Despite what your packing in (i.e. a suitcase, backpack, duffle bag, etc.), you will most likely pack: clothes and shoes, toiletries, vitamins and other supplements, perhaps food, and “just-in-case extras” (meaning, the things you might wear/need while traveling). And despite what you pack in and what you specifically bring, I can guess by the end of your trip you will have: dirty clothes, less food, empty toiletry bottles and a tired body, mind, husband, wife and/or kids.
I feel you. That’s why being intentional with what you pack + how you pack it can save you a headache and time at the end of your trip, weekend getaway, or vacation.
Here are few things I try to think about + consider before + during packing:
01. If you can, think about your trip as a whole. Whether you are taking a road trip or flying across the country, think about your essentials, what you will need/want on-hand, and anything that would be helpful to make your trip more smooth. Now, I don’t have kiddos yet, but I can imagine thinking ahead about snacks, spills and entertainment would be necessary to plan ahead for! (More on this below!)
02. When packing, decide what you will want on-hand. These things should be easily accessible. For me, I always have a reusable water bottle, reusable coffee mug, my purse + wallet, perhaps a book, snacks, and, when possible, my Zero Waste Kit, which includes reusable napkins, a few mason jars for storage and leftovers, and a set of silverware. Keeping these things accessible is key.
03. While packing your clothes, think about what you will wear. Put your must-have clothes at the top of your suitcase + the clothes that are maybe’s or extras, at the bottom.
04. For the love of shoes. I always try to find suitcases that have a separate compartment for my shoes because they will take up space and perhaps get dirty depending on where I’m going. I also want them to be easy to get to so I don’t have to dig through my entire bag to get them from the bottom. So I will either pack a bag just for my shoes or make sure they are in a place I can get to them easily.
05. By the end of your trip you will probably have dirty clothes. I will bring a reusable or plastic (gasp, I know) bag to separate my dirty clothes from my clean ones. Generally my husband and I will share this bag and we simply pack it in our suitcase at the end of our trip.
06. I have still yet to figure out a perfect solution for empty/barely used toiletries. Any suggestions? Please comment below. But currently, I bring small amounts of everything so I can throw away/recycle what I’ve used and I keep my toiletries very organized in a few small bags. Again, my husband and I share these bags.
Most of what is stated above is when I am on a road trip, but what about flying? When I travel by plane and check a bag, I always carry a bag with my essentials. Generally I will bring a big purse or small backpack that has my makeup and other feminine products, a little bottle of face wash, and if possible, an extra change of clothes in case my checked bag doesn’t arrive. I always have on-hand a reusable water bottle, reusable coffee mug, and some light snacks!
And 1 last tip that relates to traveling by plane, train or automobile: set aside time every evening or morning to adjust, clean, fold or organize your bag. This will truly make your trip go more smoothly + it only takes a few minutes!
So friends, be thoughtful throughout your entire trip, from the time you begin packing to the time you are home and unpacking. I hope this was insightful + helpful! Please comment below with questions + your own insight 🙂