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How To Pack For a Short Trip 
 
by VWB June 21, 2005

When you pack a bag for a short trip of 3 days to a week long, it’s important that you don’t bring too much or too little. The following will give you an idea of what is important to have with you and what isn’t.

A stellar vacation almost always starts with a plan. And one of the most important steps in planning a vacation is thinking about what to pack. It’s never a good idea to leave packing to the last minute. In your excitement and rush you’re bound to forget something important – a bathing suit, sunglasses, or medications that you simply cannot be without. If you prepare ahead of time you have less of a chance of leaving something behind.

A Packing List

The first thing involved in fail-proof packing is drawing up a packing list. This can be done weeks in advance. The advantage to this is that as you get closer to your departure date, you can modify the list so that you’re sure to include absolutely everything you need – and nothing more. A major key to packing is to bring only the essentials. You don’t want to be weighed down by ungainly luggage that you can barely lift. Remember – you pack it, you carry it!

A packing list is most important if you are traveling to some place new. Keep in mind that you may not be able to pick up items you need in a foreign country, or you simply may not have time. And if you are camping or planning on roughing it away from modern conveniences, it’s a good idea to double or even triple check your packing list in case you are leaving something out. (A sample packing list is included at the end of this article.)

Once you’ve filled your suitcase(s), slip a copy of your packing list in your carry-on bag. If the unthinkable happens and your suitcase is lost, you’ll have a record of what is missing. This will come in handy when you are replacing the items or (god forbid) filing an insurance claim for lost property.

Carry-On Luggage

This brings us to the carry-on luggage. If you are traveling by plane, make sure you know what size bag the airline will permit and how many pieces of carry-on luggage a passenger may have. If you wind up having to check a bag you intended to carry with you that will defeat your purpose.

Make sure you hand carry anything that is irreplaceable so that you won’t have to worry about being without it. Here are some examples of carry-on items:

  • Medical items
  • Money and travel documents (visa, passport, driver’s license, ATM card, credit card)
  • Filofax or PDA
  • Itinerary
  • Emergency numbers and addresses
  • Keys
  • Journal
  • Wallet
  • Cellphone
  • Change of clothes

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