Pack it up, pack it in

Whether your summer vacation is backpacking through Europe, lounging on a sandy beach or just a trip home, packing is an inevitable part of all travel.

No one likes to pack. It’s always a debate on what to bring, how much to bring and how to protect your belongings. Luckily, the travel experts at Fodor’s have created a book titled simply How to Pack, and useful tips are posted on Web sites such as

The first thing to assess before packing is the luggage required for the trip. With luggage, size and durability are the greatest considerations. A wide variety of luggage is available to suit every traveler’s needs. Pullmans come with either hard or soft exteriors and are good for trips where transportation will be done on foot. Duffel bags are great for casual travel because of the ability to expand and ease of transport. Garment bags, on the other hand, are a must-have for more sophisticated travel. Travel packs are usually reserved for those who will be traveling long distances on foot.

Once the luggage situation is under control, you must start the daunting packing process. How to Pack gives a brief rundown of the details to consider when making your wardrobe selection. First, research weather conditions and local customs. Pick one dominant color scheme and make clothes do double duty. Try on each outfit you intend to bring and accessorize. Finally, eliminate some of the unnecessary items.

On a causal trip wrinkles may not be a concern, but on a more professional trip they could be the source of embarrassment. According to, the best way to avoid wrinkles is to not over-pack. Buttoning shirts before packing and putting a dry-cleaning bag between items will reduce creasing.

Once you’ve tackled clothing, a toiletries kit must be assembled. Many stores now offer travel-sized versions of toiletries. Small plastic containers are a safe alternative if your favorite product does not come in a travel size. Some items — such as sunscreen, eye drops, baby wipes and even a Swiss Army knife — come in handy when traveling.

When filling a suitcase, you must find the right balance between too much and too little. Aim to just fill the space with the zipper closing easily. Packing too little will cause items to shift and crumple. Laying clothes out and rolling them into neat bundles is always an effective space saver. Fodor’s also suggests using the space inside your shoes for extra items such as an umbrella or accessories.

Both How to Pack and suggest making a list of all the items you intend to bring and, after everything is packed, re-evaluate the situation. If you have extra room, grab that T-shirt you wanted to bring. Not enough room? Find the clothes you can do without. Remember: If you are going to a new and exotic place, souvenirs will be coming back with you, so plan some space for your return trip.

Overall, the most effective way to travel is to plan early and go through your list a few times before taking off. Double and triple check important documents and find a safe place to stash them. If all goes well, you will be dancing in Vegas or trekking though London in style and comfort.