Posted May 2, 2014 by SmarterTravel.com
Digging out your suitcase, deciding what to bring, panicking that you've forgotten something—it's no way to start a trip. That's why we've distilled the art of packing down to nine essential tips that will transform the way you pack, even if you're a lazy procrastinator.
Never Unpack Your Travel Items
You probably won't need your adapter, inflatable neck pillow, or mini laundry bag in daily life, so why bother unpacking them? Leave all of your travel items in your suitcase after a trip. That way, they'll be in your bag and ready to go when you need them. Plus, you won't have to worry about forgetting them if they're already packed.
Commit to a Travel Uniform
I wear the same outfit every time I fly. I know that it's comfortable, presentable, and warm—key elements whether you're in the air for an hour or for 20 hours. Choose something from your wardrobe and commit to making it your travel uniform. That way, you won't have to stress over at least one outfit on your trip—you can just pull it on and go.
Keep a Basket Handy
Do you wait until the last minute to pack? Keep a basket in your bedroom, laundry room, or bathroom that you can use to throw in items you'll need to pack as you come across them. This makes you less likely to forget these items; plus, you can just toss the contents of the basket(s) into your suitcase when you panic-pack right before leaving for the airport.
Buy Wrinkle-Free Clothing
You won't need to worry about carefully packing your items of clothing if they're made from wrinkle-free fabrics. Ball them up in your suitcase, crumple them at the bottom of your carry-on, whatever—you'll still look fresh and pulled together when you arrive in your destination.
Drop Off Your Laundry at a Laundromat
Anyone who lives in an apartment or a house without a washer/dryer is familiar with the joys of the "wash and fold" service that many laundromats offer. Simply drop off your dirty clothes and return a few hours later to collect your clean, perfectly folded laundry. The beauty of this service? You can simply drop the crisply folded clothing into your suitcase—no need to wash and fold clothing on your own. If you're really lazy, many Laundromats offer door-to-door services: You can have your dirty laundry picked up, cleaned, and delivered to you without ever leaving the house.
Keep Old Packing Lists
Odds are you end up taking trips that require you to pack similar items. Keep old packing lists from former vacations to the beach, ski resort, and city—that way, you'll always have a list of at least the basics. The best way to do this is to save lists on your computer or smartphone, so you're not scrambling to remember where you left handwritten packing lists.
(Photo: Toiletries Bag via Shutterstock)
Pre-Pack Your Toiletries Case
You know those small product samples that come free with purchase, after your haircut, or from the dentist (travel-sized toothpaste, anyone)? Keep those in your toiletries bag for the next time you travel. You can even take the hotel toiletries—keep them in your bag and you won't have to worry about decanting all your regular products into 3-1-1-sized bottles for your next flight.
Schedule a Packing Time
Time can get away from you before a trip, what with making sure that you're caught up at work, at home, and with the other responsibilities of daily life. Schedule a night well in advance of departure to pack. That way, you're not frantically last-minute packing at 1:00 a.m. on the day that you leave.
Buy Stuff When You Arrive
Decide that at your destination, you'll buy any toiletries or anything else you were too lazy to pack. The downside: You'll waste time, exert effort, and spend money to obtain these things while on your trip. But hey, that's a problem for future you, right?
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This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title Nine Packing Tips for Lazy People.
Follow Caroline Morse on Google+ or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Posted September 19, 2013 by SmarterTravel.com
Earn your vacation black belt with these hacks that turn free items
into quick solves for common travel problems. From using a bar of soap
to fix a stuck zipper to repurposing a hotel-room standard as a security
device, hone your road-warrior survival skills with these easy tips. We
know you've got more clever ideas too, so please share them with us and
other readers in the comments section below!
Shower Cap as Shoe Cover
Flimsy shower cap, or custom shoe cover? You decide. In every
suitcase, there's a constant battle between dirty and clean items. Score
a victory for fresh-smelling shirts and dirt-free trousers by keeping
your shoes contained in a shower cap. Place them in, soles down, and let
the shower cap's elastic band cradle the shoes so that any dirt,
grease, or unidentified muck stays safely tucked away inside the plastic
pouch. Depending on the type and size of your shoes, you may need more
than one shower cap, but housekeeping is usually pretty generous with
Bar Soap as Zipper Unsticker
There's nothing quite like the startling claustrophobia that comes
from having a stuck zipper. Whether it's on a suitcase, a boot, or an
article of clothing, a zipper that won't budge almost seems to be
personally reminding you that, when it comes right down to it, it can
trap you at any time. Reclaim control by grabbing the little bar of soap
that rests on every hotel room's bathroom counter. Rub the dry bar
against the teeth of the zipper to lubricate it enough to move. Once the
zipper is unstuck, rub the soap up and down against the length of each
zipper side, and then zip and unzip a few times to prevent further
sticking. Then dust off the flakes and give yourself a high five.
Doorstop as Security Device
Little rubber doorstops hide out behind hotel-room doors, waiting for
fleeting moments of glory. And while the unassuming devices are put
there so guests can prop open their doors, they're just as effective at
keeping doors shut. So if you want an added level of security when you
turn in for the night, wedge the doorstop under the bolted door. Voila,
you've just added an additional lock.
Shampoo as Leather Polish
Travel can be hard on leather shoes, purses, belts, and jackets, so
if you find yours looking worse for the wear while you're on the road,
turn to your hotel bathroom for a quick fix. Liquid shampoo has an
amazing superpower: A small amount, rubbed in circles with a cloth, can
clean and restore the rich color of leather. And though we've never
tested it, we've also heard that it can be a handy and quick way to
protect leather shoes from winter salt stains.
Bar Soap as Bite Relief
Bugs always seem to be on vacation, which explains why so many people
return from their travels covered in bites. Spare yourself a trip to
the pharmacy and treat an itchy bug bite with a basic bar of soap from
your hotel room. Simply wet the bar a bit, rub it on the bite, and let
it dry. Some people recommend rubbing the dry bar directly onto the
bite, so experiment to see which method offers more itch relief. Take it
with you and you'll have the perfect travel-bite remedy, since as a
solid, your trusty miniature bar of soap isn't subject to the TSA
regulations that itch-relief gels and creams must follow.
Airplane Socks as Scratch Protectors
You know the socks you often get on overseas flights? The ones that
don't fit quite right and come with weird treads that make them
impossible to wear with shoes? Give them new purpose by keeping a pair
on hand to protect items from getting chipped or scratched in transit.
They're the perfect size to hold the trinkets you pick up on your
travels—the ones that don't need to be enveloped in bubble wrap but do
need a bit of extra protection before being tossed into your bag. And in
a pinch, they can serve as a handy alternative to a glasses case in
your bag or purse.
Baggage Tag as Lint Remover
Didn't bring a lint roller (and don't travel with duct tape)? No
problem, you're still likely traveling with an item that can do double
duty and help you get out the door fluff-, lint-, and animal-hair-free.
Just carefully remove the long baggage-tracking sticker from your
suitcase handle, wrap it around your hand with the sticky side facing
out, and blot at any area of clothing that needs cleaning.
Conditioner as Shaving Cream
This nonprofit please-touch museum is actually the world's largest pinball-machine collection.
In 10,000 square feet of space, find an assortment of more than 200
pinball machines and arcade games from a half century of gaming history.
And every game is playable—including an original Ms. Pac-Man from 1981
and Super Mario Bros. from 1985, plus the wooden 1947 Heavy Hitter.
Admission is free, although the games are coin-op (25 or 50 cents per
play). Just arm yourself with the knowledge that all excess revenue goes
to charity. Who knew doing good could feel like such good old-fashioned
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