Don’t let packing add stress to preparing for your trip. Use these tips to make packing a breeze!
Toiletry Grab Bag
Toiletries tend to be the very last thing you pack because you need some of the items in the morning. And then you end up hundreds of miles from home without your toothbrush. Make it easy on yourself by having a travel toiletry bag with travel-size bottles of all your necessities. When it’s time to pack, all you have to do is grab it and pack it. And when you get home, you don’t have to unpack in a jetlagged haze to get your toiletries!
Don’t Wait until Night Before
In all the prep of getting your house, office, family, pets, etc. ready for you to leave town, packing tends to be put off until the last minute. That can be all fine and good, until you realize you’re missing something or an essential needs to be washed. Suddenly, its 4 AM and you’re still trying to get all your outfits together (or you end up in your destination missing key items). Pull all your potential clothes, shoes, and accessories at least three days before you travel so you have time to do laundry or shop.
Make a Spreadsheet
I know, I know…planning your packing list on a spreadsheet seems a bit excessive, but once you try it you will be hooked, especially for longer trips. Organize it day-by-day, noting what activity you will be doing each day. You may want to have a spot for day outfit and evening outfit if you are walking around all day and then have a nice dinner. Then fill in with what you will wear. You can easily figure out which items can be worn more than once and avoid over packing. And don’t forget to print a copy to put in your suitcase. Your jetlagged self will thank you!
It seems fun to have a fresh, new outfit for each event, but with a 50-pound weight limit (and space for souvenirs!) it isn’t practical. Pack items that can be worn multiple times, like solid, neutral colors.
Travel Friendly Fabrics
Those silk blouses or breezy linen pants look cute – when they’re not wrinkled as all get out. Opt for fabrics that don’t easily wrinkle, like spandex. You can also get Downy Wrinkle Releaser spray or a portable steamer.
If you simply can’t leave space in your suitcase for purchases or know that your shopaholic tendencies will get the best of you, pack a foldable bag in your suitcase. You can use it as a tote during the trip and pack any overflow items in it for your return. The Longchamp Le Pliage nylon bags are easy to fold, clean, and come in lots of different colors and sizes.
By day three of traveling, your suitcase can resemble a disaster area. Your neatly rolled clothes and carefully tucked shoes are no longer organized but rather are haphazardly strewn about your bag. Good news: it doesn’t have to be this way! Packing cubes keep everything contained, and you can organize your items in them till your hearts content. Whether you want to pack all your shirts, pants, and sweaters into different cubes or prefer to pair outfits together in each cube, you can keep your suitcase manageable.
Be Shoe Smart
While throwing in an extra shirt – “just in case!” – won’t tip the scale, adding extra pairs of shoes adds weight and takes up valuable suitcase real estate. Aim to pack no more than three pairs of shoes, and wear your heaviest pair when you travel. And do yourself a favor and do not bring any brand-new shoes. You need to break them in before you go – a few bad blisters can ruin a trip!
We’ve already established that neutral colors can go a long way when you travel (see #4). But wearing (and re-wearing) solid colors doesn’t mean you have to look like you’re in a uniform – hello, accessories! Bright necklaces, bold earrings, and colorful scarves will transform each outfit into a stylish reflection of your personality. Even better, these smaller items are easy to pack. Just don’t bring anything that you would be heartbroken to lose…costume jewelry is the way to go!
Put One Outfit in Carry-On
Now that you know how to plan, pack, and accessorize, don’t forget to put one complete change of clothes in your carry-on. Flight delays, cancellations, and lost luggage happen, so be prepared. If you’re going to a beach destination, be sure to have a bathing suit in your carry-on too. (See our carry-on checklist here!)