Thinking about going on a trip? Do it! But before you take off, plan a few things to ensure you’ll have the most relaxing, efficient, and fun time possible. When it comes to packing, travelers around the world agree on these tips that will lighten your load and make your trip feel more relaxing.

Carry as little as possible if you want to feel freer. If you can, taking only a carry on is the best way to avoid both extra physical effort and paying more in baggage fees. Small, disposable products such as deodorant, toothbrushes, and the like, can typically be purchased at your destination and then left behind once you leave. Buying travel sizes can eliminate waste, and many hotel concierges have samples you can use.

 

Since you’re traveling light on the way over, consider buying an empty suitcase once you reach your destination, then packing souvenirs in it.

To avoid an unexpected chill in the air once at your destination, packing a warm but lightweight scarf or sarong to wear around your shoulders if there is an uncomfortable breeze. This move saves you the bulk of carrying a coat.

For the best night’s sleep in a new place, be sure to pack ear plugs and a sleep mask. If your hotel room is next to the bright lights of Las Vegas, for example, you’ll still sleep soundly. These items also come in handy on planes and in airports at times.

When packing, consider using plastic bags to separate items — especially future dirty laundry. Plastic is also helpful when carrying dirty shoes and other items that might soil your clean clothing.

As a safety precaution, make copies of important documents such as your passport. Even if you are traveling domestically, carrying a passport can be useful, and having a copy of it is crucial in case the original is lost. Taking photos is another way to document things you might lose or lose track of, such as papers, luggage, your car’s parking spot at the airport, etc.   

If traveling domestically, consider bringing an extension cord. Depending on your hotel, it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether you will have enough access to outlets, and electronics such as laptops, phones, and iPods all need charging.

If you’re not especially concerned about how you look, you might wear older clothing on the way to your dream vacation spot, then leaving them behind on your way back. This serves two purposes: You’ll have the peace of mind that spills and tears don’t matter, and you might have some extra room in your suitcase.  

Make a list of everything you’ll need. You’ll want to do this before the moment you have to start packing, as it gives your mind time to reflect and process. Making and following such a list ensures peace of mind and a happier trip when something crucial is not left behind accidentally.

Know our airline’s (or train’s or ship’s or bus’s) baggage policy. Knowing exactly what you can and cannot pack will prevent you from having to leave something valuable (or at least necessary) behind at the airport. Spare yourself the hassle and know ahead of time how much and what you can take.

And, of course, use hotels.com to book your destination lodging. With its rewards program, easy-to-use website, and hundreds of other useful features, hotels.com is the best place to find great room options and prices with ease.