A poor packing job or forgetting important things can mess up your getaway. Though a packing list can help make sure you don’t forget anything important, keep on reading for the 7 suitcase packing mistakes that can ruin your vacation, and tips from professional organizers so you’ll know how to avoid them.
- You forget to check your destination’s weather.
Before packing for a vacation, check the weather of your destination. However, don’t take the forecast too literally as the weather does change, unless it’s a winter or summer season. Think of packing clothes you can layer, so you can throw on a cardigan or a lightweight jean jacket if, say, a cool rainstorm unexpectedly blows in. Also, you may think of a reliable weather app that can help you decide which pieces to pack. “This way you won’t be stuck with all pants if it’s hot or no jacket if it’s cool,” says Sarah Nelson, a professional organizer at Less is More in Miami, Florida.
- You wait until the last minute.
Start packing a few days in advance and make a list of the activities on your itinerary to determine what you need. If you wait until the last minute, you wouldn’t be able to get good judgment. “Then you’re stressed and can’t think clearly, so you end up packing too many options and don’t have what you need,” says Dacy Gillespie, a St.Louis-based personal stylist.
- You buy a whole new wardrobe specifically for your trip.
“Don’t try a new look on vacation!” says Gillespie. New clothes you’re not used to wearing may not fit as well or look as good as they did in the dressing room when you bought them. Instead, “stick with trusted outfits you know you look good in,” she says. Pay attention to fabrics where knits and denim travel well while silk and linen wrinkle easily.
- You fold instead of roll.
“Rolling is a great way to maximize space in a suitcase,” says Gillespie. Start by folding the article of clothing lengthwise once. Then, roll tightly as you would a sleeping bag. Lay the piece of clothing in your bag with heavier items like jeans or sweaters along the bottom and near the wheels for balance. Light items, like pajamas or t-shirts, should be on top. However, if you have some fancier items that you don’t want to roll, simply place a piece of dry-cleaner plastic or tissue between each layer to prevent wrinkles.
- You don’t make the most of your shoes.
Wear your heaviest pair of shoes to save space and cut down on weight. Also, think of packing versatile shoes that you can wear with most of your outfits. Like fashion blogger Kristina Bazan, you may opt for a nude pair of ballet flats that will go well with your chic dresses on your walk in the town.
- You don’t factor in souvenirs.
Overdo it on shopping and your suitcase might not zip up on your way home. To be safe, “get a duffle bag that compresses into a very little pouch. You can easily throw it in the suitcase, and you’ll have another bag for extra purchases,” says Nelson.
- You have a “when in doubt” mindset.
For extended trips, bring a few less outfits than the number of days you’ll be away. Think of wearing basics several times so no one will notice. When packing for your trip, lay clothes out on the bed and mix and match outfits to see what works. Choose a couple neutral colored bottoms to pair with different tops, or pick a color scheme that will work for you. By coordinating your outfits around one or two shades, you’ll make sure you always have something that matches. By considering these things, you’ll be able to make your vacation hassle-free and memorable.