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7 Practical packing tips

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

It's all in the planning

Packing can be one of the most stressful parts of planning a vacation. But armed with our favorite tips, you'll pack only what you need and none of what you don't. Here are seven tips to get your vacation off on the right foot.

It's all in the planning1. Bring reusable water bottles

Not only will they come in handy when you get to your destination (you'll be able to refill them with water no matter where you are), you can also stuff them with small, important items (like jewelry or passport information) for your journey. And because they're sturdy and waterproof, no damage will come to whatever is inside.

2. Pack your (Ziploc) bags

Always remember Ziploc bags. They'll come in handy when you're packing food for a day trip or when you're moving from one hotel to another (and need to throw your toiletries in something that won't leak). They're also durable (so if you throw stuff on top of them, they won't tear instantly).

3. Pick sweat-wicking clothes

If your vacation destination is hot during the day but cooler at night, pack clothes made of sweat-wicking material (such as organic cotton or Dri-Fit). They'll keep you cool and dry, and are easily layered to keep you warm. As a bonus, they're lightweight and won't take up a ton of room in your suitcase.

4. Share your bags

Split up your clothes when traveling with others. That way, if one suitcase gets lost, you'll still have clothes to get you through the beginning of your vacation. Roll your clothes when packing to save space and keep clothes wrinkle free.

5. Double up

To make your suitcase lighter, pack dual-purpose items. Buy body wash you can use as shampoo and conditioner. Invest in moisturizing sunscreen. Grab a few small bottles of Polysporin eye drops to clear eye infections, cuts and scrapes.

6. Cut in half

When you're going away for a week or two, lay everything you think you'll need out on your bed. Then, cut the amount by half. People almost always overpack. By doing this exercise, you'll get a visual understanding of the things you really need. Another tip: Pack only two pairs of shoes -- one for day and one for night. Add sandals if you're going somewhere warm.

7. Protect your personal information

Suitcases get lost. Purses get stolen. So plan for those moments by making copies of your important information (passport, hotel reservations, travelers' checks, etc.). Scan them and email them to yourself. Leave a photocopy at home for loved ones. That way, if anything happens, your details are easily accessible.

More about traveling:

Traveling abroad with babies
The reluctant vacationer
Sexiest summer excursions

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