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It is getting to be vacation time for us northerners. I am not talking the big trips, we save those for the winter, I am talking fun short trips. Trips to the beach, long weekends on the Vineyard, etc. I know for me, packing is a huge pain. You don't want to take too much, but then you also may need that black dress. The best way to pack is to really know where you are going to be staying and what you will be doing. I am all for spontaneity, but knowing a good part of your trip can ease the packing woes.

For starters, where are you staying? Are you renting a house? Did you choose a nice hotel or B&B? This matters as you can use their amenities to your advantage. For example, if the hotel or house you are staying at has a laundry facility, your packing changes completely. You just don't need to bring that much as you can quickly wash it or have the staff wash it for you. This is well worth the few dollars, trust me. This allows you to bring a lot less clothes and will also make less laundry for when you get home. I hate that after vaca laundry dance, ugh.

You can also head to any big box store and grab travel size of almost any kind of soap and shampoo. If they do not have your brand, grab it anyway. You can empty out the bottle when you get home and add in your specific shampoo or conditioner. You will be amazed at how much space this saves in your bags. It is also a great idea to grab a travel toiletry bag. You can keep everything neat and clean in there and if you do happen to have a spill, you can clean it up quick and it will not ruin your clothing. You can also unscrew the tops of your bottles and place a small amount of cling wrap to the bottle and then elastic it. This will make sure no spills occur just incase those tops screw off. **Cling wrap is also great for laying out your jewelry on sheets and placing another layer over the top. This makes your chains stay in place with no tangles when you travel!

Shoes have to be the worst part. These are better packed first so you can stow items in their soles. Make sure the shoes you are wearing when you leave the house are ones you will be wearing on your trip too. Try to limit it to 2 pairs. One for everyday, one for evening. Wrap them in plastic bags and place in bottom. You can then fill in the soles with other items to save space.

You should also pack a few extra plastic bags in case you bring home dirty clothes or shoes. You can keep them wrapped up and separate from your normal clothes. Also, do not forget the sunscreen, bug spray, and a small first aid kit.