Packing Outline for 3 Types of Trips

Here are some suggestions and comments on three types of trips and how I pack for them.

The all-inclusive, tropical family vacation
By far, the easiest trip to pack for. First of all, a warm climate vacation means you're packing lightweight clothes like shorts, tank tops and swimsuits. A family vacation also often means a lot less concern about the costs of things like checking a bag or packing heavier. When your parents are paying you're much less likely to obsessively budget your trip into a tiny bag.
Even so, it's more fun to walk around the airport, use public transportation, or haul stuff to your hotel room if your suitcase is a reasonable size. I no longer really check a bag for any vacation. On my last family trip to Mexico this winter I took one backpack for a personal item and a small-ish rolling suitcase as a carry-on.
The most important thing for packing for this type of trip is to know how you travel. If you're constantly overheating like me, bring only lightweight summer clothing, and bring lots of extras to change into. In a warm, humid, sweaty climate, it's easy to feel like something no longer smells or feels fresh after only a few hours in the sun or at the beach.
Never forget to pack a hat, sunglasses, a nicer outfit if needed, a few swimsuits, logical shoes, and plenty of hair ties and product.

The quick, cheap weekend trip
This is logically pretty easy packing, but the key is to pack way lighter than you think you need to. When driving somewhere, I'm a chronic overpacker, because I know the space exists, so why not use it? However, when flying I have a much easier time scaling back the things I need to bring. If you're heading somewhere for a short weekend adventure, pack the minimum. Realistically, you only need a couple of outfits. As long as you know what kind of weather or activities to expect, you can narrow down what you really need to bring.
A camping trip will require wildly different supplies than a Vegas weekend or a few days at the beach. Use common sense and bring what you'll actually use.

The extended budget backpacking trip
And here's the one I'm currently preparing for. This is the hardest to pack for, but hopefully the most rewarding. I'm by no means an expert, as I've mainly done some research and some practice rounds. The real test will be packing my tiny backpack for real in about a week. However, some tips that I'm going to follow:

  • Rely on one device for all entertainment. Aside from my phone and one small mass market paperback I desperately will try to fit, I plan only to bring my tablet, which will be stocked with downloaded shows and movies on Netflix and a bunch of e-books. E-books aren't really my jam, but they definitely make traveling better. 
  • Layers! My plan is minimal pants/shorts, several neutral colored tank tops since they're small, and a couple of cardigans and light sweaters. Then just add and remove layers based on the warmth of the day. 
  • Neutral colors! Much as I love mixing and matching patterns and bright colors, most of my trip clothes will be black, with some gray and blue and white tossed in there perhaps. 
  • Space saving suction bag things. I obviously didn't get the kind that you need a vacuum to suction the air out of, but I did order some plastic bags you can fill with clothes and then manually roll the air out of. They work quite well for getting some extra space available. 
Currently, I'm praying these strategies will work. I think I can do it, but who knows. I'll post photos and updates about my packed backpack and packing strategies next week when I actually pack it!


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