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Whether you've been planning your upcoming trip for months or you decided to spontaneously head off for a weekend getaway, packing for your trip can be stressful. It's anxiety-provoking trying to remember everything you need to bring or worrying about all the things you might forget.

After all, the last thing you want to do at your destination is spend your first day there tracking down a place to buy toothpaste. But you also don't want to bring everything in your closet and end up dealing with baggage fees.

You need a smart travel checklist -- one that will help you travel light but still have you covered on the essentials. Follow these tips to make packing easier:

1. Create Your Perfect Carry-on

A carry-on is a magical thing. If you're going for a short trip, you could save on baggage fees by packing everything in it. Just make sure to keep all your liquids and toiletries in 100ml or less containers and make sure that they fit in a one litre bag. You can either buy your toiletries in this size or you can buy plastic travel containers to put your favourite products into.

Here's some tips if you want to pack everything in your one free bag. If you skip on bringing a purse, you can bring a larger bag or backpack as a personal item and maximize how much you can bring onto the plane.

Even if you're checking a bag, it's important to pack all your essentials in your carry-on in case the airline loses your checked bag or it's delayed. Think about “What do I need for 24 hours?” Things like medication, glasses, contacts and a set of clothes should be in your bag.

2. Think Multi-Use

When it comes to traveling, you can reduce what you pack if everything you bring has more than one use. Pack outfits with separates that can be mixed and matched so that you can create new looks every day. Choose shoes that are both comfortable for a full day of site seeing or running around the airport and will also look good with a dressier evening look for dinner. You might even want to pack some convertible clothing or follow these tips for mixing and matching outfits.

3. Customize your checklist

Travel checklists are great, but no checklist is universal if you are planning a ski or surf adventure. Get a travel packing checklist that is right for your trip so that you can make sure to bring everything you need and leave the things you don't need at home.

Here are some great tips for packing for a few different kinds of trips. You can also do an online search for the type of trip you're going on or use this travel checklist generator that asks things like how many people are going, where you're staying, the expected weather and planned activities. It will generate a packing checklist that is customized for you and your family.

4. What Not to Pack

Packing for a trip is as much about what you shouldn't bring as it is about what you should. We've all been on trips where we've brought clothing we never wore or books we never read.

So, what shouldn't you bring? Anything bulky that you won't use completely while there, like a full bottle of shampoo. You'll also want to only bring the clothes that you need. You don't need seven swimsuits for a seven-day beach vacation. If you are going on a longer trip – most hotels have laundry services or access to a laundry machine. You can also bring a small bag or container of laundry detergent and wash things in your sink.

Leave heavy guidebooks and all the books you think you'll read but likely won't get to while on your vacation. Instead, load up an e-reader with books or take pictures of the pages of your guidebook that you want to remember. That way that info will be easily accessible on your phone.

You should also leave anything that's expensive at home like electronic equipment you don't absolutely need, expensive jewelry, and anything you can cheaply rent at your destination like a snorkel and fins. You'll worry less about something being stolen while on vacation.

5. Have a Go Pack

Finally, make traveling easier by having a travel 'Go Pack.' This is where you can keep your passport, your travel insurance information, and foreign currencies for your favourite destinations.

Add these to your wallet — but make sure to pare down what's in your wallet first. You don't need to bring all your rewards cards and the gift card to that department store you got for your last birthday, which still has $8.45 on it.

Make sure your banking package is giving you rewards as you travel. The Scotiabank Ultimate Package allows you to do more while on vacation or planning for one. You get unlimited free Global non-Scotiabank ABM withdrawals, so you can take out money from any ABM around the world while on your trip without paying a fee.†

With unlimited debit transactions*, and your choice of SCENE®** or Scotia Rewards® points for travel, you can also earn points on your vacation so you can get to your next vacation sooner – whether you're buying sushi at your favourite spot in Tokyo or a mini Eiffel Tower to remember your trip to Paris.


Packing for travel can be a fun part of your vacation if you relax and trust that you won't forget anything. Stick to our tips and as you place the items you're bringing in your suitcase, think about all the adventures you'll have at your destination!


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† The Ultimate Package account includes non-Scotiabank Interac⁺ ABM cash withdrawals in Canada and cash withdrawals at non-Scotiabank Visa* or PLUS* ABMs within and outside of Canada. Account holders may still be charged a convenience fee by the other bank and ABM operator, not by Scotiabank.

*Additional fees apply for shared ABM services, cross-border debit transactions and other banking services not included in the chequing account package.

**See terms and conditions here

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