5 Packing Tips for Your Summer Vacation

5 Packing Tips for Your Summer Vacation

At Pottery Barn, we love summer vacation! That's why we’ve gathered five packing tips for travel from our personal experience to help take vacation packing from a chore to being a part of the fun.

Choose Your Luggage

Quality luggage is more than a practical investment - it’s a statement that reflects your own personal style. You can mix and match different pieces, or be ready for any kind of vacation travel with a complete luggage set. Your mode of travel will help determine where to start. Consider wheeled luggage if you’re boarding a plane, cruise ship or train. While there’s been much debate between hard-sided and soft-sided luggage, it’s a matter of personal preference. Thanks to modern materials and design innovations, both types allow ample space for your gear within airlines’ weight restrictions.

Plus, you can cart your tote or weekender on top of a carry-on spinner to streamline plane boarding. The spinner can fit into the overhead bin, and your tote under the seat.  You can also opt for a leather backpack as a simple, yet elegant, carry-on. Here’s our expert traveler’s packing tip: Keep an empty canvas tote bag folded in an accessible place in your luggage. It’s the perfect solution when your vacation shopping exceeds your luggage space. Whatever doesn’t fit instantly becomes part of your carry-on luggage.

Organize Your Travel Documents and Carry-On Items

“Where’s my passport, honey?” That's a phrase you never have to say again! Feel like a travel pro and keep your spirits high with accessories that make your travel experience easier. While you waltz through Duty Free, a passport holder or case keeps your travel documents handy and can double as a wallet. Also, monogrammed luggage tags are a great way to pick out your luggage on the baggage carousel. You might feel safer packing your jewelry and valuables in your carry-on luggage in a zipper pouch, toiletry bag or travel jewelry case as well.

Make a List and Check It Twice 

A packing list can help spare you an unplanned shopping trip for forgotten items. One approach is to plan for a couple of days longer than the length of your trip as you consider what clothing and toiletries you’ll need. A list can also help you remember device chargers and items for your toiletry bag that you might want to pack right before you depart.

If you’ve discovered you’re not exactly packing light, this ancient packing tip might help: Choose what you want to take and divide it in half. To keep your international vacation filled with positive adventures, the TSA website contains the latest information on prohibited items. Another favorite packing tip: Limit your separates to those that coordinate with each other. Well, mostly, at least. You’re on vacation, after all!

How to Pack Well, Not Right, for Your Vacation

You can learn a lot about people from how they pack for vacation. Some people keep all their clothing on hangers to unpack their luggage in one swoop. Others fold each item into neat, organized stacks, or roll their clothes tightly to maximize every inch of space. Then there’s the toss-it-in-and-see-where-it-lands approach. There are no absolutes when it comes to packing (other than avoiding weight restrictions and prohibited items), but there are methods that can help you get there and back with your items intact.

For example, you can wrap breakables in shirts or a robe, and stuff socks in hollow items such as souvenir mugs and pottery. If you’re packing jars or liquids, wrap them in a sealed bag or plastic grocery bag first to prevent accidental leaks. A wet/dry bag can store your swimsuit after that last dip in the pool. If your beach towel doesn’t need to double as bubble wrap for your souvenirs, fold it so it lays across the entire length of your case.  Either layer it on the bottom as padding or on top as a cover. By the way, shoes often nicely fill the spaces between the extendable handles.

Make Space for Toiletries

Finally, if you decide to pack your toiletries and chargers last, try to leave a space at the most accessible part of your luggage. That way, you don’t have to unpack items because you ran out of room. For example, if you’re packing a wheeled spinner, a good spot is the top of the case in an upright position (under the handle). If you’re packing toiletries in a carry-on, remember TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for liquids, gels or pastes - three ounces or less, one quart-size bag per one person.

Lastly, don’t forget the most important thing when packing for your vacation: Relax and enjoy!