Here’s some great advice from Hipmunk on packing:
1. Make a list. Don’t rely on memory alone in those final crazy hours before a vacation. A list will help you remember everything you need – from the basics like socks and a toothbrush, to those peskier items like your phone charger and a neck pillow for the plane. Even better, save the list so you don’t have to create it from scratch every time.
2. Don’t over pack. It’s tempting to bring half of your closet, so you have plenty of choices. But having fewer options actually makes things easier on your travels: you’ll have less to carry, and it won’t take as long to figure out what to wear every day. Plus, we bet you won’t miss what you didn’t bring (unless it’s a jacket for San Francisco nights).
3. Check the baggage policy. Many airlines charge for checked bags these days, and they charge even more for bags over a certain weight. If you don’t want to find yourself out-of-pocket, check ahead of time on the airline’s website, and weigh your bag at home before you leave.
4. Pack valuables in a carry-on. It’s always a good idea to keep essential items like your house keys in a carry-on, just in case the unthinkable happens and your bag gets lost in transit. Same goes for valuables like your wallet and any expensive jewelry.
5. Wear large items. If you’re bringing a large coat, set of boots, or sun hat, wear them on travel day to save room in your suitcase. You can always take the items off once you get on the plane and stash them in the overhead compartment. Just don’t forget them when you leave!
6. Keep your ID, laptop and liquids handy. Don’t be THAT person at the security checkpoint. Have your ID ready, pack your laptop in an easy-to-grab spot, and make sure your bag of liquids is accessible too, in case the airport requires you to take them out.
7. Bring a collapsible duffel. If you plan on doing a lot of shopping on your trip, pack an extra tightly-folding bag. You’ll be glad for the extra space on the way home to keep your new nick-knacks from getting squished.