The Secret to Simple Travel Packing

I love to travel.  If I had all the money in the world I would spend my days exploring the beauty around the world.  Now, getting packed for travel as a family of 6 is a whole other story.  How much do you pack?  How do you squish it into an amount you can successfully wheel through the airport and fit into a trunk of the car?  So, today I am sharing my best secrets for simple travel packing so you can get the task of packing taken care of and enjoy your trip!

The Secret to Simple Travel Packing

Don’t Pack Too Soon

In the excitement of the anticipated trip, we want to start packing weeks in advance.  Not only will all that visual clutter drive you bananas after a while, but you might also still be using a lot of what you will need to pack.  You are much more likely to forget something if you pack too soon.

It’s great to think about what things you need to buy ahead and take care of that but I have found the sweet spot is 48 hours before you leave.  It gives you time to do last-minute laundry and time to run and grab anything you need at the store.


Check the Weather 

Another reason I like to wait to pack is that the longer you wait the more accurate the weather forecast will be.  It’s important to pack based on an accurate weather forecast.  


Make a List 

Now that you know the weather, make a list of all the things you need to take on your trip. When we write items down on a list we are far less likely to forget.  As you are packing, make a list of things you need at the store or you need to still add-in so you don’t forget that.  Then, cross things off as you pack!



Think Through Your Vacation Activities

What are you doing on vacation?  Do you need a nice outfit?  Think through what you are doing and make your list accordingly.

Don’t just think of clothing and accessories but items that are specific to where you are going.  If you are going to the beach, make sure to pack a collapsible beach bag, sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat and goggles for the kids. 



Determine How Much You Need to Take

We can tend to overpack but before you start to pack ask yourself if you have access to laundry!  If the answer is yes, you can bring way less.  If I have access to laundry and I am gone for a week, I usually bring 4-5 outfits based on our activities.

If you don’t have access to laundry, bring an outfit for every day and then bring layering pieces, accessories and shoes that coordinate with those outfits.  For example, bring a denim jacket that is a good neutral and pairs with everything and a metallic sandal that can go with anything.  

The more you can mix and match, the less you will have to bring.  Shoes and layering pieces don’t get “dirty” and can be worn multiple times.


Avoid the Urge to Buy All New 

I don’t know about you but my closet and my kid’s closets have never looked so shabby until I get ready to pack for vacation.  Avoid the urge to buy all new clothes.  Save your money and spend it on experiences while on vacation.  It’s ok if you need a new swimsuit or pair of sandals but avoid the urge to buy a new complete wardrobe.  I remind myself I will never see most of those people again so it doesn’t matter!



Use Packing Cubes

Gather all of your clothing on your list and group people’s attire into piles on a bed or table.  Then, grab a packing cube and load each person’s clothes into their own packing cube.  Packing cubes help keep clothes wrinkle-free and reduce the space needed in a suitcase.  when you arrive you can pop each person’s packing cube into their own assigned drawer avoiding a suitcase explosion.

On the way home, just stuff all the dirty clothes in selected packing cubes while keeping clean unused clothes in other packing cubes.  

If you are traveling to different places on different days, you might choose to organize your packing cube by day instead of by a person.  Then, assign a suitcase specific days so you only have to open up the one you need.



Get Travel-Sized Toiletries

Rather than taking full-size bottles of your favorite products either by travel size products by the company or invest in small clear 3.4 oz bottles.  3.4 oz is the amount you are able to carry-on so should you change your mind and want to take something on board, you can easily switch it out.


Buy the Right Bag


Most airline carriers have weight limits.  Sometimes, it’s 50 lbs and sometimes it’s 40 lbs.  Grab a luggage scale here.  When shopping for luggage, remember two keys.  Make sure it is lightweight and not too big.  

Bags that are too large will exceed the weight limit before you fill them.  Airline carriers are hard on luggage so you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a bag.  We get our bags at TJ Maxx. 


Just Remember…

The goal is to bring what you need to enjoy your trip.  This is your trip and your vacation.  What might work for others might not work for you, pack what you want so that you can enjoy your trip or vacation fully.  

Make sure your luggage meets your airline carrier’s weight requirement and can fit into your rental vehicle. What are your best simple packing tips?


You might also like…

15 Carry-on Bag Essentials, read more here.


Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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