Think about packing…

[tweetmeme]Packing for a week or two getaway can seem overwhelming… especially if you have children. It can seem like you have to lug half your home with you.  Think about these tips. They might just ease your pain!

1. Think about the old adage: bring half the clothes, and twice the money.

2. Think about only using carry ons.  Theoretically, sound advice. Who wouldn’t want to avoid fees,  lost luggage, and the bag carousel? Works well … if you can : pack wisely, respect airline size restrictions, easily lift it overhead, don’t mind overstuffed bins, aren’t packing liquids or gels, and are fine either wearing the same outfit/using hotel laundry services or buying clothes at destination (that “twice the money” thing is helpful here) .

3.  Think about each child having their own carry on. They have to pack it. They are responsible for carrying/ rolling it. They can put a book or two, a toy, a snack, and other items they think are vital.

4. Think about carry on essentials. If you’re hitting your destination, and your checked bag is delayed; do you have your medicine, a toothbrush, a bathing suit, and a change of clothes?

5. Think about what you’re checking. Know your airline’s baggage policies and fees. Weigh your bags empty. Most rolling suitcases weigh 20-25 lbs before you start to pack. When you’re stuck with a 50 lb limit, you’re already half-way done. If you don’t care about style, a duffel bag weighs next to nothing – allows you to pack sleep toys, blanky, favourite books, extra clothes for wee ones without worry.

6.  Think about the rule of 3. If you do have access to laundry at destination, pack at least 3 of each item for children- that way they can have 1 dirty, 1 on, and 1 spare.

7. Think about ditching the suitcase lock. If you have to open a suitcase, you’ll never have the key when you need it. And even if you’re super organized… others will likely have a key to your suitcase lock too. There’s very little theft, but someone motivated to steal wouldn’t be stopped by either a universal-key lock or any other kind. An inspector who picks your bag for a random search certainly wouldn’t be stopped either – if they can’t easily open the lock, they’ll cut it. Don’t give yourself a false sense of security with a suitcase lock. If an item is important, carry it on. If it’s not, put it in the checked bags, and ditch the lock.

8. Think about tags. Your bag needs to have your identifying info on the outside – use the airline bag tags. But those little tags can go missing too – so make sure you have your personal contact info somewhere on the inside as well.  And, keep your airline’s luggage stubs they give you at check in – they’ll be essential for tracking any pieces of luggage that go missing.

9. Think about having to identify your bag. The number of black suitcases that rotate on every luggage carousel is dizzying. They all look alike. If you don’t want to load and unload several bags trying to find yours, and would rather not buy a fuchsia leopard print suitcase, think of another way to make your bag stand out. Maybe put some reflective tape on the handle, or tie a brightly coloured piece of string to it?

10. Think about having to carry everything by yourself. It’s easy to look for a porter, a valet, or even a luggage cart carrel at an airport or at destination – but what if one isn’t readily available, or you don’t have the right currency? If you are stuck walking even a small distance with all of your carry ons, checked bags, and children; can you manage? If not, reduce your load.

Think about packing. It will make the vacation much more enjoyable.