A weekly column celebrating the neat freak in all of us.
I love traveling. I do! But the packing and thought process put into actually getting to my destination can stress me out! I get hypersensitive about over- packing and always try to create a challenge of packing minimally. I think it’s because one of my brothers scoffed at how heavy my suitcase was once and it did some major mental damage. I almost always end up UNDER packing but at least it means I have room for purchases on my trip (I never forget the essentials, though!).
A few weeks ago, I went with my family on a cruise and took pictures of my packing process so you could see what goes on in my crazy brain!
My goal is always to pack SMART! I have to use my brain even more because I have to pack for a kid now.
A FEW DAYS BEFORE A TRIP, I MAKE LISTS:
-TRACY (that’s me!)
-COOPER (the hardest list!)
-DON’T FORGET (things I would be sad/upset to miss)
-AROUND THE HOUSE (what needs to be done before we leave. Like…cleaning the cat litter, watering plants, etc.)
-ELECTRONICS (cameras, laptop, baby monitor, battery chargers, ipod, etc.)
-CARRY ON BAG (the most important bag of all)
-CASEY (had his own list in his head)
MY STEPS TO PACKING:
-DO LAUNDRY There’s nothing more annoying to me than waiting for clothes to finish drying so I can pack my suitcase. I try my hardest to get laundry done before I start packing to avoid this. Also, it’s important to find all of the clothes you want to pack!
-FOLD LAUNDRY and play around with outfits and come up with a game plan. I lay everything out on my bed for this purpose.
I forgot about shoes! Oh shoes! These are the shoes I ended up packing on my trip.
Take away one pair and you take away a few different outfits. It’s all about finding outfits that work well with shoes. There were two dresses I ditched because it meant I would have to bring two extra pairs of shoes. Instead, I picked dresses that could easily be jazzed up with accessories since they take up little space. Think black jersey knit dresses! They’re like traveling gold. So versatile and pretty much wrinkle free!
I always have high hopes for exercising while on vacation and my sneakers ALWAYS take up a serious amount of space. Maybe I should just resolve that working out & vacations don’t mix for me? I could have brought a cute pair of shoes instead!
ALWAYS bring flip-flops even if the weather is bad. They’re great “slippers” for yucky hotel carpets.
-PUT ITEMS IN A LAUNDRY BASKET
All of the items get put in a laundry basket for safe keeping until I’m ready to load up my suitcase.
This is also a good way to keep my cats from freaking out. The second the suitcase comes out, they get STRESSED OUT and then one of them craps on the floor. Real life!
I should also note that on this trip we decided to use duffel bags because they collapse easily under the bed in our room on the cruise ship.
Because they don’t have tons of pockets, I used little bags to contain items. It’s a great way to keep track of things.
This one contains Cooper’s pull-ups & wipes!
I also have a small bag for: bathing suit stuff, underwear/bras/socks as well as electronics (which travels in my carry on!).
They’re great because you can pull out exactly what you need if you’re at the airport.
NOW WE PACK!
When the bag is close to done, I add a note on top of what needs to be added. There’s always stuff I’m waiting on…
Since we went on a cruise, I have a few tips for you!
My sister-in-law saw on a few cruise review websites that people highly recommended an Over-the- Door Organizer for the teeny bathrooms on the boat. I picked one up at Target for the trip.
Let me tell you, it was a DREAM! There’s limited counter space in the bathroom, so things would have been super cramped if I didn’t attach this to our bathroom door!
We were also told that we could bring a small bag full of booze on the boat. We wanted to save some money and I had a bunch of gin & bourbon at home so I tucked a few of these “RUM SMUGGLERS” in my suitcase in addition to the half case of wine Casey shipped to the hotel we were staying at.
If you have children, you already know how important the snack bag is!
Heck, it’s important for adults too! Our snack bag stays in our carry-on suitcase.
Cooper loves a Wild Berry Kid’s Super Food drink mix so I brought those with. It’s a perfect way to mask the taste of yucky hotel/cruise ship water.
I brought some healthier snacks from home so Cooper had something to eat on the airplane.
Snacks help prevent public lack-of-food-induced-tantrums. TRUST!
I had a really nice passport case but it didn’t fit all of my documents and I became obsessed with using/not using the pockets. At the very last minute, I threw everything in one of my favorite plastic document envelopes so I could easily see where everything was. It was so nice to be able to grab it out of my carry on when needed.
When we flew with Cooper for the first time, we got one of these Go Go Babyz Travel Mate Car Seat attachments.
You can see it in the bag there. It’s basically like a dolly that attaches to your car seat so you can wheel your child around the airport.
It’s a lifesaver! If your child insists on walking, well throw your purse on it and wheel it around!
On our trip we took 3 bags (to be checked) a car seat, my purse & a carry-on bag.
Not too bad for 7 days away, right?
OTHER IMPORTANT TIPS:
-keep an extra fold up bag in your suitcase (comes in handy if you need to carry home a purchase)
-keep a few plastic bags in your luggage for shoes or containing items that may leak
-use the front pocket of your suitcase for dirty clothes
-always keep your phone charger/camera charger in your carry-on!
-give your family/friends your contact information for when you’re gone
-don’t underpay your pet sitter (ha!)
Do you have any packing tips? DO SHARE!