Helping you discover your inner traveler

Packing tips for holiday travel

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Are you hitting the road or the airport this holiday season? Probably. About 98.5 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more from their home during the holidays in 2014, according to AAA. To help you prepare for the season, Being Abroad is bringing you various holiday travel posts over the next two months to help you stay organized, calm, and healthy.

Here are a few tips on how to stay organized while packing for your holiday trip.

The List

Whether you love to write a handwritten list or use the memo section of your smartphone to create notes, write a list of everything that needs to make it from point A to point B. Remember when you promised Aunt Judy you’d let her borrow that book? You definitely won’t remember it when you’re packing your suitcase. Spend five to 10 minutes thinking about every item you might need and jot it down. A thorough list to look back on makes packing a lot less stressful.

Gifts

You could be bringing gifts for your whole family or just a thank you to the relative that is hosting this year. Either way, consider two things when choosing your gifts, small items, and shipping services. There are plenty of fabulous gifts you can find for friends and family that aren’t the size of a checked bag. Tiffany & Company’s business is centered around the small blue box. If your gift is small or large we recommend considering shipping services. Navigating the airport or driving a car are both easier when you aren’t worried about a ton of gifts in addition to your luggage and travel companions. This website compares shipping costs for you. In the last year, we’ve shipped tons of items from jewelry to large boxes filled with our favorite possessions and we highly recommend using UPS or FedEx. While all companies will experience the occasional hiccup, UPS and FedEx tend to have the most helpful customer service. It is also worth noting that you should pack and ship your items as soon as possible to avoid delays.

Just the essentials

Let’s face it, you aren’t Beyoncé, so no one is likely to care if your makeup is flawless or if your fancy dinner dress is the same ensemble you wore to your cousin’s wedding two years ago. So pack light and only pack the essentials. You should also consider packing comfortable clothing. Sure you will want a photographic outfit for one, maybe two nights, but for the duration of the trip you’re more likely to be lounging. Remember, too that you can probably wash your clothes at your travel destination. Your family won’t mind, and most AirB&B’s and hotels have a laundry option. Pack items that can be mixed and matched to extend your choices.

To roll or not to roll

We are a huge fan of rolling our clothing when packing a suitcase. It saves a ton of space and allows us to shove an extra cardigan into a crevice where nothing else would fit. The team at Real Simple has a great packing slide show with several tips, which you can find here. Since we like traveling with only what we need, we are typically using a carry-on or duffel piece of luggage. If you are as well, then rolling is likely your best option, experts say. If you are using a structured piece of luggage, then the pros say to fold or bundle your clothes. The bundling option is great for people who hate wrinkles, according to RealSimple.

What are your favorite practices for packing? Tell us in the comments below.

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