5 Things to Pack for Vacation (& 3 to Leave at Home!)

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Anyone else think packing for vacation should be considered an Olympic sport? Should I bring a coat in case the temperature drops? What about a bathing suit in case the hotel has a great pool? Don’t even get me started on how challenging packing becomes once you have kids! While it proves to be stressful, the more you do it, the more you feel like a pro. As the daughter of someone who worked for Delta Airlines for 40+ years, I’ve been blessed to travel frequently and consider myself a semi-expert. Hopefully this packing list eases your mind when deciding what is a must have on your trip and when to say “pass”!

TAKE

  1. Medication.
    More times than I can count, I’ve been the only person on a trip who brought ANY medication. I’m not simply talking Tylenol … my friends and family call me a walking pharmacy. But while they like to give me a hard time, I have saved them on several occasions. In most scenarios a CVS is right around the corner, but on the off chance you get sick, and the stores are closed or you’re camping in the woods, it’s great to have everything you might need in your bag. Getting a pill organizer, dropping some pills into each slot, and then labeling the spaces is my key to success!
  2. Snacks.
    Have you ever paid $7.50 for a Snickers from the mini bar? It hurts, doesn’t it? The first thing I do after my luggage is situated is find a nearby convenience store. Depending on the length of my trip, I grab everything from a case of water to something sweet for a midnight treat. You can also pack snacks in your luggage – I recommend no liquids but if you do pack something that might melt, put it in a separate Ziploc bag for safekeeping.
  3. Umbrella.
    This one is usually learned the hard way; I’m no exception. I got caught in the rain, once and decided – never again. Umbrellas don’t take up enough space in your luggage to opt out of them. Pack one instead of buying one at Disney World for $30 after you’re already soaked. I promise you won’t regret it.
  4. Earplugs.
    If you’re a light sleeper, like me, you know how challenging vacations can be. Hotels can have paper thin walls and maybe your neighbors aren’t being very quiet, if you know what I mean! Maybe you’re in an Air BnB for family vacation with a nephew who is teething. Maybe your husband snores … loudly. Whatever the case, make the most of your trip and keep some earplugs handy for those noisy nights.
  5. Fully Stocked Carry-on.
    If you’re flying and checking luggage, listen to this tip, above all others. When I was 11, my parents took me to Europe. We landed and promptly realized the airline had misplaced our bags. Thankfully we packed carry-ons with medicine, glasses, etc. but we had forgotten a spare change of clothes. After two days of wearing our travel outfits, we went to Gap and outfitted ourselves for the remainder of our trip. From then on, I have always traveled with necessary items in my carry-on – including an extra outfit. If you can’t live without it – contacts, prescriptions, etc. don’t let it travel out of your sight. Plus, a clean pair of underwear and a toothbrush go a long way.

LEAVE

  1. Irreplaceable Items.
    A controversial tip but hear me out. If you have something that would be impossible to replicate, why risk losing it forever by packing it in your bag or wearing it in uncertain environments? I often keep my wedding band and other expensive jewelry safely stowed at home. Other items to consider leaving behind? Spare credit cards, designer purses, car/house keys, etc. Thank me later!
  2. Technology.
    Not only is taking a break from technology a breath of fresh air but, if we’re being honest with ourselves we know our laptop rarely sees the light of day on vacation. This is extra challenging with kids – I know keeping them occupied is hard enough without limiting screen time. Try encouraging games like I Spy during a car ride or having a family sing along to a Disney track for some great family bonding. If you’re on a flight, opt for a new toy, special treats, coloring books or interactive games – any type of card game is a big win!
  3. Items that shout, “I’M NOT LOCAL!”
    Listen, I’m a proud American, Texan and Aggie BUT carrying a bag that says, “I ❤️ NY”, while walking the streets of Cancun or boasting a shirt that says, “You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas”, while in Paris may not be your best bet. I understand wearing a beret may not be your style, they aren’t for everyone – instead to learn a few words/phrases in the native language, ask locals for recommendations on where to eat, and learn about the area you are in rather than longing for the place you call home.

What are your vacation packing must haves (or must nots) for travel? Share in the comments below!

Remember … make a list, pack light and hang in there. You’ve got this!
Love y’all BIG –

MM

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