No matter where you’re headed this holiday season, you’re going to need to pack smart. After all, overweight and oversized bags could cost you dearly (and who wants to cut into the presents-and-eggnog fund?). Read on to find out what to pack for a stress-free holiday vacation, what to leave behind, and how you can download our editable packing list to keep with you on-the-go.
Happy holidays—and, of course, happy travels from all of us at SmarterTravel!
What to Pack for Cold-Weather Trips
What to Pack for Warm-Weather Trips
Make sure what you’re packing matches the climate of your destination—the fluffy hats and cozy sweaters that are a hallmark of the season won’t do you much good visiting family in Orlando. Some trips will require hats, gloves, winter coats, and snow boots while others will require swimsuits, sunblock, and sandals.
In addition to the weather, keep your itinerary at front of mind. That glittery holiday jumpsuit in the back of your closet is perfect for attending a high-class New Year’s Eve soiree, but will realistically eat up valuable luggage space if the only event you have lined up is brunch at Grandma’s. Items that can be reworn and dressed up or down are key.
Keep toiletries travel-sized and tucked away neatly into one compact dopp kit or toiletry bag. Having everything in one spot will keep you from leaving anything behind, especially if you plan to split your time between different houses or hotels during your travels.
From beating the traffic to finding the best flight deal, holiday travel requires even more forethought than a typical trip. Take the guesswork out of what extras you’ll need to pack by throwing the items below in your suitcase.
Gifts and Gear
If you’re traveling for a holiday get together, you’re likely bringing along (and bringing home) some extra baggage in the form of gifts. Make sure to have enough space in your luggage, and note that gifts passing through the security may be unwrapped by TSA agents during screening, so its best to leave the decorating until you reach your destination.
Staying With Family
For more strategies to survive staying with family over the holidays, see our handy guide.
No matter where you’re traveling, there are a few things that are convenient to have on hand. A laundry bag helps keep your clean and dirty clothes separate in your suitcase, while a laundry kit with travel detergent allows you to wash items in the sink at your hotel or when the family washing machine is occupied.
Download Our Holiday Packing List
Download our editable holiday packing list for a stress-free holiday travel season.
All of the products featured in this story were hand-selected by our travel editors. Some of the links featured in this story are affiliate links, and SmarterTravel may collect a commission (at no cost to you) if you shop through them. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
You Might Also Like:• 5 Packing Resolutions to Make This Year
• 22 Amazing Waterproof Shoes
• The 23 Best Christmas Light Displays in the U.S.
• 15 Tiny Travel Products to Help You Stay Healthy on Vacation
• 5 Embarrassing Travel Gadgets That Actually Work
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.