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Packing 101

Let's face it, packing for a trip can get stressful. If you tend to madly rifle through piles of clothes only to bring a bunch of stuff that you end up not even wearing, you're not alone. The next time you take a trip, leave the packing stress behind. Prepare and pack like a pro with these space and time-saving tips.

Preparation

Before you even start packing, check the weather at your destination. There's no use packing your favorite sundress if you're headed for a snowy locale. After you've scoped out the forecast, look at some pictures of the place you're going. Pay attention to how people dress in the photos to get an idea of the local style. Dressing for your location helps you not to stand out as an uninformed tourist. Once you've got the weather and the style down, start making a list. This helps you stay organized and keeps you from forgetting essentials.

Essential Pieces

When you're deciding on what clothes to bring, stay in the same color family to get more variety out of your vacation wardrobe and help limit the number of shoes and accessories. That way, you can mix and match pieces for different looks throughout your vacation. Bring a pair of black pants or a black skirt that can go with different tops, and pack a few bright, stand-out accessories to jazz up your look when you need to. Also, pack pieces you can layer for temperature changes: tank tops, T-shirts, button-up sweaters, long-sleeve shirts and shawls. Pack at least one nice outfit, because you never know when you might have the chance for a fancy dinner or show.

Space Savers

Roll your clothes instead of folding them to save space and help prevent wrinkles. If you're going on an extended trip and need to bring lots of bulky items, get a few vacuum-sealed storage bags to hold outfits. Also, put socks and underwear in smaller resealable plastic bags, then sit on them to press out all the air.

Smart Packing

Once you've decided what you're bringing, count your outfits, then count the number of days you'll be gone. If there's a discrepancy, then you've either overpacked or underpacked. In this case, walk away for a while and get a fresh perspective, then come back to decide what stays and what goes. Once you've made a final decision, throw in a few extra resealable plastic bags to hold dirty laundry, and you're good to go.

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