wikiHow to Pack for a Holiday

Four Methods:Planning AheadPacking LightKnowing What Not to PackLeaving for Your Holiday

Packing for a holiday can be daunting. Whether you worry about forgetting something, or tend to over-pack, having a plan can go a long way to help alleviate stress. By having a clear understanding of your destination and what you will and won't need, you can spend less time fixating on that empty suitcase and more time enjoying your trip.

Method 1
Planning Ahead

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    Consider your travel method. Whether you're flying, driving, or taking a train, each mode of transportation can require different planning.
    • If you're flying, you may need to plan both your carry-on and checked luggage accordingly. Consider keeping valuables and anything you'll need during travel in your carry-on so its near.
    • If you are traveling on the ground bring along snacks or something to make the time go by faster like audiobooks or your favorite music.
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    Determine how much luggage space you'll have. This will help you edit and narrow down what you are able to bring and what you should leave at home.
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    Check the weather. Although weather reports can steer you wrong, having a general idea of what to expect weather wise can help with your packing.
    • If there's a 90% chance of rain daily, make sure to bring a rain jacket or umbrella.
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    Plan your activities ahead. Half the fun of vacation is breaking free from the rigors of a schedule, but understanding what you want to do and where you want to go can make your packing plan a little more clear.
    • If you really want to go snorkeling, bringing your gear along might be a good idea. If you love to try new fancy restaurants, making sure you have enough formal outfits can make sure you spend less time worrying about what to wear and more about where to eat next! This will also help you eliminate unnecessary items you likely will not use. [1]
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    Begin your packing list the week before. Many of us are guilty of starting the night before, but packing in haste can increase the chances you'll forget something important.
    • Don't forget to double check your list before leaving!

Method 2
Packing Light

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    Minimize extra clothes and shoes. Although you'll want to look your best on your holiday, making the most of your space can make your travel smoother and prevent an overfilled bag.
    • Make versatile choices. Choose clothing items that are multi-purpose and can be plugged into a number of outfits. This helps keep your bag light and also helps simplify the packing process. [2]
    • Shoes can fill up a bag quickly. Rather than lugging five pairs of shoes, choose a couple comfortable ones that match all of your clothes.
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    Place essentials and valuables in your carry-on bag, if flying. You'll want to have everything you might need during a flight close by.
    • Keep your medicine handy. This is especially true if you have prescriptions that you might need. Also, plan ahead for any stomach or pain medication you may need while flying and have these handy.
    • If you have a laptop, tablet computer or any other valuable electronic, keep these near for personal use and protection.
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    Check large luggage to your destination, if flying. If you are going to be somewhere for more than a few days, you'll need enough clothes and essentials to last. By checking your bag you'll still be able to travel light and make sure what you packed will be at your holiday destination when you arrive.
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    Maximize your baggage space. Besides packing light, how you pack can make sure you get the most out of your space.
    • Roll your clothes instead of folding. This not only helps reduce wrinkles but you'll be able to fit more. [3]
    • Put things in your shoes. Since shoes already take up a lot of room, by putting socks, underwear, or jewelry inside your shoe, you make the most of your space.
    • Utilize unexpected spaces in your bag. Luggage often has pockets or zippers where you can stow away small items without taking up space from the main compartment. [4]
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    Wear layers on the plane. If you have a particular pair of shoes or jacket you really want to take with you, wear them onto the plane and save space in your bag.

Method 3
Knowing What Not to Pack

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    Leave your valuables home. Whether you are trusting your baggage in the hands of an airline, or plan on wearing your grandma's antique necklace, lost or stolen items can happen on any vacation. If something is irreplaceable, don't risk the chance you will have to replace it. [5]
    • Fake jewelry. Although you should avoid looking to flashy on vacation, if you want pieces to match your outfit, it is a good idea to take some of your cheap or fake jewelry.
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    Ditch the toiletries. If you are staying in a hotel, they will likely provide any needed toiletries like shampoo and soap. Leaving these items at home can save space but also eliminate any potential messy spills. [6]
    • If you have a special shampoo or conditioner you use, your destination likely has stores that sell it! You can buy it there and have one less thing in your bag.
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    Leave bulky books behind. If you love to spend your vacation reading, bringing along some books can be a must. However, if you have an e-reader, this would be the time to bust it out. Books are heavy and take up a lot of room. If possible, leave them home! [7]
    • Ditch the guidebooks. These take up room and can also be outdated. If your road map is from even 9 months ago, there is a good chance things have changed. Download up to date guidebooks on your devices or simply get one at your destination. [8]
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    Leave home unnecessary gadgets. Will you really need your new portable water filter in Hawaii? With smartphones and tablets being so versatile, try to only take what you will absolutely need. This not only eliminates the risk of losing a valuable piece of electronics but will also lighten your load! [9]
    • Keep it basic. Leave the electric toothbrush at home and most hotels you stay at will have a hair dryer.

Method 4
Leaving for Your Holiday

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    Check your list one more time. After you're all packed up, check your list again to make sure you didn't forget any essentials.
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    Bring along any necessary travel documents. These may include your passport (especially if traveling internationally), ID and boarding pass. Forgetting a document you need for travel can delay your plans so make sure to have what you need.
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    Leave your itinerary with a friend or family member. This will give them peace of mind knowing where you'll be but also another set of eyes making sure you arrive at each step.
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    Plan what money or credit cards you'll need. You will obviously need to spend money but you should also be prepared to spend for unplanned expenses. Make sure you have a variety of ways to get money if you need it, such as an ATM card.
    • If you are traveling internationally, make sure to let your bank and credit card company know so that there are no disruptions in your service.
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    Don't forget your chargers. Although these can be bought most places, a dead phone battery can really make a new destination more stressful.Also, some international destinations will require an adapter, so prepare accordingly. [10]
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    Know airport rules. If you try to bring prohibited items through security, they will likely be confiscated and it could delay your getting to your boarding zone. Reviewing the rules ahead of time can make sure your plans get off without any bumps.
    • For example, you can't bring a filled water bottle through security but can bring your own empty bottle to fill once you're through.
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    Bring along headphones. Whether you want to listen to music or watch a movie on the plane, headphones can help travel fun. If you forget yours at home airlines usually offer them at a price; it would be better to bring yours from home and save the money.


  • Make a distinctive mark on your case so no one picks up the wrong one.
  • Make sure to weigh your suitcase when you have finished packing so it's not overweight when you get to the airport.
  • Put any cosmetics that might leak into a small plastic bag.
  • Go onto a computer and sign up to a packing tip website like Dontforgetyourtoothbrush


  • Double check your list and bag before you leave.
  • If you are flying, make sure you know the laws of what you are able to bring onto a plane. Put anything you need but can't bring on the plane into your checked baggage.

Article Info

Categories: Travel Packing