Today, I wanted to discuss traveling and packing–something most of us hate. Most of us will do it and probably leave it to the last minute. With spring break and the start of summer right around the corner, it is likely that you may be taking a trip soon. Here are some of my tips and tricks to avoid one less stressful thing when on the go.
I’m an organizer. I make a list for every trip I go on. I used to handwrite every list and became flustered because I would inevitably forget something. Finally, I started a spreadsheet! There’s a running list of everything I always need to pack, such as contact solution, a phone charger, my toiletries, etc. These items permanently remain on my list and I leave spaces for the things that change like clothes, shoes, and makeup. This has become a life savor for me. This is where I suggest you start.
This is what my running spreadsheet looks like. Each color is a different section to help myself ensure that I can keep everything organized. I also recommend planning out outfits if you have no idea what to pack. This will help you make sure that you have clothes for every day, and if you know there’s a special occasion–like a wedding or fancy dinner, you can plan for that as well.
If you’re not a list maker, I understand. But there are still a few things I have learned over the years.
Step one: Pick your bags. I use a small carryon-size suitcase for clothes and a small duffle bag for my toiletries and hair stuff when driving. While flying, I make sure that my suitcase and items strictly adhere to to the TSA and airline guidelines. This will help prevent additional fees to confiscated items. Make sure to know the weight and size of your luggage, that your liquid containers comply with limits, and all other airline rules. If you are not a frequent traveler or have not been to an airport in a while, I suggest checking the TSA’s and airline’s website while packing.
Step two: Gather your belongings. Whether neatly or thrown on your bed, you have everything you need to pack in one general area. This will keep you from running around and becoming flustered while packing. This can also help you eliminate items you may not actually use on your trip. Laying everything out will make you assess whether or not you need that item and whether you’ll use or wear it on your trip.
Step three: Pack your bags. Every packed bag is like a game of Tetris. You have to find a way to fit everything into your bag. If you’re anything like me, you will overpack but at least you’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way.
- Pack by outfit. Roll your outfits together. This will make it easier to pull out what you need for each day, but also rolling your clothes together helps to prevent wrinkles and folds.
- Pack smart. Put socks inside shoes. For women, put your socks/underwear inside of your bras to keep their shape.
- Wear your heaviest layers when you leave. Whether you’re flying or driving, I suggest wearing your heaviest layers. For example, if you have a bulky sweater of sweatshirt, travel in it. It’ll keep you warm while on your trip and it keeps the bulk out of your luggage.
- Pack in layers. No matter where you’re going, the weather can be unpredictable. Use layers that are compatible with multiple outfits as well to keep the amount of clothes minimal.
- Always keep your important documents and items on your person. Always make sure to keep your passport, ID, credit cards, cash, phone, and other valuables on you. Do not put them in your checked bags when flying and keep them within easy reach when driving. You do not want to have to dig through your luggage to find these things in a pinch.
- Keep a change of clothes nearby. If you’re flying, put it in your carryon. Everyone’s fear is lost luggage. But sometimes, it happens. You don’t want to be stranded somewhere with only the clothes you’re wearing. Pack a small change of clothes in your carryon in case of lost luggage or spills on your trip.
- Travel kits are your friend. Most stores have some form of travel kit-especially when it comes to toiletries. These items (more than likely) adhere to the liquid travel standards. If you’re not constrained by these, they are still convent to keep everything together and the little pouch they come in helps prevent spills in your luggage.
No matter where you’re going, use common sense while packing. And keep it minimal! You don’t need to overdo it. Try accessorizing to spruce up an outfit.