“It’s freezing outside, and I didn’t pack a single warm article of clothing! What am I going to do?
Those were the exact words I muttered to myself when I realized I forgot to pack the right clothes for my trip.
I know what you’re thinking: how stupid and careless, but the scary part is, I’m no newbie to packing. And if a seasoned traveller like me can make a newbie packing mistake, than it can happen to anyone—especially busy moms who need to pack for an entire family.
Here are ten common packing mistakes anyone can make plus some advice on how to pack better.
1- Always Check The Weather and Pack Accordingly
When the kids and I first arrived in the south of France back in October of 2011, the weather was lovely. We could wear shorts and light tops all day and night without feeling the least bit cold.
You might be interested in reading about how we moved to the south of France.
A month flew by, and gradually, the weather became a little colder, but like a frog who sits in a pot of gradually boiling water, we never noticed the temperature dropping until one day in December, about two months after we arrived, the temperature dropped a few degrees below freezing and… WE NOTICED.
I’m one of those mothers who tries to prepare for ever scenario, so I packed year-round clothes for the kids. They each had a warm jacket, a scarf, a pair of gloves and a sweater which we brought with us from Montreal.
Unfortunately, in my haste to get the family packed, I didn’t prepare my own luggage with such thoughtfulness. I packed for the weather I wanted and not for the actual weather.
2- Don’t Over Pack:
It’s good to be prepared, but have you ever over-prepared and packed something you never actually used or wore on your trip? Yeah, me too. Overpacking is probably the single biggest mistake people make when packing for a trip.
A simple rule of thumb is “don’t pack for a worst-case scenario.” Instead, pack for a best-case scenario. You can always buy what you need on the rare occasion; a worst-case scenario arises.
Another trick is to lay out everything you want to bring with you on the bed or the floor. Have a good look and then bring only half of it. It’s tough but trust me; you’ll thank me later.
3- Don’t Over Stuff Your Suitcases
Unless you have superhuman willpower, chances are you’re going to buy some souvenirs, unique clothing items, candy or gifts for your friends back home. So do yourself a favour, leave some room in your
If you pack your
4- Don’t Forget To Bring A Day
Bag or Back Pack
Always, always bring an extra day
The size and type of
Here are a few examples:
Made of a lightweight, high density waterproof oxford nylon and strong leather handle, this large capacity tote bag is simple, elegant and versatile for daily use/ travel/ business. Magnet closure design makes it more convenient and safer to get items from the bag, including a lapto up to 17”..
Packing Cubes or Small Stuff Bags To Organize Your Luggage
Backpackers and campers often use something called stuff sacks and
It’s a system of organization where you stuff smaller bags (the stuff bags) full of similar type items then place them into a bigger
I don’t use stuff sacks like the ones backpackers use, but I use something similar that also saves space and keeps my bags organized. Here are a few of the things I use and recommend.
Use one cube for shirts, another for pants, another for toiletries, shoes and so on. I have a set of four for each one of our family members. The best part is when not in use for travelling, I use them to store off-season clothes under my bed.
These compression bags are a real space saver. They can Increase your luggage space by up to 70%. NO PUMP or VACUUM CLEANER REQUIRED! Once you place your clothing items in the bag, simply zip the bag up, and roll it like a burrito, squeezing the air out through the valves on the bottom side.
6-Not Following TSA Guidelines For Carry-On Liquids
Always follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 security guidelines for bringing liquids in your carry on. You’ll keep that security line going faster if you do.
- Bring liquids in bottles that are no bigger than 3.4 ounces (100ml)
- Bring a one quart-sized, zip-top
bagwhich to place all your liquids in.
- Only one zip-top
bagfull of liquids per passenger allowed.
I usually prepare my one-quart size zip-top
7- Don’t Forget To Pack A Change Of Clothes In Your Carry On.
At a minimum, pack an extra shirt and undies with a small travel-sized toiletry set (deodorant,
8- Money: Don’t Wait Until You Get There To Get Local Currency.
Depending on where you are going, you may want to buy the local currency before leaving your home country.
The simple fact is, not all airports will have a place where you can exchange money. Although credit cards are taken almost everywhere, they won’t help you if you need to pay for a taxi ride or buy something where credit cards are not accepted. Also, your credit card might not work in those other countries. So be prepared.
You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches, searching for an A.T.M. at the last minute.
9- Don’t Forget To Bring A Copy of VITAL DOCUMENTS: Passport, Health Insurance, Credit Cards.
Carrying photocopies of vital documents can be a lifesaver.
Passport: when I lost my passport in Japan, I simply went to the nearest embassy, showed them a photocopy of my passport, and they were able to re-issue a new one more quickly than if I had shown up with nothing. All the information they needed to track down my passport was right there on the photocopy. My name, photo, passport number. I was very grateful I took the time to make the copies.
When I was in Thailand visiting my family, I went to get a sim card for my phone but forgot to bring my passport with me. Luckily, I had a photocopy of my passport, which was acceptable to the sales rep, and I was able to buy the SIM on the spot rather than going back to my hotel to get my actual passport.
Credit cards: If you lose your credit card, who do you call? Do you know the phone numbers by heart, your credit card number? With a photocopy, you have all the relevant info right at your fingertips.
Make sure you keep your photocopies secured or hidden someplace. I carry a printout, but I also put them on a small flash drive. I also keep them stored in the cloud in my google docs account at all times.
10- Don’t Bring Ice Picks or Scissors On The Plane
I’ve had nail clippers, knitting needles and small eyebrow grooming scissors confiscated from me even though they are not on the TSA list of prohibited items. When in doubt, just put sharp objects in your checked baggage. Here is the official list of things you can and can’t bring with you in your carry on and your checked luggage. TSA Prohibited Items List.
It’s Not That Hard
This might seem like a lot of things to remember, but it’s not. All the little things listed here have helped me save time, frustration and makes travelling so much easier.