It’s that time of year — summer vacation! Whether you’ll be heading out for a long weekend, taking a road trip, or flying somewhere exotic, it’s never too early to start putting together those handy pre-travel to-do and packing lists. While we’ve posted before about the importance of packing light, here are seven pre-packing tips that will help start your trip off on the right foot!
1. Charge up any electronic devices (cameras, phones, tablets, etc.) as well as any extra batteries. Finding an outlet in an airport or a campground can be quite a challenge.
2. Invest in extra batteries and extra memory cards for your camera. Missing that awesome travel photo because you ran out of juice or memory card space isn’t worth saving $10 or $20, especially considering that your trip may cost 100 times more than that!
3. Consider buying a portable USB charger that will power up a device when you can’t or don’t have time to plug it in. It’s about the size of a pack of gum, and at about $25 is well worth the peace of mind it brings.
4. Download books to your e-reader while you have a reliable Internet connection — at home! We love to check out CD audiobooks from our public library and then transfer them to our devices so that we can listen to them on road trips. Loading some e-books, audiobooks, and/or some of your favorite music on your smartphone can eliminate the need to pack another device!
5. Buy some items at home rather than at your destination. If you’re checking luggage, packing sunscreen purchased at home will probably be cheaper than buying it at the gift shop on the beach. Pain relievers, other over-the-counter medicines, and even travel snacks like granola bars, dried fruit, snack mix, candy, and gum are bound to be cheaper at your local grocery than at airport kiosks. We’ve packed (plastic) jars of peanut butter and dry pasta to save money. Stock up before you go, slap on the sunscreen you bought at home, and use the money you saved to pay for a piña colada on the beach!
6. Toss in some silverware and water bottles. Filling your bottle with free tap water and ice (on road trips, we often fill them at convenience store fountain drink dispensers) saves $ compared to buying beverages, and reusable silverware can turn a grocery store stop into a picnic. Some of our best travel meals have been al fresco, eating local groceries with our cheap travel silverware while sipping water out of our well-traveled bottles (and yes, we drink the local water wherever we go!).
7. Pack a few travel games. As mentioned in a previous post, are free ways to pass some time before dinner, sitting poolside, or while waiting for a delayed flight, and kids love them!
We hope that these tips save you a few headaches, help make your trip less stressful and more enjoyable, and even save you some money that you can either set aside for your next trip or use to enjoy this one, whether it’s for a week or a weekend!