What's Your Packing Tip?

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Kristen K.'s picture
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What's Your Packing Tip?

I put lots of thought and time into packing my bags before I leave home. However I always find myself scrambling at the last minute to shove everything back into my suitcase and get it closed before we have to check out of the hotel. Are you the same way? What's your best packing tip for getting everything back into your bags at the end of vacation?

crazycatperson's picture
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Here are mine:

1. If you plan on buying souvenirs etc., underpack on the trip down - make sure you leave room in your bags for the stuff you'll buy.

2. Pack to go home the same way you packed to come down - fold clothes neatly and organize everything. Even the dirty clothes. If you did laundry and only have a few dirty clothes going home, fold them neatly and put them in a plastic trash bag inside your suitcase, then put the clean clothes in the suitcase outside the plastic bag. If most of your stuff is dirty, just put it all in (folded and neat) and wash everything when you get home.

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I use those space saver bags. Last year I was able to do 10 nights with just a carry-on.

I have a packing list that I reuse and update and improve. It helps me not forget anything and limit what I take as well. I try to travel as light as possible without omitting what I really need or want.

I don't pack shirts for a couple of days because I know I'm going to buy T-shirts. Why carry extra shirts.

I apply that old adage, bring half as much clothing and twice as much money.

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My best packing tip? A Packing Spreadsheet!! (Looks like the Colonel uses one too!)

I have an Excel spreadsheet with checklist separated by object type (clothes, shoes, medications, accessories, etc.). I also include the quantity of each item brought (ie. 5 shirts, 2 shorts, 4 dresses, etc). I bring the list with me so I know what I brought and can check off items as I pack to go home.

Also, I love Ziplock freezer bags for toiletries and accessories. I put the bags on the shelves in the bathroom and take the items out as I need them. I'm a little OCD about putting things back where I got them from, so I find it easy to stay organized while on vacation.

You can tell I don't have kids, right? laugh awesome

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J.P. wrote:
My best packing tip? A Packing Spreadsheet!! (Looks like the Colonel uses one too!)

I have an Excel spreadsheet with checklist separated by object type (clothes, shoes, medications, accessories, etc.). I also include the quantity of each item brought (ie. 5 shirts, 2 shorts, 4 dresses, etc). I bring the list with me so I know what I brought and can check off items as I pack to go home.

Also, I love Ziplock freezer bags for toiletries and accessories. I put the bags on the shelves in the bathroom and take the items out as I need them. I'm a little OCD about putting things back where I got them from, so I find it easy to stay organized while on vacation.

You can tell I don't have kids, right? laugh awesome

I do the exact same thing!

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Courtney's picture
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I always pack one of those hanging shoe shelves from ikea. Just Velcro it over the closet rod and you have tons of space for toiletries, sunscreen and other odds & ends.

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we pack as light as possible no more than 3 of anything! But we always have to buy an extra case on the way back (we are from the UK) its all part of the holiday.

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I have Lori Grainer's (QVC) organiser bag, there are 5 organisers for different things eg. Toiletries. When I get to my destination, I just have to lift them out and hang them up. My husband and I take a small case each for clothes and then take a big bag between us to put bulky things in eg. Shoes, there is always loads of room in the bag on the way to Florida, but it is always full of shopping on the way back. laugh

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Courtney wrote:
I always pack one of those hanging shoe shelves from ikea. Just Velcro it over the closet rod and you have tons of space for toiletries, sunscreen and other odds & ends.

I love this idea awesome

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Courtney's picture
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http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/00193386/

I got the idea on a cuising chat board years ago. I have one that stays in the suitcase, it folds down and fits in the outside pocket. I never have to worry about counter space.

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I have a wonderful cosmetic bag from Joy Mangano that holds a lot of toiletries and stuff and rolls up to a nice easy to pack size. I also get a box from the gift shop at the hotel to pack my souveniers in and then I ship it home. It's worth the cost of shipping not to have to figure out how to get all of the items in my suitcase or carryon. And there is the added bonus of getting the package about a week after I get home and I take each item out one at a time and relive the trip all over again. This last time I went I actually shipped my c-pap machine (I have an extra one) to my hotel about a 10 days before we were due to arrive. I sent some items in the box with it so that it would be packed in tight. I used that space to pack my souveniers in when I shipped it back home. We flew Southwest who, at this time, bags fly free so I used that money to ship my c-pap machine. I find it more convenient and less stressful.

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I also use a very detailed packing list (Word file, not spreadsheet, but the concept is the same) and zipper bags to organize things. I don't bring a list to use when packing for the trip home, but I'm very OCD about triple checking drawers/closets/cabinets/shelves/under and over furniture/etc. before checking out so I don't leave things behind.

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We have always overpacked for everything and we try to stay 2 weeks, so we feel justified overpacking. Also on our last trip we also took some food.

We always fly Southwest so we each have 2 check-in bags free, and we stuff them. On our last trip we bought cheap large duffel bags from Walmart...

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Protege-32-Expandable-Rolling-Duffel-Bag-Black/11069689

They survived but were pretty tore up when we got home and we tossed them out. But they are so large that we really liked them and as cheap as they are($14) we don't mind only using them for one trip. So we bought 4 more for our upcoming trip. I expect to throw them out again when we get back.

This time I am going to order a case of water from Walmart just before we leave and have Walmart ship it to the resort. Try to time it so that it gets there the same time as we do. I figure that may not work out, but even with shipping it will only be $4.50 and with the price of bottled water in the parks, the saving will be big if it works out.

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I've been doing carry on so long i forgot how DME works. I know that once you check your bags going, you don't have to deal with them again until you get to the resort. What about going home. Do you check your bags with DME at the resort and then just pick them up when you get to your home airport? Or do you have to get them when you get off the bus and check them at the airport in Orlando?

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crazycatperson's picture
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We checked our bags at the resort before the trip home and didn't have to deal with them again until we reached our home airport.

DisneyDee27's picture
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I usually only pack for about 4 days worth of clothes. (Depending on how long we're staying or if we need cruise clothes.)
2 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of shorts, 4 or 5 shirts, two pairs of shoes unless we're cruising then add flip flops and dress shoes. I don't mind doing laundry while at the resorts or on the ships. I pack single use tide packs. My carryon is usually empty on the way down. I generally have all my electronics and cords(in the carryon) then I pack souvenirs in it on the way back.
We also buy at least one tshirt each trip. I've shipped boxes to the resorts and to the ships and have had no problems.
As the Colonel said take half as much clothing and twice as much money awesome

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The Colonel wrote:
I've been doing carry on so long i forgot how DME works. I know that once you check your bags going, you don't have to deal with them again until you get to the resort. What about going home. Do you check your bags with DME at the resort and then just pick them up when you get to your home airport? Or do you have to get them when you get off the bus and check them at the airport in Orlando?

It depends on what time your flight leaves. We had an early morning flight out so we would have had to trudge our bags to the resort check-in counter at an ungodly hour to have them take care of them, so we just brought our bags to the DME and they loaded them onto the bus for us.

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Kristen K. wrote:
I put lots of thought and time into packing my bags before I leave home. However I always find myself scrambling at the last minute to shove everything back into my suitcase and get it closed before we have to check out of the hotel. Are you the same way? What's your best packing tip for getting everything back into your bags at the end of vacation?

Going back to Kristen's original question on tips to back at the end of a vacation, if checked luggage cost isn't an issue (we LOVE Southwest), I always pack a rolling duffel bag in my checked luggage. The duffel bag already has its own luggage tag, and cable ties in one of its pocket. That way, if I end up buying too much and my luggage is in danger of exceeding the 50-lb limit, I simply transfer the dirty clothes, etc. to the duffel bag.

However, nothing can prevent last-minute panic other than making sure you start the night before with a little bit of packing done. I usually start packing the night before I leave on the stuff that I know I will not need the next morning. That way, it will already tell me if I need to use the duffel bag or not.

Zz.

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Kristen K.'s picture
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ZapperZ wrote:
Kristen K. wrote:
What's your best packing tip for getting everything back into your bags at the end of vacation?

Going back to Kristen's original question on tips to back at the end of a vacation,

Thank you! The thread sort of took on a life of it's own. laugh

I used to pack to go home the night before and it worked great, then I seemed to start booking the MNSSHP on the night before we left and everything sort of went to chaos! Maybe I just need to plan on not having a late night on the night right before we leave. Lately it has seemed like I'm always trying to squeeze out a little extra magic at the last minute.

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You mean just randomly throwing everything into your suitcase ten minutes before checkout isn't a strategy? biggrin

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sjco wrote:
You mean just randomly throwing everything into your suitcase ten minutes before checkout isn't a strategy? biggrin

rolling It is indeed a strategy! It's just not one that's been working for me.

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Mine is simple, take an extra case rolled up in your main case, that way no stuffing to get it back in, no will it or won't it fit questions. I always pay to bring an extra case back home with us for all the goodies we end up buying (even when we say we won't we ALWAYS do).

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When we went in September we also put a smaller suitcase inside of one of our bigger suitcases, and packed the smaller one. One our way home we then had another bag that was empty to put all of our new fun stuff into. Sadly we still didnt have enough room for all of the things we bought, so we had to get creative with our packing, BUT it worked!

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We drive, I totally overpack. We just pack the bed of the truck full. I am terrible! I want to make sure that I have something for anything that might come up. I get in vacation mindset. When we get to WDW it feels like we have left all civilization and that I will not be able to get things I need. I know, it is crazy.

I have a packing list for the kids, but I wing it for us. On our last day we do a late lunch ADR usually, head to the resort early and have dinner there. We then rent some movies there (DVC so n/c) have pop corn and hot chocolate there for the kids in the room to entertain them while we pack up everything except what we need to use and wear the next day.

I TOTALLY understand about trying to squeeze every ounce of magic that you can out of your vacation! It KILLS me to leave the parks early on our last day. But after we buy the hot chocolate and pop corn from the park, usually on our way out, it is fun to enjoy it while spending time in the room.

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I always take one entire outfit per person and put it into someone else's suitcase. That way, should, say, my son's suitcase get misplaced by the airline, he has at least one full day's clothing. Knock wood, it hasn't been an issue, but it's an easy precaution.

As to what I bring, I always include:
- a power strip for all the chargers
- one of those hanging sweater organizers...kind of like this: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=17038184 It keeps all the shoes, keys, hats, and whatever in an easy to find place.

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Aliceacc wrote:
I always take one entire outfit per person and put it into someone else's suitcase. That way, should, say, my son's suitcase get misplaced by the airline, he has at least one full day's clothing.

What a great idea!

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WDWfanatic wrote:
We drive, I totally overpack. We just pack the bed of the truck full. I am terrible! I want to make sure that I have something for anything that might come up. I get in vacation mindset. When we get to WDW it feels like we have left all civilization and that I will not be able to get things I need. I know, it is crazy.

I have a packing list for the kids, but I wing it for us. On our last day we do a late lunch ADR usually, head to the resort early and have dinner there. We then rent some movies there (DVC so n/c) have pop corn and hot chocolate there for the kids in the room to entertain them while we pack up everything except what we need to use and wear the next day.

I TOTALLY understand about trying to squeeze every ounce of magic that you can out of your vacation! It KILLS me to leave the parks early on our last day. But after we buy the hot chocolate and pop corn from the park, usually on our way out, it is fun to enjoy it while spending time in the room.

Aliceacc wrote:
I always take one entire outfit per person and put it into someone else's suitcase. That way, should, say, my son's suitcase get misplaced by the airline, he has at least one full day's clothing. Knock wood, it hasn't been an issue, but it's an easy precaution.

As to what I bring, I always include:
- a power strip for all the chargers
- one of those hanging sweater organizers...kind of like this: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=17038184 It keeps all the shoes, keys, hats, and whatever in an easy to find place.

LOVE both of these ideas and am totally stealing them!

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OOOO yes, I like the 1 outfit idea too!!! We drive to WDW but we fly across the country to see my family, GREAT IDEA!

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Oohh, thanks every for these great tips! I am a terrible packer and ALWAYS overpack because I can never decide what I'll want to wear and then I end up buying things that hardly fit on the way home... gosh I am a mess. Lol!

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When I check luggage, I always pack a bathing suit in my carry-on so I can hit the pool as soon as I get to the resort.

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I have two. Do laundry before packing for some reason that I've been unable to figure out clean clothes are easier to pack & take up less space than dirty clothes. The other is get an Owner's Locker. I just met my locker for the first time in January & my suitcases lost serious weight when packing to come home because A LOT of what I brought with me got left behind in my locker. The best part is that once my locker is fully stocked I won't be packing much besides clothes, toiletries & electronics.