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Travel Checklist : Top Tips on Packing for Your Next Trip

young woman packing for vacationSo you are going on vacation, and you have all of your travel plans confirmed -- airline flight, hotel check-in and check-out times, pamphlets and brochures on sightseeing excursions, and passport have been tucked away in a safe place.

What about packing?

You now have to try and fit a week or two’s worth of clothing, personal care items, and accessories into a suitcase -- all while making every effort to stay within your baggage and weight limits as directed by the airline.

Here are a few packing tips that are sure to ease the stress of packing so you can relax and enjoy your time away.

1. Contact the airline or visit their website before you start to pack. Remember that some airlines may charge for overweight luggage of more than 50 lbs. - to tune of $50 or more EACH.

TIP - An easy way to weigh your luggage is to step on the bathroom scale and weigh yourself. Note your weight, then pick up your luggage and weigh yourself again. Subtract the first number from the second number to find out how much your luggage weighs.

Finally, make allowances for the accuracy of your bathroom scale and be sure that you are at least several pounds under the limit. This is especially important if you are planning to return home with souvenirs or additional clothing for yourself or loved ones. To see how much your airline charges for overweight luggage check out The Ultimate Guide to Airline Fees.

2. Find out what the forecast will be in the area you will be staying -- day and night. Lay out everything you want to bring before packing, including light thermals if it gets chilly and a small umbrella tote, just in case.

TIP - Do not waste time neatly folding your clothes -- roll them up. This not only saves space but helps prevent wrinkles, saving you the chore of ironing while on vacation.

3. Pack at least one plastic bag to keep your dirty and wet clothing in. (You may also want to bring a few dryer sheets to help keep your suitcase smelling good on the way back.)

4. To prevent leaks from any liquids, shampoos, toothpaste or makeup, put them in resealable plastic bags and pack heavy items such as shoes, jeans and jackets at the bottom of your suitcase.

TIP - Speaking of liquids, as of January 2015 passengers are still limited to a maximum of 3.4 oz. containers of any liquid while traveling. For the most updated US information see the TSA Liquids Rule.

5. Be prepared if your airline loses or misdirects your luggage, and don't put anything in your checked luggage that you don't want to part with -- including your prescription medications, laptop or cell phone (also see business trip packing tips).

TIP - On arrival at your destination airport, the majority of luggage coming down the carousel is almost guaranteed to be black. Help distinguish your bag from a sea of similar-looking luggage by tying a brightly colored ribbon to the handle of your bag to more quickly identify it.

6. Finally, make sure to pack all of your travel documents in a separate compartment in your carry-on (not your suitcase) so that when you are inevitably asked ... "Passport, please?" at airport departure you'll know exactly where it find it.

Happy travels!

More about travel packing around the Web:

Packing Smart and Traveling Light

Ten Smart Packing Tips

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