How to Pack for a Seven Day Vacation

Three Parts:Thinking About Your DestinationSelecting the Right Items to PackPacking Neatly and Efficiently

Packing for a week-long trip can be stressful, especially if you don't travel often and are unsure of how to pack efficiently. If you are having trouble deciding what to bring and what to leave at home, worry not. You can become a smart and confident packer if you prepare accordingly ahead of time.

Part 1
Thinking About Your Destination

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    Check weather patterns in your destination city. If you’re not leaving for a few weeks or even months, find a list of average highs and lows for the time of year that you’re going to a particular place.
    • Search for averages on Wikipedia; the site lists average temperatures in the “Climate” section on most pages for countries, states, and provinces. You might also Google the weather in a given city. For example, you can search “average temperature in Chicago in April” to get results that will be helpful for choosing what to pack. [1]
    • Check the specific forecast for each of the seven days that you’ll be gone. Many websites, like or AccuWeather, provide forecasts for anywhere in the world.[2][3] Even though weather predictions are not always accurate, this is a good way to get a sense of what to expect.
    • Reach out. If you are still unsure about what kind of weather to expect and thus what kind of clothing to pack, reach out to a friend, family member, or colleague who has visited your destination for pointers. Additionally, many major cities have travel or tourism bureaus. [4] Call or email one of these agencies to speak directly with a local and get their advice and pointers on what to expect and what kind of clothing to pack.
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    Ask your accommodation(s) about laundry facilities. If you can, wash your clothes during your trip (even if it's just a quick sink-wash and hanging the clothes out to dry) so that you have to pack even fewer items. If you won’t have access to laundry while you’re gone, you should plan to bring a change of clothes for each day of the week.
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    Find out whether your accommodation(s) will provide you with toiletries. Some hotels, for example, will provide complimentary toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Others will even provide a toothbrush and toothpaste. If so, that is at least a couple of items less that you have to worry about packing in your suitcase!
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    Find out if there are any regional considerations you should take into account. Depending on your destination of choice, you may have to pack certain precautionary items or align your packing with the cultural sensitivities and traditions of your destination.
    • Learn whether certain diseases are common in your destination. Consider, for example, malaria. If your destination has malaria-transmitting mosquitoes, you are at a significant risk of getting the disease, so take the necessary precautions. These may range from insect repellent to malaria prevention medicines. You can learn more about malaria and whether it is a concern in your destination by visiting the CDC website.[5]
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    Research the political, social, and cultural climate of your destination. This is especially useful if you are traveling abroad. Take into account security considerations, such as whether it is generally safe for somebody of your nationality to travel to your destination of choice at this time. If you currently live in the U.S., the Department of State website is the go-to site for this information.[6]
    • Consider whether there will be any important local holidays while you are there. Knowing this ahead of time will allow you to better prepare and not be taken by surprise should there be any major closures, crowds, or events.
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    Learn a few key words or phrases in the local language. If you are traveling abroad, it is important to know how to communicate basic information. For this, you can use an app like Duolingo or free online materials.[7]

Part 2
Selecting the Right Items to Pack

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    Pack several pairs of shorts and t-shirts if you're going somewhere hot. Also bring a hat and use it to keep your face out of the sun.[8]
    • Don’t forget to bring a coat or jacket to wear at night when the temperature plummets, especially if you are traveling to a desert.
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    Dress in layers if you are going somewhere cold.[9] You probably won’t have room for several bulky coats or sweaters, so bring only one or two. Underneath, you can wear long sleeve shirts or thermals that you change each day. And don’t forget to pack warm socks!
    • Pack as lightly as you can. This includes packing lightweight clothes, if possible. Your baggage will be easier to carry and you will be able to fit more items in your suitcase.
    • Choose simple clothing items (e.g. solid colors plus a couple of standout pieces) so that you can easily mix and match them.[10] This way you will have to pack fewer clothes.
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    Think about what kind of footwear you’ll need. Planning on hiking? Don’t leave without a pair of sturdy boots. For the beach, you’ll want a pair of flip-flops. If you’re planning on attending a formal event or going to an upscale dinner, make sure to bring dressier shoes with you.[11]
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    Pack other essentials. Besides clothes, you’ll want to take a variety of other items with you. Start out by making a list of essential items that you use every day – things like your toothbrush and toothpaste, computer and cell phone chargers, deodorant, and hairbrush.[12] Go over this list several times to make sure you’re not forgetting anything.
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    Take a look at the TSA Guidelines. If your travel plans include flying, you won’t be able to bring things like certain snacks or large bottles of liquids with you. Luckily, travel-sized versions of necessities such as toothpaste, lotion, shampoo, or conditioner are easy to find in local stores such as Walgreens or CVS. [13]
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    Consider what electronics you’ll need. If you’re traveling out of the country and plan to bring electronics with you, check to see what type of power adapter is used in your destination.[14] Make sure to get your hands on the required adapter before you leave so you can plug everything in once you get there.
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    Bring enough of any prescription medications you take to last the entire trip. Take these with you on your purse or carry-on luggage so that, if your bags are delayed or another such circumstance arises, you don't miss out on a dose.[15] You may also want to bring a small amount of over-the-counter pain relievers and allergy medicine.

Part 3
Packing Neatly and Efficiently

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    Assemble everything you want to pack. If you don’t already have a suitcase, now’s the time to buy one. Ideally, your clothes and other items should all fit into a single suitcase.
    • If you’re traveling to a destination where the weather may be harsh or rainy, try to find a sturdy, weatherproof suitcase. That way you won’t have to worry about your clothes and electronics getting soaked.[16]
    • If you’re worried about the potential weight of your luggage, try to find a suitcase with spinner wheels. It’ll save you from straining your muscles getting from place to place. [17]
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    Pack. There are a few tried-and-true packing methods, and the one you pick for a seven day trip comes down to your personal preferences.[18]
    • Keep your clothes from getting wrinkled by simply folding and stacking them, placing at the bottom the items you plan to use the least and at the top the ones you will use first or most.
    • Stay extra organized by folding your clothes and then grouping them into pre-planned outfits. That way you won’t have to spend time at your destination getting your outfits together and can instead use that time to enjoy your new surroundings.
    • Roll your clothes up into tight tubes and fit them snugly together if you’re tight on space. This method also reduces the amount of folds and wrinkles.[19]
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    Check baggage requirements. If you’re traveling by plane, know that not all airlines are created equal: the weight and size limits vary per airline, so check the information online carefully to avoid incurring any undesired costs or paying hefty fees.[20]
    • Weigh your luggage before heading to the airport so you don’t overpack.


  • Put toiletries in separate plastic bags according to their use. For example, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss can all go in one bag, while hair products or soaps can go in another.
  • Pack extra batteries for your camera and/or other electronics. You wouldn't want to miss out on the shot of the year!


  • Keep valuables with you at all times during your trip.
  • If you're bringing something that could break, like glass, wrap it in bubble wrap or newspaper, put it in a small box, and label it.
  • Don't overpack - it will be harder to unpack as well as to get around.

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Categories: Planning Travel