It’s summer! School is out for many littles across the country, and for lots of us, that means a summer vacation is on the horizon. Whether you are flying across the country, hitting the beaches, or taking a weekend road-trip, odds are you will be packing a few suitcases this summer. We want to share some of the team’s favorite packing tips to not only help you pack in an organized manner but save time and energy in the process.
If you are looking for a quick and easy vacation packing list full of all the items you might need for your next trip, we’ve got a FREE printable just for you. This 3-page printable will help you no matter what packing method you use. One page has a packing list that does all the “thinking” for you, simply print and check off the items you need as you pack. You won’t forget a thing if you are using this list! Or if you want to fill out your own vacation packing list, specific to your next vacation you can use this cute printable to list all of the items your family needs to pack for vacation. If you want to go a step further and create your own customized packing printable, we’ve got you covered there too. One page of this FREE printable allows you to create specific categories or lists for each person in your family.
Regardless of your packing method, these tips from our team will help make the least enjoyable part of a vacation, a little more enjoyable.
1.) Start your packing list early
It’s never too early to start your packing list. I personally like to start writing my vacation packing list 2-4 weeks ahead of my trip. I print my cute travel printable and leave it sitting out in my bedroom. That way any little thing that pops into my head that I know I’ll need to take on the trip, I can easily write down right away!
2) Have a “pack at the last minute list”
There are always items you really can’t pack until the day you leave, right? The last thing you want to do is try to keep them all in your head, so I always plan for them. I have a section on my packing list just for “last minute items”. These are things like my cell phone charger, my Fitbit, medication, my kid’s stuffed animal that she sleeps with, etc. Writing them down also helps me save room in my suitcase for these items too. (For a special tip on how to organize your last minute items, check out our video on the best way to pack a suitcase!)
3) Save your old packing lists
I keep my old packing lists in my planner so that I have a huge head start when I’m creating a new list. I can even flip through to find one for a similar type of trip. This gives me a head start planning and saves lots of time!
4) Purchase duplicates of toiletries
I don’t know about you, but when I pack for a trip, I find that packing the clothes is the easy part. It’s all the other stuff that takes forever to gather up and pack. So I like to have most of my toiletries packed in advance. They stay in my travel cosmetic bag, so I never have to pack or unpack it. This is a game changer!! So worth it. You just need two of each item (one that stays packed and one to use at home), which isn’t expensive at all. The only thing that I don’t keep packed in there is some of my makeup which could go bad over time.
5) When in doubt, use the bigger bag.
We’ve all been there, shoving those extra items into an already stuffed bag. If this is you, stop, and grab the bigger bag. This will not only give you more room to have an organized bag where you can easily find items, but it will also save you from bringing more small bags. It’s much easier to have one big suitcase than a medium size suitcase and 2-3 small bags. And, you’ll have extra room to bring home any new purchases! So don’t be afraid to go big or stay home!
6) Always pack a carry on bag
Regardless if you are flying, road tripping, or just going somewhere for a long weekend, we always pack a small bag to carry with us. This way you can easily store games or toys for the kids, snacks, hand sanitizer, books or magazines, or all those small items that might make your travel time go by a bit faster. Not only will this save you from digging through your other checked bags or luggage in the trunk, but you’ll also have snacks right at your fingertips, which is a must-have item for any vacation.
**Special tip if you are packing a carry on bag for kids**
Stow away a few toys and books for a month or so leading up to your trip. Then pack these toys in a special backpack or bag for your child to use on the trip. The items will be even more exciting because they haven’t seen them in a while. Often times, familiar items are even more exciting than brand new items.
7) Load up the night before
It always seems like a challenge to leave the house on-time when traveling. Try and pack up as much as possible the night before. Literally, zip up your luggage and put them in the car the night before. Of course, you might have some last minute items that you can’t pack until the day you are leaving, but anything and everything else (suitcase, carry-on bag, purse, etc.) should go in the car the night before. This will save you valuable time in the morning, and ensure you start your vacation on the right foot!
8) Plan all of your outfits
There is never a better time to plan your outfits in advance than packing for a trip. Don’t just throw in a few shorts and a few shirts, take the extra time to select each item of your outfit from head to toe. This will save you tons of space in your luggage. I try to pack clothes that I can easily layer together. For example, I’ll pack a tank top and shorts, but also a t-shirt and zip up that match that same pair of shorts. You can also pack by color palette, so you can easily bring matching accessories without taking up too much room. And, don’t forget to plan an outfit for your travel days. Having an outfit already planned and set out for you to step into on travel day, will help you leave the house in style and on-time!
**Special tip if you are planning outfits for kids**
Pack complete outfits for your kids in ziplock bags. (Ikea bags are great because they’re sturdy and come in such a great variety of sizes!) I pack shirt, pants, dress, socks, bows, etc. all in one bag. Then I let all the air out and stack all the ziplock bags in a suitcase. I leave shoes separate because they’re bulkier AND because as my girls get older, their shoes get stinkier, and I don’t want their clothes to smell like their shoes! LOL! This also makes it really easy for anyone else who might be helping your kids get dressed and ready. They don’t have to worry or think about what top goes with which pants. It’s already decided and “laid out.”
9) Wear it on
If you want to pack a few bigger items for your trip, but don’t have enough room in your suitcase, wear those items on travel days. Whether you’re flying or driving, chances are you might see a swing in temperatures. Travel with a sweatshirt or light-weight coat. You can always tie these items around your waist or use them as a blanket if you get chilly, and most importantly you are saving valuable real estate in your luggage.
**Special tip if you are traveling with kids**
Pick cute but comfy outfits for travel days. Travel days for little ones mean random naps and oftentimes falling asleep in the car before we reach our destination. I want to be able to put them right into bed upon arrival, so I try to pick an outfit that’s as comfy as their PJs, but one that still looks cute.
10) Pack your suitcase like a pro!
Rolling, folding, baggies – there are countless ways to pack a suitcase for your next vacation. Watch our video on youtube with our top tips and tricks for packing an organized suitcase.
Regardless of where you are traveling this summer, we hope this list helps get you there. Now go enjoy that vacation, you deserve it!
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