Although many of us love to travel, very few of us love to pack. As with most things – if you have a plan things will be easier and less stressful. A good traveler’s goal is to carry the bare essentials and leave the excess at home.

A vacation packing checklist can make your whole vacation run much smoother and be more fun. You can master the art of packing what you need with this check list from Rick Steves.

Here is some more savvy advice from travel guru Rick Steves.

Packing 101:  Spread out everything you think you might need on the living-room floor. Pick up each item one at a time and scrutinize it. Ask yourself, “Will I really use this snorkel and these fins enough to justify carrying them around all summer?” Not “Will I use them?” but “Will I use them enough to feel good about hauling them around?”

Don’t pack for the worst-case scenario. Pack for the best-case scenario and simply buy yourself out of any jams. Bring layers rather than take a heavy coat. Think in terms of what you can do without — not what will be handy on your trip.

Thanks to Lissie at Hub Pages for a short list of what NOT to take with you:

  • Anything you are taking “just in case”. If you happen to get a last minute invite to the Queen’s Garden Party in England ladies will need a hat – take the opportunity to go shopping!
  • A cellphone unless you know it work at your destination and you know what the roaming charges are.
  • Anything electronic unless you are sure you can plug them in and charge them at your destination.
  • Anything you are sentimentally attached to,  particularly jewelery – you may have it stolen, but far more likely you may just misplace it or leave it behind.

One final thing to remember as you prepare for a trip: No one ever came back from vacation saying “I wish my suitcase had been heavier!”

Photo courtesy of  Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net