How to Effectively Plan Your Vacation Reading


In less than a week, I’ll be heading on vacation to the East Coast of Canada and I’m so looking forward to this much needed holiday. What I’m not looking forward to is packing… I’m not talking about the clothes – I’m stressed about the book packing! Fellow book lovers know what I’m talking about. Trying to decide if you’ll finally make time to read that book that somehow keeps getting shoved to the bottom of your pile.  Or deciding to squeeze in just one more book that you’re sure you’ll get to while you’re away can cause serious anxiety.

Much of this is solvable if you own an eReader or an iPad. Having the ability to put hundreds of books on a small, transferable device might solve all your problems, but what about that visit to the beach? I don’t know about you, but the thought of getting sand in my $500 iPad doesn’t sound good. What about when you have that moment when you ascend and descend in a plane and they make you turn off all electronics. That in-flight magazine is about as entertaining as watching paint dry. Nope – I’m all about the physical books on vacation.

When it comes to packing physical books, it’s all about strategy. So without further ado, here are a couple of tips and tricks that I’ve come up with to effectively plan your vacation reading:

1. Take into account the duration of your vacation. Are you going away for a weekend? What about a two week holiday? Calculate the time you’ll be away and then be honest with yourself about how much you’re able to read when you have a free/no plans weekend. These estimates are for people that consider themselves “fast readers”,

  • Long weekend: 3-4 books
  • Week vacation (with zero activities planned): 6 books
  • Week vacation (with a set schedule): 4-5 books
  • Two week vacation: 8 books

2. Consider the amount of reading time you’ll have. There are some vacations when you spend an entire week lying by a pool and there are other vacations that are so jam packed with sight seeing that you barely have time to touch a book. This is a key point to think about when you’re planning your vacation reading.

3. Traveling with a bookish pal/partner – share! Cut down on the books you’re bringing by organizing with your book loving travel partner prior to your vacation. Sit down and discuss the books you’ve both been meaning to read and then split the difference. It’ll only require you to carry 3 or 4 books and then you can swap and have a great book discussion after you’ve both finished.

4. Utilize local bookstores and thrift shops. Forget those pesky bag charges and stick to carry on by packing only one book. If you’re in close proximity to a bookstore, not only can you pick up a book there, but you can also make touring the local bookstores a part of your holiday activities. Thrift shops and Goodwill locations are also great locations to pick up books that you can quickly read and then return or leave for another book loving patron.

5. It’s finally time to read all those short story collections you’ve been putting off. Forget those massive books on your TBR piles and stick to the short story collections. Typically, they’re much smaller in size, so they won’t be that difficult to pack and most times they don’t require a lot of commitment, other than dedicating 30-40 pages of time. So pack a few of those collections and enjoy!

However many books you decide to pack, vacations are meant to take some time to yourself; to decompress and to spoil yourself, so pack books that take you on wonderful adventures and relax – you deserve it!


6 thoughts on “How to Effectively Plan Your Vacation Reading

  1. Kaley @ Books Etc says:

    This would have been helpful a few weeks ago when I was trying to pack for Australia! I think I packed 8 physical books and there was only one I didn’t touch at all. I had my kobo too since there were ebooks I had to get read. For having a bunch of really full days, this was pretty good! Especially since I apparently can’t read on a plane anymore..and let me tell you, when you’re in the air for 20 hours total, not being able to use that time to read SUCKS! But I TOTALLY get what you mean about anxiety over packing reading material. That was my main concern! 🙂 Have an awesome trip!

  2. Naomi says:

    I always feel like I have to bring extra books to fit all my possible moods. Luckily I am not usually going on an airplane. Have a fun trip!

  3. The Paperback Princess says:

    I love this! Although, I have to say, book packing for a trip is my favourite thing. You definitely need to be honest with yourself about your book time though. I’m sure an e-reader is super helpful in these scenarios, but being the Luddite that I am, I don’t own one. An extra book bag it will be. Hope you have a great time while you’re away!

  4. tanya (52 books or bust) says:

    When my mom and I travel together we spend weeks planning out our reading and who will bring what books. I think that may actually be as much fun as the travelling! And if you’re like me you always buy more books along the way.

  5. Chelsey says:

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time! I’m leaving for vacation in 3 weeks and am seriously stressing over what to bring. I started with a pile of about 5 books, then it grew to 10 .. and there is no way I am passing through book travel security (Jay) with more than 5.
    BUT you didn’t answer the best part! Which books did you choose?!

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