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The Ultimate Vacation Packing List (Free Usable Checklist Included!)


Thu, June 22

Have you ever felt the overwhelming rush of packing creep up on you? Have you, just like many others, struggled to piece together outfits and necessities you need for your vacation, only to rush at the last minute and forget them all together? Don't worry, been there done that, and trust me, the end result is not pretty. To avoid this from happening, I have compiled a list of the best packing tips and essentials you absolutely need for your vacation, and also compiled a free checklist at the end of the article for you to use!

1. Covering The essentials

Let's start with the bare bones or the things you just have to pack without fail. This typically includes your clothes, a lot of underwear, extra sanitary products, medicine, wet wipes, a water bottle and filter, two types of shoes (to fit any occasion), a sweatshirt for the airport, a mix of comfy and stylish clothes, and of course, your toiletries. The best way to go around packing your essentials is to make a list of the clothes you want to pack (eg: Crop tops, tank tops, skirts) and count outfits according to the days.

I would only recommend carrying two or three extra tops as bottoms can be re-worn in case of an emergency. Once you make this list, start sorting your essentials into the categories listed above, and pack them in order of importance, so that you can allot space according to importance. For example, pack your clothes first, followed by underwear, then shoes, etc. Now the question comes about how to pack, or how much to pack.

2. The Basics of Packing:

Pack only according to the number of days you are going for. Overpacking never did anyone any good, especially if you're packing 15 pairs for 9 days of travel. Travel lightly, and try to stick to one suitcase as having too many will make it hectic to handle.

Like I said before, packing only 2-3 extra tops should be enough, as well as one pair of flip-flops. Now that we've addressed how much to pack, how should we go about packing it? I prefer the roll method, in which once you fold your clothes, you roll them to make additional space. This always works for me, and I start with my bottoms as they tend to be thicker and then move on to the tops, which are thinner and thus roll out smaller. Once this is done, you can pack your shoes in separate bags and your innerwear in another bag(this will include your socks). I would also suggest packing gym clothes in a separate bag as well.

3. Tackling the Carry-on:

Now that the main gist of how and how much to pack has been tackled, let's move on to the bag that will be with you almost 24/7, The carry-on. Avoid going for fashionable ones or heavy totes, as these will not be pragmatic in the long run. Instead, carry a trustworthy and durable backpack that can be easily lugged overhead or with you.

In this, you should have a water bottle, sanitiser, a mini sunscreen, band-aids, and any other medicine you require. You should also pack sunglasses, a cap, gum, earplugs, your laptop, headphones, a charger and a sweater.

4. packing ‘Going Out’ outfits:

Obviously, with any vacation, you will want to go out and paint the town red(in your best fit of course), and thus you need to pack accordingly. For this reason, I suggest only carrying 1-2 statement pieces that can go with any basic bottoms. The key to elevating your outfit will be in the way you accessorize, so pack a handful of jewellery that can be utilised to elevate any and every type of outfit.

5. packing according to weather:

This is another important part many forget to pay attention to. Packing according to weather and climate is of the uttermost importance as it can help you pack lighter and smarter. If you are going somewhere tropical, pack a lot of shorts and maybe 3-4 pairs of pants.

Pack lighter colours and avoid black items of clothing. If you are heading somewhere cold, load up on innerwear, sweatshirts, jackets and scarves. A rainy climate can demand the best of both worlds, so my advice is to look up the weather forecast for your trip duration and carry materials accordingly.

6. Investing in a capsule wardrobe?

If your trip is exceeding 20 days, I would highly recommend investing in a capsule wardrobe, which allows you to make multiple outfits with basic staples. In this case, basic tops with solid colours like black, white grey and a few printed pieces can make 1000 different types of outfit combinations and also promote sustainable fashion, which I will get to in my next point. If you want more information on how to build a capsule wardrobe, I suggest checking out this video here .

7. Packing sustainability:

Another point overlooked yet highly important, packing sustainability can be easy and beneficial in a plethora of ways. For eg, do not buy clothes only for your vacation, ie buy clothes that you will wear even after coming back. For toiletries, take your own in small amounts as using the hotels' toiletries and using them halfway means that the staff throws the entire product out.

I would thus suggest taking back the toiletries home. I would also recommend packing cloth pouches instead of plastic bags to minimise plastic waste. You can also minimise waste by carrying one water bottle throughout your journey rather than relying on plastic water bottles.

8. Packing Toiletries:

Packing toiletries can also involve sustainable packing, such as packing toothpaste tablets rather than toothpaste tubes, and also transferring your products into reusable tubes which you can find on Amazon. I would also recommend buying perfume refill sprayers so you can minimise the bulk and breakage of your precious perfumes, and carry many scents for a smaller weight and space. Skincare should also be packed in mini quantities, and make sure to adjust your routine according to the climate you are in( eg: dryer and hotter places: more hydrating ingredients), etc. Most hotels have hairdryers and straighteners, but you can also purchase mini hair straighteners for your convenience.

9. Packing Food:

Packing food can be a different priority for everyone, but I would recommend packing stuff like candy and gum, at least for airports or long journeys, as food can become expensive. Some people like to carry a staple set of ingredients if the food options are not the best for them, or if they are vegan.

Once you finalise your packing list and ordeal, it's time to research more about your trip in order to be your best-organised self. To do so, check out this article featuring 8 essential planning tips here!

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As always, this is just a suggestion and feel free to customise your packing itinerary as you like, please. Don't overwhelm yourself and start packing ahead of time so that you are as relaxed as you can be. As promised, a full checklist of what you need to pack can be found here ! I hope this helps. <3

Jiya Chhugera
50k+ pageviews

Jiya Chhugera is a 12th-grade IBDP student who is extremely passionate about advocating for women's Reproductive/menstrual rights, gender equality, and equal access to education globally. The Vice president of her school MUN as well as managing editor of her school magazine, the DP Herald, she enjoys creating literary works and articles talking about pop culture and socio-economic issues that prevail in our society to this day.