’Tis the season for happy travel! If you’re getting ready for that long-awaited, extensively planned vacation, here are some tips for savvy packing….

Avoid losing items: Remember when you left behind your favorite night shirt (or phone charger or false teeth) at that hotel? Don’t let that happen again! Before you begin to pack, write out a packing list. Then, as you pack, check off each item as it goes into the suitcase. Once you’ve finished packing, pack the list in the suitcase so that you can recheck everything when you pack to go home.

Get packing: Travel light! Give lots of thought to what you really need…and what can serve double duty. Once you commit to your wardrobe choices, follow this packing order to keep creases to a minimum: First, lay out jackets…then shirts/blouses and pants/skirts…followed by jeans—all folded in half across the length of the suitcase. Shoes go in the corners, with undergarments and toiletries inside the shoes. Pack each shoe in a plastic bag to keep dirty soles separate from your clothes. Make sure to pack your nightwear and bathing suit on top for late-night arrivals (and early morning swims).

Finish packing at least two days before your trip: We know that’s hard to do if you work full time, right up to the minute you hop on your plane, but if that’s the case, try to do a little packing every evening a week or so before you take off. Best case scenario is having an empty weekend before you leave. It’s good to have one day where your packed bag sits. You can collect your thoughts and then remember, oh yeah, I forgot my anorak, my beach hat, my contact lenses, my hair brush or…wait, why bother with coiffed hair? You’re on vacation!

Don’t get caught without your clothes: If you must check your bags at the airport, and if you’re traveling with your mate, family or friend(s), pack a change of clothes in someone else’s suitcase and pack an outfit of theirs in your suitcase. That way, if one of your suitcases gets lost, you’ll each still have something to wear.