Hi, I'm Barbara!

I'm passionate about travel. Here I document my adventures, provide helpful tips for how to plan your dream vacation, and offer insights from my 30+ years as a professional travel agent.

Packing Like a Pro

Packing Like a Pro

When you're planning a vacation and packing your luggage, it's essential to check over your itinerary carefully. Write a list of the items you think you'll need, and then cut it in half. We all-too-often tend to pack far more than we'll ever need (I mean, who hasn't made the mistake of bringing 4 sundresses on a 3-day trip to a foreign city, just in case?). 

Because of this, you end up wasting valuable packing space that could be used for, say, a couple bottles of that wine you liked so much. Over-packing is one of the cardinal sins of international and domestic travel – and you can avoid it by following some of my suggestions below.

Pack According to Your Itinerary

For example: 

1. A day at the beach: pack a bathing suit, some sunblock, a hat, etc. on the top of your bag.

2. A visit to religious sites: women should pack a shawl or another clothing item that covers the shoulders, and depending on where your destination is, bring a long skirt or pants that cover the knees. For men, long sleeves and pants that cover the knees as well.

3. A walking tour: MAKE SURE to pack your most comfortable walking shoes! Many a walking tour have been ruined by the agony of blistered feet from wearing the wrong pair of shoes. It's also important to bring light and airy clothing in the summer, and some warm layers in the winter. And of course, a camera! 

Babs' Travel-Hacking Tip:
The best thing for a tour is to look at the itinerary in reverse and pack from the last day to the first. Order your items by day, from the bottom of the suitcase to the top. This way, you'll have day one's outfit on the very top of your bag at the beginning of your trip!

Pack with Souvenirs in Mind

We've all fallen prey to the idea of "packing for every occasion" while preparing for a trip – especially if it's a long trip. And this can seem appealing, having the perfect outfit for any and every potential occasion. But in reality, it's simply not practical to pack this way. 

Keep in mind that you'll likely want to bring back a treasure trove of travel goodies with you. But if your suitcase is full from the moment you zip it up, how will you be able to fit anything you find along the way? This is why it's particularly important to avoid this packing pitfall. Leave some extra room in your suitcase for whatever surprises await you!

Pack Multi-Use Pieces

It can be tempting to pack all 7 colors of your favorite top, but unless you plan on wearing the same bottom every day, you'll only want to take items of clothing you can easily mix and match together. Choose coordinating colors to avoid overloading your suitcase. You can also re-wear clothes and swap out your pieces to have more options!

Pack for Your Destination

If you're traveling to a warm-weathered destination during the summer, you probably won't have to plan for rainy weather. Even still, it pays to check the weather before you pack. Having a rain poncho (which you can find at any dollar store) is a much better option than a heavy raincoat. But if you're planning a stay in a place with cooler temperatures, you might want to have a light rain-jacket on hand, especially if your trip includes time spent outdoors. 

Need Some More Advice? 

These are just a few tips to make the process of elimination easier. The well-travelled among us are often excellent packers and know how to travel light. Then there are those (like myself) who always tend towards overpacking. But if you follow these tips, you'll be well on your way to packing like a pro in no time! 

When it comes to planning a trip, whether you're going on a local cruise or jet-setting transatlantic, it always pays to have someone who can guide you through all the various scenarios you might encounter. That's where I come in. With decades of travel experience under my belt, my passion is helping other people experience all the wonders this world has to offer. To start planning your next trip, call me today at 770-740-9099 or email me at

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