If you were given an all-expenses paid week long vacation for your family would you accept it? I’m guessing the answer would be a huge YES! Now, what if the theoretical all-expenses paid vacation meant showing up to the airport in 30 minutes with just carry-ons for your entire family, could you do it? Without confidence in your packing and organizational skills I could see this being a logistical nightmare!
As a Professional Organizer and frequent traveler, packing for a trip just might top my list of favorite activities. I get just as much enjoyment out of planning and preparing for a trip as I do from actually traveling! Packing shouldn’t be something to dread. Too often I hear from others who put it off until the last minute. The night before their trip, they stressfully throw everything into giant luggage and yet still seem to forget the essentials. The key to my packing success is to have the proper systems and gear ready for that spur of the moment getaway. Today I’m sharing my travel packing secrets so you too will be able to pack easily and confidently in just a matter of minutes!
Tip #1: Make a packing list
Keep a typed packing list saved to your computer desktop. This will save you from ever forgetting anything you could possibly need while away from home. It also eliminates the stress of wondering what to bring! The internet is full of great packing list examples, but remember to customize your list to your family and needs. One to two weeks prior to your trip, print it out and put it somewhere where you will see it regularly.
Tip #2: Keep a well-stocked toiletry kit ready at all times
A pre-stocked toiletry kit eliminates the need for packing up your bathroom essentials. Now, you can continue to use all your toiletries up until you leave knowing that everything is already packed. Pick universal items that the entire family can share to optimize space. If traveling with carry-on only, decant your toiletries into travel sized bottles and store them in a conveniently placed spot for easy access at airport security.
Tip #3: Keep travel gear stored in one spot
Use your luggage to store all travel related items when not in use. Even if it means owning duplicates, designate certain items for travel and store them together. Keep a travel packing cube stocked with all electronic gear such as chargers, outlet adapters, and headphones.
Tip #4: Create a packing pile
A week or so before you travel create a packing zone in an area that is frequently used. Set out your packing list and luggage as a reminder. As you come across things that you don’t want to forget, toss them in the pile.
Tip #5: Pack Lightly
When considering what to wear, choose coordinating neutrals that can be mixed and match to be used in multiple outfits. Wear your bulkiest items onto the plane to save space in your luggage. Consider items that can pull double duty, i.e. a simple black dress that can dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Always utilize packing cubes and space saving bags to optimize all available space. When using packing cubes, roll clothes tightly as this will maximize storage and keep wrinkles to a minimum! I also recommend leaving extra room in your luggage as you never know what you might end up wanting to bring home.
Tip #6: Ship items to your destination
Between grocery delivery services and Amazon, it’s easy to have items shipped to your destination! Call ahead to make sure your hotel can accept packages on your behalf prior to your arrival. When traveling with kids this is especially handy as you can have diapers, wipes, formula, and even bottled water ready and waiting for you!
Tip #7: Relax! Remember, the goal of travel is to open our eyes to new experiences, escape from routine, and enjoy living in the moment.
If you leave something behind, chances are it can easily be purchased when you arrive. An experience or two of lost luggage has not only taught us the importance of traveling with carry-on only, but that things can be replaced and we truly are capable of living with far less than we think possible.