Travel Tricks: How To Pack Light!

Summer vacation is here, and that means travel for most people. Planning for your trips and learning some packing techniques can make your travel a lot more fun. Here are a few ideas you might like to try.

First things first! Decide where you are going, how long you will be gone, means of travel and how much money you will need. Be sure to consider the climate and type of activities you enjoy when choosing a vacation spot.

Clothing is always an issue. The above factors will affect what type and how much clothing you will need. Start by making a list of clothing, accessories, toilet articles, and miscellaneous items needed. Select non-wrinkle clothes for travel and plan your wardrobe around one color scheme.


A standard size 26" x 28" suitcase is a good one for normal trips. Be sure it has a tag with your name and address. If flying, a bright colored ribbon or tape around the handle will help you locate your bag.

Packing For The Trip

Collect and sort items to pack. Fasten all zippers and button all garments. Place garments that wrinkle between tissue paper or dry cleaners' plastic bags. Pack in layers.

How To Pack In Layers

The Bottom Layer - Place items such as shoes, handbags, and shaving kits that need protection in plastic bags. You can use these later for soiled clothes. Place shoes at the bottom. Turn tops of shoes together with heels in opposite directions to make a flat bundle. Handbags are next with make-up and shaving kits next. Roll pajamas, underwear, socks, swimsuit and similar items to form a flat bottom layer.

The Middle Layer - This layer is for long garments such as slacks, trousers, and dresses. Fold items in half lengthwise. Place them so that the waist section lies flat in the suitcase. Alternate so that the hem of each garment hangs out one end of the suitcase.

The Top Layer - Fold a blouse or shirt by laying the garment flat face down. Fold the shoulder section lengthwise back on each side of the garment to the center section, then fold the sleeves back flat on the fold. Last, fold the garment from top to bottom. Lay all blouses and shirts cross-stacked on the middle layer. Fold hems of middle layer back over the blouses and shirts.

Realistically, you can have a good vacation if you plan ahead, leave extra time for the unexpected, and prepare for your children's needs. After all, children are not little adults. They are small people with their own wants, needs and desires.

Here are some tips for traveling with children:

  • Time is a concept hard for many children to grasp. Try setting an alarm on a watch or clock to go off at a certain time to let children know that you will be stopping for a stretch break, etc. A kitchen timer also works well and most preschoolers can help you turn the dial to set the timer.
  • Energy is one thing children never seem to run out of so be prepared to make stops often enough for them to run, jump, wiggle or just move around.
  • Try leaving prior to nap time or in the early morning hours when children are more likely to sleep in the car. Be sure their clothes are comfortable and not restraining.
  • Plan snacks. Most young children prefer small, frequent meals. Offer nutritious foods such as crackers, cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables cut up and stored in bags in the ice cooler. Individually wrapped foods make snack time easier and give the children a chance to pick their own snack. Remember that planned snacks can be a good part of the daily food plan.