I hate to pack.
This might sound crazy coming from someone who traveled non-stop for 4 years of her life, but it’s actually my personal nightmare. The thing is, when you’re on tour with a Broadway show, as I was as a company manager, you have two suitcases. In those two suitcases are everything you really need, and “packing” consists of shoving everything that’s not hotel property back into those two suitcases and making sure the zipper closes.
Packing for vacation is a whooooole different story.
Why? Because you’re packing for fun! Not for everyday life. But this means that there are CHOICES. And anyone who knows me, or has ever eaten in a restaurant with me, knows I am not good at making non-life-changing choices. So naturally, turning a room full of choices into a bag of decisions can seem a bit daunting.
But if you share these packing anxieties with me, do not panic! I have some tricks that will make packing easier and keep your suitcase more organized.
#1 – Check the Weather
One of the main reasons I often over pack for vacation is that I don’t take the time to check the weather forecast. These days we can get a pretty accurate weather forecast up to 10 days in advance. If it’s going to be 95 degrees and humid for the whole span of your vacation, don’t pack 5 sweatshirts – just in case!
#2 – Be Honest With Yourself
Another key to not over packing. If you know that every time you go to the beach, you end up living in your bathing suit and the same pair of shorts and t-shirt, don’t pack five fancy dresses and those 5-inch espadrilles you convinced yourself to buy, even though you can’t walk in them. Despite how fabulous you imagine you will look, you know deep down you will shove them back in the suitcase and don the same comfy clothes you wore the night before.
(For the record, I still haven’t perfected this one.)
#3 – Categorize Your Clothing
So you finally made your choices. When you get to your destination, do you plan on unpacking? Or will you just live out of your suitcase, digging furiously to find that favorite blue top you know is in there somewhere?
In either case, it’s easiest to find things when they are organized! Lay everything out on the bed and sort it into piles. All the shirts, all the pants, etc. Then place them into the suitcase.
If you want to be really organized, I suggest investing in a few of my favorite travel accessories. I love the ones from Eagle Creek, which you can find at most Container Stores. (Hooray! An excuse to go to the Container Store!) You can easily place them right into drawers for quick unpacking. I love the folders and cubes:
#4 – DIY Travel Size Toiletries: Buy Them. Use Them. Love Them.
Travel size products seem convenient, but they are actually expensive for what you get and often leak. Worst of all – not every product you use comes in that small size!
By buying small containers that you can fill on your own, you not only get exactly the kind of products you want, you save the environment by washing and re-using these bottles for future trips!
I discovered these last summer and will never go without them again!
#5 – Johnson’s Baby Shampoo
Ignore Tip #4 and buy a travel size bottle of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. Or even better, buy a BIG bottle and fill up one of your fancy new containers!
Johnson’s is a staple for my travel kit. You can pack less, and use it to wash out clothing in your hotel sink. Plus, since it’s safe for babies, it’s safe for most fabrics.
#6 – Ziploc Bags. Embrace Them.
Ziploc bags are lifesavers. Any liquids you are travelling should be safely sealed inside one of these. The pressure changes of an airplane can make the oddest things explode, and no one wants to start or end their relaxing vacation with a suitcase disaster. Just do it.
Stash a few extras in a side pocket too! They are great for bringing back that Caribbean rum or travelling a wet bathing suit after one last dip in the pool.
#7 – Clean Underwear and a Toothbrush Travel Best in Your Carry-On
It may sound silly, but wait until your luggage doesn’t show up at your destination or you get delayed in the airport for 6 hours with nothing but Doritos to eat – you’ll thank me!
Or, investigate single use toothrbushes, my favorites are these.
Post authored by Beth Renoni