Packing is definitely not the most fun part of going on vacation. Quite frankly, it can be a drag. This handy article will help you get organized so you can focus on that much-needed rest and relaxation. 

What to Know Before You Pack

Before you pack, you’ll want to decide if you’ll be checking a bag or only taking a carry-on. You will want to avoid checking a bag if you have any layovers as the likelihood of your bag going missing increases with every connection.

In case you are separated from your checked bag, you should always make sure that you have items in your carry-on such as identification, wallet, house keys, medications, valuables, camera, phone, laptop, tablet, pen, and glasses.

Size dimensions for carry-on bags vary from airline to airline. Most domestic airlines permit a carry-on piece of luggage that is 22"x 14"x 9" and weighs 40 pounds or less, as well as a bag small enough to fit under your seat (i.e., backpack). If you’re unsure, call the airline or check their web site.

The Transport Security Administration has strict rules on the amount of liquid passengers are permitted to check and/or carry on. You are allowed to bring liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. However, containers must be travel-sized (3.4 ounces or less) and placed in a clear bag that is no larger than quart-sized.

Amazon sells TSA-approved travel bottle sets, or you can purchase your shampoo, body wash, contact solution, etc., in travel size. Alternatively, there are solid versions of shampoo and conditioner (who’da thunk?!).

Just a warning that any carry-on liquid, aerosol, gel, cream, or paste that alarms during screening will require additional screening. Not only is this a time-suck, but security will toss any items that exceed size limit.

Containers larger than 3.4 ounces must be packed in checked luggage.

If you’ve booked a vacation longer than five days, you may need more toiletries than airport security will allow you to carry on. If you’ve already planned to check bags, it’s best to pack any items that are liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in that luggage.

Three of the major domestic airlines (American, Delta, United) have the same policies for domestic checked bags: $30 for the first checked bag, $40 for the second, and $150 for the third. Bags between 51 and 70 pounds cost an additional $100, and those between 71 and 100 pounds add $200 to any fees you paid. The first two checked bags are complimentary on Southwest and a third bag is $75.

If you want to avoid checked bag costs but must-have items that exceed a quart-sized baggie, here’s a tip: Ship items to your destination. Hotels will hold deliveries for guests, and it’s more affordable to mail items than it is to check bags.

What to Pack

For a shorter vacation, you can probably manage with the following:

  • 1 pair of underwear and socks (per day)
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • 1-2 dressier outfits
  • 1-2 casual outfits
  • 1-2 activewear outfits
  • 1-2 pairs of shoes

For a longer trip (a week or more), you can manage with:

  • 1 pair of underwear and socks (per day)
  • 2 pairs of pajamas
  • 3 dressier outfits
  • 3-4 casual outfits
  • 2 activewear outfits
  • 2 pairs of shoes

In most situations, you can wear the same shirt more than once before washing it, and your jeans multiple times before washing them. Many hotels offer laundry service or have laundry rooms; if you’re able to do a load laundry on your trip, you can probably manage with fewer clothes to lighten the luggage.

Standard toiletries:

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body wash or bar soap
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Contact solution and case
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Razor
  • Nail clippers and nail file
  • Brush and hair elastics

If you have to do any work while you’re on vacation (ugh!), you won’t want to forget your laptop and power adapter. And, of course, you’ll want to take any charging cables and wall adapters for your smart devices.

The items to pack will vary depending on the type of vacation you’re taking. If your vacation involves a hike or skiing, you’ll need to pack related items. If you’re traveling to a warm destination, pack a bathing suit or swim trunks and sunscreen. If you’re going somewhere cold, pack a jacket and maybe even a hat and gloves. Adjust your list accordingly.

Parking Your Vehicle

Now that you have a list of essentials to pack and what to pack them in, you’ll want to know about where to park your vehicle for the long-term.

The cost to park away from the airport is more affordable than paying airport parking rates. The go-to service for off-airport parking is Parkway Parking. With more than 150 garages and lots across the country, it’s likely they have affiliates near your airport. To meet demand, Parkway Parking is adding locations daily.

Parkway Parking has a lowest price guarantee for near-airport parking. They work with safe and secure affiliates, so not only will you have peace of mind knowing a spot is waiting for you, but your vehicle will be in good hands once parked.

Current customers have raved about the affordable prices, security of lots, ease of making a reservation, and service convenience. As an added bonus, many of Parkway Parking’s affiliates offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport.

Parkway Parking recommends booking ahead, but they can accommodate last-minute requests based on availability. Reserving your space is a breeze! Parkway Parking’s online portal is protected so that you can enter your account information and form of payment safely. If you prefer to reserve over the phone, call a friendly parking specialist at (888) 399-9267.