Are you prisoner to your suitcase?

SuitcaseWhether you’re traveling for five days or five weeks, try this: pack for a trip of only five days. It can be hard to get kids from point A to Z, and a lot of baggage can really slow you down.

Decide what to wear on the flight (or drive) and then pack the following items, regardless of whether the trip is for fun or business:

  • five pair of “undergoods”
  • four pair of lower-half (shorts, skirts, or pants, depending on weather and destination customs)
  • five tops (tees, nicer tops, or sweaters)
  • one dress
  • a second pair of shoes
  • a scarf (to dress up an outfit when needed)
  • minimal jewelry and accessories
  • fleece or jacket
  • swimsuit (more swimsuits and less clothing if it’s a beach vacation)
  • something to sleep in
  • toiletries in the smallest possible quantities

Pack the same for the kids, but break the rules for three exceptions:

  • more undergoods for kids who might not be 100% potty trained or babies who are still in the “juicy” phase (meaning: frequent spit ups or blow outs)
  • fewer clothes if your trip is fewer than five days
  • one extra change of clothes of underwear if your trip is six days

Most clothes can be worn more than once without a wash. Underwear and socks can typically be washed quickly in a hotel sink and hung to dry. If you avoid cotton products, they are most likely dry by morning. For longer trips, laundromats are ubiquitous and don’t require much foreign language skill. Kids typically spill on clothes in the first hour of wearing them anyway. No one will ever know that it was from yesterday.

Not sure this tip is for you? Consider this a challenge — a dare. Try packing for five days.  Then come back and us about it!

Click here for more TOC packing tips and products. Less stuff is more fun!

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