A carry-on sized suitcase and backpack with four tarot decks in front of them. The corner of another tarot deck peeks out of a hole in the front pocket of the backpack.

Q&A with Joy: How Many Decks Should I Take On Vacation?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Be Sure to Leave Room in Your Luggage for Tarot Decks!

A carry-on sized suitcase and backpack with four tarot decks in front of them. The corner of another tarot deck peeks out of a hole in the front pocket of the backpack. I choose how many decks I should take on vacation following these guidelines.

“How many decks should I take with me?” A year or two ago, I was reading for a client who was preparing for a retreat that would last several months. At the end of the reading, she asked this question. On the one hand, tarot decks are compact and easily fit into luggage, tote bags, a briefcase, or your purse. On the other hand, they are dense for their small size and too many can weigh you down. I can’t tell you what decks to bring. But if you too are wondering, “How many decks should I take on vacation?” then read on for my rule of thumb.

Question: How Many Decks Should I Take?

“How many decks are you taking to the tarot symposium?” Hal asked this morning.

“Three to five,” I said.

“Three to five?!”

“If I leave the house overnight, I’ll take three to five decks with me,” I reiterated. Not including the one I carry at all times in my purse, but that goes without saying.

He sat down on the couch next to me. “You’re saying that if you leave the house overnight, you’ll take three to five decks with you.” Apparently this was hard to process, but it was first thing in the morning.

“I don’t always use them all,” I offered.

“I’m taking one to the symposium,” he countered. “All I need is my Dodal.” He got up and paced over to where his Dodal was sitting on the table by his chair.

“You’ll want to take your Wickwillow with you.” The deck he created and self published. Currently out of print. I’m trying to convince him to put it back in print. “And probably your new Awakening Aeon Tarot or the Rose Tarot.”

My Answer: Three to Five

Three tarot decks on a polished wooden table top.
Hal’s choices. Wickwillow Tarot by Hal Weeks, Gilded Tarot Royale by Ciro Marchetti, and Jean Dodal Tarot.

He looked down at his Dodal. Hal’s a minimalist. In terms of possessions. Also in terms of illustration. Pip cards are his style. He didn’t say anything.

“I had a client who asked me this question once in a reading. I told her, take the deck you use for clients, the deck you use for yourself, and the deck you are currently studying or trying to learn better.”

“Dodal, Dodal, Dodal.”

I shrugged. “I can take a Wickwillow with me.” It was a tarot symposium after all, and I didn’t mind being weighed down with decks.

“Right, Wickwillow,” he said. Morning. Before coffee. “And in case I need an illustrated deck, I’ll want the Rose or my Gilded Tarot Royale with Cheese.” Hal’s a ham.

“Yeah, you might need an illustrated deck for some of the workshops.” Maybe I was pushing my luck. “I also told that client to take the deck that wants to go along for the ride.”

How To Choose What Decks to Take

A tarot deck peeks out of a hole in the front pocket of a blue backpack. Next to it on the dresser are four other tarot decks in bags. If you're packing for a vacation or tarot conference, here are suggestions for how many tarot decks to bring.
Do you suppose the hole in my backpack is due to being overstuffed with tarot decks? On the dresser are the Legacy of the Divine (handknit teal bag), Liber T: Tarot of the Stars Eternal (in tuck box), The Numinous Tarot (gold bag), and the Rose Tarot (handknit red bag). Peeking out of the hole in the backpack is the Tarot de Marseille by Francois Chosson.

When you’re going to an astrology conference, creative residency, spiritual retreat, tarot symposium, weekend getaway or holiday vacation, remember to pack your tarot decks. I consider these factors when choosing decks to take with me.

  1. The deck you like best for reading for others
  2. Likewise, the one you like best for reading for yourself
  3. The deck you are studying or trying to learn better
  4. Finally, the deck that wants to go along for the ride.

Choosing your tarot decks is the most fun part of packing. What decks are traveling with you?

How Many Decks Do you Take with You?

How many decks do you take with you? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to learn other great tips for choosing how many decks I should take on my journeys!

Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.

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  1. haha, just returned from a trip – yes, I took 4: my ‘regular’ Hanson-Roberts which I use for other people and me; a reiki-themed deck which was relevant for the retreat I was heading to; a yarn/fibre related deck which was relevant to the other retreat; and one of my gay-themed decks that I’m trying to get used to… But of course, I also acquired one, oh wait, two more… and that doesn’t account for books/manuals and journal which need to come along as well… now this was a driving trip, so there was room in the card outbound (less inbound!) … for flying trips, I may omit one or two decks and try to find my reference materials online or digital copies… whee!

    • LOL! Yes, I had to buying a couple of reading cloths/table coverings on my last trip, then indeed came home with many more decks than I left with. So many ways to accessorize! LOL. I’ve been meaning to get that yarn tarot myself. How do you like it?

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