We are currently on another trip, a family reunion this time, and though I I feel as if we just returned from our last one I knew I needed to share all my personal steps when preparing for a trip.
Here is my quick guide to packing for a trip; I hope you enjoy it!
1 / Gather information on the location
I do this first so I know what type of clothing to bring and what types of activities will be involved. For example, if it is tropical then I imagine lots of swimming so I know to pack swimsuits, sandals, and coverups. If it’s a business trip, then I think meetings and lunches so I pack pencil skirts, button ups, and heels.
2 / Check the weather
This is important because weather can be very unpredictable and directly determines how warm or cool you should pack.
When we went to San Francisco I thought it was going to be warm because it was California. I couldn’t have been more wrong. San Francisco was freezing and the warmest it got was the low 70’s so I was glad I had packed tons of button up’s, scarves, and a jacket.
3 / Take count of how many days you will be there
This is very important when unders are involved; you do not want to get to day 3 and realize you are already out of clean clothes. This also helps me figure out how many outfits I need to plan for.
4 / Make a list (by category) of everything you need to bring
I like to have 8 categories so I know I have everything covered. They are clothing, shoes, accessories, toiletries, makeup, hair supplies, electronics, extras.
5 / Fill in each category with the items necessary for your trip
This is vital for remembering little things like your phone charger and contact lens solution. I like to think through my day beginning in the morning with makeup and toiletries and write down everything I normally use and need every day.
6 / Prepare the extras
These are some of my favorites things and vary depending on how I am traveling. If I am going by plane I always have a couple magazines, a book, and a small blanket in my carry-on. These items are a must! I also like to buy a bottle of water once I get through airport security.
If I am traveling by car I always have a water botle, an extra pillow, and my sunglasses within arms reach. One of my favorite things on a road trip is stopping in a small town for gas and stocking up on candy treats. Often times I won’t pack any food so I have a good excuse to get some along the way.
7 / Gather the bags
When I have my list and know what and how much I am bringing I can get a good idea of the size of bag I am going to need.
If I am traveling my airplane I always prefer a rolling suitcase. A small, rolling suitcase so if I am traveling alone I can handle it without needing to ask for help.
Road trips are a little easier because you don’t need to worry about a weight limit and have the option to pack for things.
8 / Begin packing
Try not to wait until the day you’re leaving to begin packing! I prefer to start my preparations at least a week ahead of time and usually do one part a day. This helps me so I don’t feel too overwhelmed with all the things that need to be done.
With the packing, the biggest tip I have learned is to roll my clothes before packing them. It is amazing how many clothes I can fit in a suitcase when they are rolled versus folded. If I am taking enough clothes that I never re-wear anything (which rarely happens) I will roll everything together by day, ie. unders, shirt, pants, socks, repeat. This makes it especially easy to pull out what I need without having to dig around, unrolling everything in my suitcase.
I also like to put my shoes in grocery sacks so they don’t get the other clothes dirty and it gives me extra bags for the dirty laundry. Accessories, like necklaces, can be slipped inside a sock and then into the shoes so they are better protected.
If there is anything I need to be able to access easily I place it in my purse so it’s at my feet whether I am on a plane, train, or car. This is usually things like my sunglasses, wallet, phone, camera, and ipad.
*Tip: Buy trial size versions of your toiletries if possible to save space in your bag!
9 / Check off your list
As I pack things I like to place a little check mark in the spot next to that item so I know it’s been packed. There have been many times that I am in the middle of packing and realize I had forgotten to add “toothpaste” to the list. I’ll usually jot it down so I know I don’t forget it.
10 / The night before
It seems like no matter where we go we are always leaving in the morning. As a result, I like to lay out the clothes I will be wearing during the travels the night before. This helps me so I am not surprised by a stain or tear and have to frantically find something different to wear.
11 / Pack the morning items
It is so easy to forget to pack the things you use in the morning. I have often times ran back into the house because I suddenly realized I had left my toothbrush on the bathroom counter.
*Tip: Keep the bag these items will be packed in with you. This way as you use them you can pack them right afterwards.
12 / Place your bags by the door
As soon as a bag is packed it helps to place it by the door so you know what is ready to be put in the car. My parents always instructed us to do this growing up because my dad would wake up before everyone else and could start loading up the car or motorhome.
This also helps so a particular bag isn’t forgotten. Once, we got all the way to the ski resort and I realized I’d left my bag at home that held my hat, gloves, scarf, and goggles! I had to ski the whole time without them because we were too far away to drive back. I definitely learned my lesson from that trip!
I hope these tips and tricks were helpful to you. Good luck with your packing!