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Tips for Efficiently Packing for Holiday Travel

Winter, ski holidays, travel - family with baggage ready for theWhile some people will be celebrating the holidays in the comfort of their own homes, the rest of us will be joining the 85.8 million people (according to AAA) on our nation's highways and airways trying to make it in time for the carving of the turkey or the singing of the carols.

And in order to get to our holiday destinations with all of the right clothing, shoes and gifts, you have to be an efficient packer. Not everyone is born with this gift, so here are some suggestions for getting where you're going with your favorite sweater and enough underwear.

1. Use every square inch
If you're traveling by car, keeping your baggage to a minimum will help keep everything accessible and keep everyone comfortable during the drive. No one wants to have to sit by a giant bulging suitcase on a 19-hour trip to Florida. Trust me. It's not pleasant.

And with airlines charging an arm and leg for checked baggage, you're going to want to bring as little as possible.

Try folding your T-shirts like this to get more in your bags and less out of your wallet.

2. Mix-and-match your wardrobe choices
Whether you're headed to Grandma's or to a sunny beach getaway for the holidays, you're going to want to look your best. But bringing your whole wardrobe isn't always the best idea—see #1. So, in order to be the fashionista you aspire to be without using all of your souvenir money on checked baggage, find ways to mix-and-match your clothing.

Try choosing a single color palette and mixing and matching different items throughout your trip. Take one item like a skirt, and pair it with different shirts, shoes and accessories to create one-of-a-kind outfits. Stylebookapp.com offers some more suggestions on how to switch up a few pieces and limit what you pack.

3. Pack the essentials
It would be nice to be able to bring your whole kitchen, pharmacy and bookshelf with you on your long trip, but it isn't exactly practical. Whether you're traveling a few hours away or to an exotic location, you'll want to think about what you need to survive.

If you drink green tea every morning and won't be near your favorite coffee shop or grocery store, then pack some powdered drink mix or tea bags that you can easily pour into a water bottle or cup of hot water. If you have trouble sleeping in strange places (have you seen Aunt Sally's guest room), then pack things that will help you nod off and get your recommended eight hours. Try bringing sleep aids, your own pillowcase and ear plugs to make bedtime a pleasant experience.

4. Pack kid-friendly items
If you're traveling with children, you're going to want to think ahead and pack items that will help you not only keep them clean and presentable for when you actually get to Grandma's, but items that will keep them happy and entertained while traveling.

Things like disposable bibs for little ones (and not-so-little-ones) are great for messy dinners and strained beets. It's also important to pack healthy, protein-packed snacks that will fill hungry tummies, especially when there's nowhere to stop and eat a meal. Here are some other suggestions for packing and planning when traveling with children. Back To Top

About the Author

Jessa McClure

Jessa McClure

Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects. 

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