looking beautiful.

Pack Toys for the Kids

Your kiddos will receive tons of gifts from Grandma, but they need entertainment for the holiday drive or flight. A small backseat travel bag filled with a whiteboard and dry erase markers, coloring books and crayons, travel size board games, and a few healthy and portable snacks like cheese sticks, carrots, and raisins ensures your little ones in the back seat stay entertained.

Load the Car Safely

If you plan to drive to your holiday destination, make sure you load your car safely. Stow heavy bags first, clear the windows and secure the suitcases and gifts to keep them from shifting in the cabin.

This year, pack everything you need for your holiday travel when you follow my seven packing tips. Then, enjoy the travel experience and arrive at your destination with confidence that you have everything you need for a jolly holiday.