If you’re someone who loves fashion and picking the perfect outfit for every occasion, packing for a vacation can become a real challenge. From family vacations where you go to dinner shows and attractions to girls’ trips when you’re planning on sitting by the pool and having dinners out, you might always feel like you want to bring too many outfits.
With that in mind, below, we put together some of the biggest packing mistakes to avoid. Make sure you’re able to have the clothes that will make an impression without overpacking or overpaying for luggage.
Packing Every Item You Own
Okay, maybe you don’t literally pack every item you own, but you might come close. It’s easy when you’re packing to get caught up in all the possible scenarios you could participate in during your trip.
You want to plan for all the what-ifs, but when you’re actually at your destination, you probably find you’re wearing only half of what you brought, if not less.
You need to have self-control when you pack so that you don’t have as much to worry about dragging along with you when you’re actually traveling.
Instead of throwing your closet into a suitcase, think about versatility.
When you pack for versatility, you want a simple color palette with a couple of complementary pieces. You want classic items that you can wear in different settings. For example, maybe you bring dresses that work well for sightseeing and dinner. Choosing items you can wear from day to night or occasion to occasion will simplify your life.
Also, if you’re packing something you’ve once or maybe not at all unless you have a very good reason for bringing it, it shouldn’t be in your suitcase.
Just avoid the pull to pack something “just in case.”
Choosing Fabrics That Are Challenging
When you’re packing, you don’t just want to think about what you’re bringing, but what it’s going to look like when you take it out of your suitcase. Choose easy-care fabrics that don’t crease easily or wrinkle too much.
Even if you have access to an iron on your trip, it’s doubtful that you want to use it too much when you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself.
Not factoring in fabrics is a big mistake overall when it comes to getting ready to travel. You don’t want to look sloppy, and packing the wrong fabrics can cause just that to happen.
For warm-weather destinations, try to focus on fabrics like cotton, silk, and rayon. For cooler or colder climates, think about cashmere, wool, and knits.
Not Checking the Weather
Some people don’t like to check the weather before they pack because they don’t want to be disappointed by a forecast that’s less than perfect. Unfortunately, not doing so can mean you pack all the wrong things.
We talked a bit about this above, but one of your main areas of focus when you pack should be versatility. If you’re packing a lot of colors that don’t go together, you’re going to have a tough time pulling together outfits.
A good rule of thumb is to bring 75% neutral-colored items, and then you can use the remaining 25% of your packing space for colorful items that stick in a similar family as one another.
You Pack Brand-New Outfits
It’s certainly fun to shop for a trip you have planned. There’s a pitfall, though—if you pack things you’ve never worn before, you might find that you don’t like them as much as you hoped you would. Your outfits that you already know you love are a better option.
Letting Your Toiletries Leak
If you’ve packed beautiful outfits, there’s nothing quite as heart-wrenching as opening your suitcase to see leaky toiletries have ruined them.
If you’re going to pack any bottle with a liquid or gel, first squeeze out some of the air and then reseal the cap. Place the bottles in multiple Ziploc bags. You can also put a piece of tape over bottles before you put them in bags.
You can just avoid bringing toiletries altogether if you want to simplify things. Depending on where you’re going, you save the space and avoid the risk of your clothes being ruined by buying the items when you arrive.
If you’re renting a car, you can go to a pharmacy, but a lot of hotels will have an onsite store for necessities too.
Unless you’re going somewhere remote, you’ll be absolutely fine if you don’t pack everything you can think of. It’s better to leave it out and realize you didn’t need it anyway, or if you do leave it at home, you can buy it where you are.
Skip Your Blow Dryer
Your blow dryer may feel like a necessity, but nearly every hotel, resort, and vacation rental is going to have one you can use. Hairdryers take up way too much room in your suitcase, so there’s less space for everything else you want to bring.
If you aren’t sure whether or not there will be a hairdryer available when you arrive, contact the hotel or accommodation directly.
Packing Too Many Shoes
If you’re packing, go through and look at how many shoes you’re bringing. Then, get rid of most of them.
Shoes are heavy and take up a lot of room.
Bring a pair of comfortable walking or sightseeing shoes, one dressier pair and maybe a lightweight shoe like a sandal. Wear your heaviest shoes on the day of travel if you can, and be practical with your dressier shoe.
Adding Valuables to Your Checked Baggage
Finally, another mistake to avoid when you’re packing is adding your valuables to your checked bag. Checked bags go missing because of theft, getting lost, or getting put on the wrong flight. You should put your most valuable, expensive, and rare items in your carry-on whenever you can.
If you have to check something valuable, you should put a lock on your bag and use an app to track its location.