Packing Made Simple

This week, in my Travel Tips Series, I’m talking all about packing for your trip. I used to stress over packing until I started using my packing smarter strategy. Most of these tips are specific to airline travel, but easily adapted for any kind of travel you choose.

Did you miss the first article in the Travel Tips Series about planning your next trip with ease? You can find it over here.

What kind of bag will you use?

First, you need to decide whether you are checking a bag or using only a carry-on. Some people swear by carry-on only travel. If you are one of those, I take my hat off to you! I am rarely able to fit what I need in just a carry-on, so I usually have at least a small checked bag. There are 2 reasons for this. First, I like to be able to travel with some liquids that do not fit in my quart size bag. Second, I don’t want to lug all my things through the airport. If you are going on a shorter trip, or you are less high maintenance, you may be able to do just a carry on and avoid those baggage fees altogether.

Packing Helpers

I use a combination of packing helpers in my luggage to maximize my space and organize all of my things. I love to use packing cubes to contain my clothes into categories. They are awesome when I get to my destination, because I can just flip the top open and place right into a dresser or onto a shelf for easy access. I also love my shirt folder. It allows me to fold my shirts all the same size, as if I was one of the pros at the Gap. Once stacked, the velcro flaps compress the shirts and easily fits in a neat little package. 

Reducing Liquids

When I travel, I am always trying to think of ways to reduce how many liquids I take. Liquids are heavy and their quantities are limited in carry-on bags. For this reason, travel size toiletries are very useful. If your favorite brand doesn’t have a reasonable travel size alternative, you can get a silicone container to hold what you need for the trip. 

Personally, I am an essential oil loving mama and I travel with a diffuser. This means that I take my oils with me. I like to pre mix my blends for the diffuser into just a bottle or two so I am not needing to take it all. I am also a big fan of nasal sniffers when traveling. The best part is that they are not a liquid, so they serve the purpose, without adding to your liquid allowance.

Capsule Wardrobe

When I travel, I like to use a capsule wardrobe of sorts. I have some go-to travel outfits that I love for their comfort, ease of packing and washability. I love to have some mix and match pieces that coordinate together. This way, I don’t have to have 5 separate outfits. I can change out the top and create a new look, or swap the pants for a skirt. You get the idea. As much as I love shoes, I try to coordinate my wardrobe so that I can use the same shoes for most things. Now, you may need a dressy pair of shoes and a casual one, but you don’t want to be packing bulky shoes in your suitcase. You will run out of space and your weight allowance in no time! 

Kids Clothes

One of my favorite ways to pack clothes for my kids came on a trip to Disneyland when they were young. I packed a complete outfit in a gallon size ziplock bag. This meant the shirt, shorts, socks, underwear and accessories all in one bag. For each day of the trip, I would have a bag for each child. This meant that when we were in the hotel, they could just grab one bag and it was a mom approved outfit without any debate needed. I knew that they would be photo ready on any given day. This was a major plus for me! I also packed a bag for each child of “extras.” That included extra socks, underwear and bottoms. I figured if we needed an extra shirt, we surely would be buying one as a souvenir, so that wasn’t something I planned on packing. My kids loved being able to have a choice each day for what they would wear and I loved that I had already pre-approved their outfits. 

Plan for Souvenirs

When traveling, we always end up with souvenirs that we need to pack to take home. As hard as it is, I try to leave room in the suitcase for those items. This may mean that I don’t pack as many t-shirts because I plan to buy one or two on the trip that I can actually wear while on vacation. Another strategy is to pack some consumables that will reserve space for anything you may acquire on the trip. If we are staying in a hotel, I like to pack some snacks that I know my kids love for the trip. We consume these on the trip and then I can use that space for our purchases on the way home. 

Helpful Extras

I always travel with an empty spray bottle. I fill this spray bottle with water. It is great to release wrinkles for my clothes that got creases from the suitcase. I also use it for a quick refresh on a hot day. Wake up with crazy bed hair? A little spritz of water may be just the fix you need. 

I own an inexpensive luggage scale. It is a little handheld device that has a hook for the handle of my suitcase. When I lift my suitcase with the scale, I can get a quick idea of the actual weight of my bag. Now, these scales are not guaranteed as accurate, but they do give you a ballpark idea. Your airline will be the final judge. I know that I would much rather shuffle around my heavy items in the privacy of my own room than at the airline check in counter. If going overweight is unavoidable, I have already prepared myself for that before they tell me that I have to pay extra. 

I hope you found these tips helpful for your next trip. What packing tip would you add to my list?

Continue on to the next post in the travel series here.

Interested in some ideas about those nasal sniffers I was talking about earlier? I have information about that, and much much more, over on my free community page all about moms navigating wellness. Check it out here

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