Thursday, June 21, 2012

Packing for any kind of trip

This Thursday, I'm going to LA to visit my family and I'm staying until Tuesday. When I get home on Tuesday, I'll have less than a day to get everything ready for girl's camp, which I leave for on Wednesday. To keep myself sane and make this crazy 2 weeks as smooth as possible, I'm working now to get everything organized and in order. 

Here's how you can efficiently pack for any kind of trip, whether it's a long weekend only a couple hours away, or a two-week trip to Europe. 

1. Decide what you'll need based on your itinerary. If you know what kinds of activities you'll be doing, it will be easier to decide what you need - and what you don't need. Write down a list so you don't overpack. 
On Wednesday at girls camp, I know we'll be hiking, so I know I'll need tennis shoes, leggings, a t-shirt and a hat. On Friday in LA, we're going to Six-Flags, so I know I'll want to wear comfortable shoes and clothes that will stay cool. 

Also, don't be afraid to reuse certain things. Jeans, skirts, sweaters, and other clothes can be used more than once. Plan to wear things more than once, and you'll save a lot of suitcase space. 

2. Choose the appropriate luggage. You should pack only what you can carry, and even then, assume that you'll have to do some actual "lugging." For girls camp, I've picked a sturdy backpack and a small duffle to hold all my stuff. For LA, I'm packing for 2 people, so I'm using a carry-on and a large tote, plus my own purse. 

If you're taking a plane, ALWAYS pack in a carry-on. Every passenger is allowed one carry-on piece of luggage, plus a personal item (opt for a large purse or backpack). Most airlines make you pay to check bags, so if you use a carry-on, you'll save at least $50, plus you won't have to wait for your luggage when the plane lands. PS: If all of the carry-on compartments in the plane are full, they'll check your bag for free, since you went with a small piece of luggage. 

4. So you've chosen what you're going to pack and what you're going to put it in. Now you need to fit it all in the bags. Here's the key. Fold. If you plan what you're going to bring, and you fold it, you'll never have to sit on your suitcase to close it.

  • Try rolling your t-shirts to save space. 
  • Use all the compartments available.
  • Put all your toiletries in a common bag or compartment. If anything leaks or opens, keeping them in a sealed, waterproof bag will protect your clothes. 
5. Here's a list of travel tips or items commonly forgotten.

For camping:

  • Hoodie sweatshirt
  • Bugspray and sunscreen
  • Hat or visor
  • Extra socks or underwear
For plane travel:
  • Light scarf that can also be used as a wrap for the plane ride. Sometimes it gets cold.
  • Sandals. My feet swell from plane pressure, so I like to wear open shoes on plane rides.
  • Pair of socks. Like I said, it gets a little cold, so your bare feet may want a little warmth.
  • Magazines, word puzzles, books, candy.
For a weekend getaway or road trip:
  • Scarf is helpful again, for the car ride.
  • Swimsuit. You never know if your hotel will have a pool that you want to take a dip in.
  • Books on tape/disc. 
  • A small pillow to lean on in the car. 
Hope this helps you on all your summer getaways! If I forgot anything, leave it in the comments.


  1. ok, I could have used this post before our canoe trip. I totally forgot bugspray. and we go canoeing every year. geeeez. oh and "reuse certain things" ... love this. I think I wore the same pair of shorts 3 times.

  2. Chris and I backpacked on our last trip ... I wish I would have been paid a little more attention when I was on my way out the door! At tip I would add is to collect ALL your things together the night before and put them in one place - keys, bags, pillows, etc. I left behind my toiletry bag and that was a pain -.-

    1. Also, we took a little .5 oz baggie of tide detergent we got at Target and washed our underwear in the sink. It was a pain, but it only took about an hour and it saved us a lot of space only having to take one week's worth of undies rather than two! Also, ask the concierge if there are laundry facilities in the hotel or nearby (there weren't for us).

    2. Such good ideas! When I went to Brazil, I brought little packs of detergent, too. You can save so much space if you plan to wash items while you're vacationing. Toiletries are the WORST THING to forget. I'd be ok without a razor, but deodorant and facewash are things I'd die without.

  3. It cracked me up when i saw the way you list what you're going to pack. I do the EXACT SAME THING and my husband always laughs at me. My sister thinks I'm insane. I just tell them it's so I don't forget anything, am prepared for everything, and can have a no-stress trip! I'm glad I'm not the only one with that packing philosophy. ;-)

  4. Great tips!! Thanks for sharing and I am a new follower!!
    Hope you have had a great weekend!


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