Friday, June 22, 2012

Top 10 Packing Tips for your Next Trip

Some prefer to stay up packing the night before their vacation. Some start placing clothes in bags weeks before their trip. While others just shove stuff in a bag, hoping that something will match when they arrive at their destination.

Image found here

Packing for any trip, long or short, doesn't have to be stressful. After living out of a suitcase for two years while traveling on a singing team, I find that I no longer worry about what to bring on any excursion, and I wondered if other teammates felt the same way.  I extended the challenge to a few of my fellow singing-teammate-bloggers to see if they would like to compile some packing tips. Read Lydia's vacation packing tips here and Sarah's moving/packing tips here

Maybe someday I'll write a post about how to make the most of the room in your suitcase. There are a few tricks! But in this post, I'll just mention a few basic rules that I tend to follow while packing.  

1. Catch up on laundry before you begin packing. This will cut down on the time it takes to search for your favorite black tank top. (And, clean clothes seem to fold better and smell better)

2. Lay out your outfits and pack in neutrals. When I decide what outfits to bring, I try to think of the pieces that I can mix and match in the most combinations. For example, if I only packed teal and hot pink shorts, I'll be a little more limited than if I brought tan shorts. Solid shirts and shorts seem to work the best for me. And I can always accessorize. I make sure that my bag is packed the day before my departure, and I try to always remember to leave out the outfit I plan to wear during my travels. (And if I am flying, I try to wear my heaviest shoes...just to make sure my bag doesn't weigh too much!)

3.  Know your laundry options. I always pack a laundry bag to hold dirty clothes. If you know that you will have the opportunity to do laundry, you can bring less clothes. (Usually, I make sure I will have enough clean underwear regardless).  The little laundry detergent pods fit nicely in a zip lock bag.  Throw in a dryer sheet or two and you'll be all set. 

4. Flat/neutral shoes pack best and match more. Let's be can take up a lot of room. Although I love shoes, I try to limit myself to 3 or 4 pairs on a trip. And, if something doesn't match what I packed, I guess this gives me an excuse to buy a new pair. 

5. Save your samples for travel. All those little samples of shampoo/conditioner or lotion come in handy when traveling. They pack flatly as well. As soon as these arrive in the mail, I store them in my travel toiletry bag. And, sometimes when I travel, my hair takes on new textures. It's always nice to have a few shampoo options to aid in my styling. 

6. Keep your toiletry bag packed. I have recently started leaving my bag of toiletries packed and ready to go at a moment's notice. 

Purchasing an extra loofah, razor, deodorant, tooth brush and tube of toothpaste has saved me so much time. I have also added Tylenol and Bendryl to my stash. If it's already packed, it's pretty hard to forget an important item. I usually add my jewelry the morning of our departure and then add my toiletries to my luggage. 

7.  Finish your packing as you get ready the morning of your trip. (This is my favorite tip). After I dry my hair, I pack my hairdryer. After I use my straightener, I place it in my bag. The same goes for hairspray and perfume. After using each product, I simply go ahead and pack it. 

Then, when I return, I unpack as I get ready for the day. When I need my hairdryer, I use it and then put it away under the counter. Why handle it twice?

8. Are you stopping for one night along the way? Think ahead! If we are spending the night somewhere for one night before reaching our final destination, I make sure that everything I need for the night is in one bag. I place my pajamas and outfit for the next day on top. This keeps my husband from having to unload the entire car just so that I can find your toothbrush or pajamas. 

9. Don't pack your bag too full. I try to follow this rule for a few reasons. It's easier on my luggage zippers. My clothes will not be folded as nicely on your return trip due to some dirty laundry. And I seem to always purchase something (souvenirs or clothes or some thrift store find) and welcome the extra room at that point. 

10. Separate your items according to how you will use them. For our next trip, we will be at the beach. I used a little tote to just hold our sunscreen. No need in placing this in with all my toiletries, just to separate it again upon our arrival. I can simply grab this little bag and head into the sun. 

In a larger bag, I packed our beach towels, the sunscreen tote, Frisbees and my sun hat, knowing that will be all our supplies for our days at the beach. 

I will also have a bag of food - Jeremiah's favorite cereal, brownie mix, peanut butter, crackers, and other snacks packed separately. 

There's no need to be stressed about packing. There's no need to worry if you'll remember everything. Just find a few packing rules that work for you and follow them every time you get ready for a trip. 

How you make your packing less stressful? 


  1. Love it! Now to just go on vacation...

  2. Good article my friend :) I like to clean my house REALLY good so that when I return I can still relax a little and not have to come home to a giant mess

    1. Thanks! I also like to leave the house clean. A few months ago while we were out of town, a friend unexpectantly needed a place to stay and I was soooo glad we had left the house in a decent state.

  3. You have thirty-one bags! I just got the big one with three little ones bag for each child in one big bag. We are testing it out next week!

    1. Good eye, Tracy! I have them in all shapes and sizes, from coolers to totes. They are all the same color scheme so they mix and match nicely. I love the large tote (pictures with "Cook" on it) for travel. I take it everywhere! You'll love yours too!