Packing for a vacation is both an art and a science. Doing advance research on your destination and accommodations can lighten your load, literally, as you discover it’s not always best to bring all your vacation essentials from home. Just because your Fast Park shuttle driver will gladly heft five oversized suitcases for you without a second thought, do you really want to incur the extra baggage fees or traverse the airport feeling like a pack mule? Here are some practical tips on how to limit unnecessary baggage.

Baby and kid gear

Flying with a baby or small children can be overwhelming. Throw in all the “stuff” they require, and you can understand why parents call it a relocation versus a vacation. With so many rental providers across the country like BabyQuip, borrowing cribs, booster seats, highchairs or even toys to keep your little ones entertained means less stress and fewer baggage fees. Plus, setup and takedown often are included, so your items will be waiting for you the second you arrive. Ask your hotel or vacation rental company for local recommendations at booking.

The items you may want to consider bringing versus renting are a stroller and car seat. Most airlines will check these items at no cost. Bonus Tip: And don’t forget to fill your carry-on with snacks, beloved “woobies,” and favorite little toys and books for airplane entertainment and a consistent bedtime routine while away.

Beach and outdoor gear

Beach vacations are meant to be simple: sun, sand and relaxation. But it takes more than towels and sunscreen to create a memorable experience. Consider renting items like chairs, wagons and umbrellas, or checking with your hotel or vacation rental company as some of these items might be complimentary. You also can request shovels, buckets and other toys so the sand stays on vacation. Pack extra sunscreen in your checked bag to avoid tourist pricing and save your money for souvenirs. Bonus Tip: If arriving on a popular “turnover” day at a hotel or condo, try to spot a facility manager to inquire about items routinely discarded by guests upon checkout. Chairs, rafts and umbrellas routinely are up for grabs!   

If you’re traveling to the mountains or trying a new activity that requires gear you don’t use very often, rental companies like Arrive allow you to choose the dates of your trip and select what you need. Tents, sleeping bags, winter gear, coolers and just about anything required to explore the outdoors will be delivered directly to your destination.

Toiletries and other essentials

Unless you’re particular about the brand, stocking up on toiletries once you arrive at your destination will save luggage space and the headache of going through TSA with liquids if you plan on sticking to a carry-on. It’s also important to note that some rental companies will only provide you with a starter kit that includes one roll of toilet paper and some dish detergent, so a trip to the grocery may already be required. And if you need diapers, formula, drinks, wipes or any other bulky necessities, save the luggage space and order ahead from retailers with free shipping or same-day pickup.

Bonus Tip: Instead of trying to remember everything last vacation essential, focus on the most important things like your wallet, passport and medication and know that you can buy or rent the rest.

Whether you’re taking a trip this summer or enjoying the longer, warmer days at home, check out the fun and giveaways we have planned starting in June. Visit the Fast Park Summer of Fun page.